Abstract

Since the end of the Cold War, a central question — arguably the central question — for any state’s foreign policy is how it should relate to the world’s only remaining superpower. For the incoming Labour government the answer was consistently clear. As Blair put it in January 2003, the first principle of UK foreign policy was to ‘remain the closest ally of the US, and as allies influence them to continue broadening their agenda’. The UK was ‘an ally of the US’, Blair continued, ‘not because they are powerful, but because we share their values’.1 Indeed, Blair seemed to share the values of both the Clinton and Bush administrations, forging Labour in the same mould as Clinton’s new Democrats, and sharing enough of the Bush administration’s crusading values to be described as a ‘neo-conservative’.2 For the government’s critics, Labour was simply following in the footsteps of successive post-war UK governments that had been little more than lap dogs to American power.3 For the government’s supporters, its approach was simply the most prudent way to try and influence the White House in an era of unprecedented US strength.4

Keywords

Europe Turkey Expense Straw Hunt 

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Tony Blair, ‘Britain in the world’ speech to the FCO conference, London, 7 Jan. 2003.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    William Shawcross, Allies (New York: Public Affairs, 2003), p. 51 and John Gray, ‘Blair’s project in retrospect’, International Affairs, 80: 1 (2004), p. 47.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    For example, Mark Curtis, The Web of Deceit (London: Vintage, 2003) and The Great Deception: Anglo-American Power and World Order (London: Pluto Press, 1998).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    For example, Peter Unwin, Hearts, Minds and Interests: Britains Place in the world (London: Prof Ile Books, 1998), p. 203. For a defence of this position in relation to the war in Iraq see Shawcross, Allies. Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Michael Cox, US Foreign Policy after the Cold War (London: Pinter/RIIA, 1995), p. 5.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ivo Daalder and James Lindsay, America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 2003).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    As Blair suggested in an interview with the Financial Times on 28 April 2003: Some [for instance, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin] want a so-called multi-polar world where you have different centres of power … others believe, and this is my notion, that we need one polar power which encompasses a strategic partnership between Europe and America.’Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Richard Hodder-Williams, ‘Reforging the “special relationship”, in Richard Little and Mark Wickham-Jones (eds), New Labours Foreign Policy (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000), p. 249.Google Scholar
  9. 11.
    Rodric Braithwaite, ‘End of the affair’, Prospect (May 2003): www.prospectmagazine.co.ukGoogle Scholar
  10. 12.
    Hodder-Williams, Reforging the “special relationship”, pp. 235, 238, 240.Google Scholar
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    Anthony Seldon, Blair (London: Free Press, 2004), p. 369.Google Scholar
  13. 16.
    Triangulation was a tactic developed in the mid-1990s by Clinton’s adviser Dick Morris. It involved branding Clinton as superior to both parties in Congress. Gray, ‘Blair’s project’, pp. 42–3.Google Scholar
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    Tony Blair, The Third Way: New Politics for a New Century (London: Fabian Society Pamphlet 588, 1998). Hodder-Williams, ‘Reforging the “special relationship” ’, pp. 248–9.Google Scholar
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  16. 21.
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    Lawrence Freedman, ‘The coming war on terrorism’, Political Quarterly, 73: S1 (2002), p. 44.Google Scholar
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    William Maley, The Afghanistan Wars (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002), p. 262.Google Scholar
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    See Cohn McInnes, ‘A different kind of war? September 11 and the United States’ Afghan War’, Review of Lnternational Studies, 29: 2 (2003), pp. 165–84. By the end of October, a majority of public opinion in the UK supported a pause in the bombings. See John Kampfner, Blairs Wars (London: Simon & Schuster, 2003), pp. 133–4.Google Scholar
  30. 63.
    Estimates for the number of civilians killed directly by the bombing vary considerably. Carl Conetta estimated the bombing killed between 1000 and 3000 civilians in Operation Enduring Freedom: Why a Higher Rate of Civilian Bombing Casualties (Project on Defense Alternatives, Briefing Report 11, 24 Jan. 2002) at www.comw.org. Dr Mark Herold initially estimated some 3767 had been killed between October and mid-December but subsequently revised his figure down to between 2650 and 2970. The New York Times published a figure of ‘as many as 400 civilians’ at eleven sites, whereas the US-based NGO Global Exchange suggested ‘at least 824 Afghan civilians were killed between October 7 and January 2002’. Cited in Adam Roberts, ‘The laws of war’ in Audrey Cronin and James Ludes (eds), Attacking Terrorism (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press, 2004), pp. 198, 216 note 33. The largest single incident involved the reported deaths of over 100 people after a wedding party was bombed in the village of Qalaye Niazi on 29 December. See Kampfner, Blairs Wars, pp. 147–9. For a relevant discussion see Nichoias J. Wheeler, ‘Dying for enduring freedom’, International Relations, 16: 2 (2002), pp. 205–25.Google Scholar
  31. 73.
    In an interview in the Daily Telegraph on 24 Oct. 2001, Blair suggested, ‘We are entitled to take action against him [bin Laden]. A UN Security Council resolution authorised that.’ Cited in Byers, ‘Terrorism’, 402 note 8. For views, which I find persuasive, that Resolution 1373 did not explicitly authorise the use of force see Byers, ‘Terrorism’, pp. 401–3; Christopher Greenwood, ‘International law and the “war against terrorism” ’, International Affairs, 78: 2 (2002), p. 309.Google Scholar
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    US General Tommy Franks, for instance, suggested that ISAF would merely ‘confuse the battlefield’. Cited in Kampfner, Blairs Wars, p. 146. There were also disagreements over the potential size of Afghanistan’s army. While the Afghan Defence Minister wanted an army of 250,000 troops US and UK of Ficials suggested a force of 50–60 thousand would be more appropriate. International Crisis Group (ICG), Securing Afghanistan (Brussels: Afghanistan Briefing, 2002), p. 7.Google Scholar
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    See Michael Smith and Andy McSmith, ‘Blair’s Afghan peace-keeping plan falling apart’, Telegraph, 18 Dec. 2001; Peter Foster and Michael Smith, ‘Britain’s troops to be left with only token role’, Telegraph, 20 Dec. 2001.Google Scholar
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    Geof F Hoon, Hansard (Commons), 20 June 2002, col. 408. By 15 June 2004, UK, US and French forces had trained about 10,000 members of the Afghan National Army. FAC, Foreign Policy Aspects, p. 72.Google Scholar
  36. 92.
    Brian Groom, ‘MPs hold emergency debate on deployment’, Financial Times, 20 March 2002.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul D. Williams 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul D. Williams
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamUK

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