A Bridge Between
Europe and the United States
Andrew Rawnsley, Associate Editor of the Observer
newspaper says that Tony Blair instinctively expressed
his condolences and solidarity with the United States.
"He also instinctively thought,
my priorities have got to be preventing the United
States from lashing out unilaterally. The only
way to do that is to get shoulder-to-shoulder
with him because if you’re shoulder-to-shoulder
with somebody, you can also get your arm round
them and start guiding them about."
Blair's mission was to guide an angry
U.S. toward the United Nations to seek justice and
security through international law.
The War Drum
But he underestimated the influence of high profile
hawks like Paul Wolfowitz. On January 29, 2002 President
Bush gave the world a warning.
“States like these and their
terrorist allies constitute an axis of evil, arming
to threaten the peace of the world by seeking
weapons of mass destruction. I will not wait on
events as dangers gather. I will not stand by
as peril draws closer and closer. The United States
of America will not permit the world’s most
dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world’s
most destructive weapons ”
The right wing hawks quickly approved
this view. They issued a statement that at last
"the United States has an understanding of
its role in the world."
On April 6th, 2002 Tony Blair visited
President Bush at his ranch in Crawford Texas. He
was still optimistic that he could guide the President
into a constructive working relationship with the
rest of the world. But Bush had already decided to
go to war against Iraq. (read
more about Tony Blair)
five months later a new National Security Strategy
was endorsed by the President. It affirmed the hawks'
view that the best defence was a strong offence
and gave a green light for preemptive strikes against
Read the National
Security Strategy of the United States of America.
The doctrine was hard to accept for Bush's new friends
overseas. Lord Powell, Margaret Thatcher's former
foreign policy advisor, found it provocative.
"There’s nothing new
about preemption, it’s been practiced by
many governments over many centuries, even by
the United States in really quite recent cases.
Was it wise to publish a doctrine of preemption
as a strategic document issued by the President
or the Government of the United States? Personally,
I think it was a mistake."
On September 7th, Blair visited the
President's Maryland retreat, Camp David. He tried
to persuade President Bush to seek approval for
a move against Iraq from the U.N. He promised unwavering
According to Andrew Rawnsley, this is where Tony
Blair made a deal with his American ally.
"A deal was done that George
Bush would stick with the United Nations on the
assurance from Tony Blair that he could deliver
The U.N. Refuses
By February 2003 most members of the U.N. were unconvinced
of the need to go to war to disarm Saddam Hussein.
The Europeans mounted a strong opposition and the
French Foreign Minister warned of incalculable consequences
of an unjustified war. Lord Powell says that the
Europeans abandoned Tony Blair.
"Tony Blair’s policy
since he became Prime Minister has been to act
as a bridge between Europe and the United States.
That’s quite a rash objective to set because
it does mean you risk falling in the middle, or
having to choose between one side or the other.
And the result is that Tony Blair has been, if
you like, stranded on the American shore of the
Andrew Rawnsley beleives that Tony
Blair may have been used by the Americans.
"Now the question Tony Blair
will have to ask himself is whether in the end
he was always played for a sucker, that the United
States were quite happy to go along the United
Nations route because they quite weren’t
ready to launch military action against Saddam
Hussein. They would give him the months but they
were months they needed anyway to build up their
forces in the Gulf."
Richard Perle says that the Americans
felt that they had nothing to lose by going to the
"I think there were overwhelming
practical considerations. One is we weren’t
ready so the argument is that you’ve got
nothing to lose by going to the UN. Second, there’s
a high probability that you will get the approval
of the United Nations and in that case you’ll
be in a much stronger situation politically. So
why not go to the UN?"
Members of the Labour Party, including
Graham Allan mounted a protest. But it came to late.
When the war finally started the majority of Britons
rallied around their flag, their soldiers and their
A New (American Style) World
Richard Perle believes that the
war with Iraq marked the beginning of a very different
think there are two possibilities here. One is
the re-engineering of the United Nations, a relaunching
in product terms but with a different charter."
WOULD THE REAL FOUNDATION OF THE NEW WORLD ORDER
BE THE STRENGTH AND THE VALUES OF THE UNITED STATES
"The answer is
yes if you include other countries that share
those values and who will add their strength to
OF THE WORLD AT LEAST DON’T REFLECT THE
VALUES OF THE CULTURE THAT WE SEE AROUND US HERE
IN THE WEST AND AREN’T PARTICULARLY INTERESTED
IN EMBRACING IT. WHAT ABOUT THEM?"
them at a maximum distance while trying to bring
them around to our set of values."
the entire interview with Richard Perle
According to James Woolsey, the war
to liberate Iraq also sent a loud message to others
in the region.
"That’s part of the
reason to do it. It is to communicate to the Mullahs
who run Iran, Kim Jong of North Korea, Bashir
in Syria, Khadafi, the Sudanese government…that
the work they are doing, all of them, on weapons
of mass destruction, given the character and nature
of their governments, puts them very heavily at
more excerpts from an interview with James Woolsey
and read his bio.
Post War Iraq
At a Belfast meeting in early April, Tony Blair
and George Bush agreed that the United Nations would
play a "vital" role in the building of
Iraq. But when asked to define ''vital" Bush
was anything but clear.
James Woolsey forsees that the U.N. will not have
a large role if America needs to respond to a preceived
threat in the future.
it will be coalitions pulled together on an ad
hoc basis, sometimes maybe based on regional alignments,
NATO or some other, sometimes based on other criteria
that will deal with these rogue states and terrorist
groups, probably not the Security Council. I think
it has made itself right at the edge of being
James Woolsey's perspective in Iraq
isn't just academic. The Pentagon wants him to play
a vital role in running post war Iraq.
Tony Blair, The Survivor
Tony Blair has convinced Britons that he was right
and they were wrong about the war. But journalist
Andrew Rawnsley says that convincing that Americans
that their unilateral doctrine for solving global
problems is wrong, may be a much more difficult
seen as a result of this war that NATO is weakened,
the UN very badly weakened and the European Union
completely ruptured. And the real difference between
George Bush and Tony Blair is that George Bush
doesn’t really care, and most people in
the American administration don’t care about
that. Tony Blair cares about it deeply and one
of Tony Blair’s tasks is to convince George
Bush that international institutions do matter,
that a world without rules will be a very dangerous
world even for the hyper power."
In the aftermath of the war with
Iraq, both the Americans and Britons will calculate
the costs. One may be that this war validated a
doctrine that could lead to many new wars on the
path to a new world order - that most of the world