While many in the UK have been quick to criticize outgoing PM Tony Blair for taking the country into the Iraq war, many people outside the UK have held him in high esteem as one of the few truly great world leaders.
Eloquent and lucid, Blair rarely left questioners with any doubts about his views or his motives. He has a quality few politicians seem to possess – an ability to tackle the most awkward of questions posed by those out to trip him with consummate ease and confidence. Despite their close working relationship, this does not seem to have rubbed off on President Bush.
There are a large number of people, seemingly influenced by the mainstream media and the anti-war mob, who appear to believe that Blair’s legacy will be one of failure in Iraq and of being America’s little lapdog. How shortsighted these people are!
Blair has had a very clear, independent line of thought with regard to foreign policy for many years and certainly one which predates his relationship with President Bush. He has been motivated to bring about change in the world particularly where oppression is rife through direct intervention. He has had the courage to use military intervention where necessary with some success.
Tony Blair has had the foresight to realize that there is a threat to the free world from extremist Muslims and has not been afraid to act upon this threat. 9/11 was an obvious example of the danger facing the democratic countries and it was not hard for Blair to suport the US in this time of crisis. Blair, however, saw (and still sees) the bigger picture; thus, he remained loyal to the US in its ongoing war on terror unlike many other countries (eg Spain, which caved in to the Al Qaeda threats).
“Britain should stand shoulder to shoulder with America after September the 11th. I have never deviated from that view, I do not regret that view,” said Blair at this week’s sunnit with President Bush. Blair’s loyalty is inspiring and sends a shiver down one’s spine at a time when many of the candidates in the race to be the next President are running for the hills and ready to wave the white flag of surrender to the terrorists – John McCain being the main exception to this in that he is committed to continuing the fight against extremists in Iraq and beyond.
Blair has no regrets when he considers the reasons for remaining America’s most loyal and trusted ally. He has acted in the interests of his country and the rest of the world and so cannot logically cannot have regrets. His statement that he would do the same again must really grate with the anti-war/anti-UK/anti-America rabble, while at the same time continue to offer hope to those of us who believe that the world must continue to stand up in the face of terror and defend its freedom against those who wish to dominate through oppression and devastation.
Let us hope Gordon Brown is big enough to fill Blair’s shoes and to value the future of the West above his own career. Blair and Bush have been examples of politicians not afraid to go against public opinion for the greater good. The world needs more leaders like them. This is contrary to what the mainstream media and many would have you believe, but, then again, these naysayers are the type of people who would have surrendered to Hitler following the debacle at Dunkirk, or countless other ‘negative’ moments during WWII.
Great leaders are not necessarily the most popular leaders during their time at the top. They often become popular as the historians and the population, in general, judge them in hindsight. Blair will be seen as one of the truly great Prime Ministers of the UK and leaders of the world. Who knows, he may even continue to wield great influence in his efforts as an ex-PM around the globe.
The world should be thankful that he enabled the US to take on the threat of the Islamic extremists with its historic ally standing firm alongside, while most of the rest of the major democratic countries stood back and shirked their responsibility.