Bush and Blair: the impact of a special relationship on national interests
The 'special relationship' between Britain and America has underpinned British foreign and Gordon Brown once again reaffirmed the British commitment. The Special Relationship is an unofficial term often used to describe the political, diplomatic, Former U.S. President Barack Obama considered Germany his " closest .. This is the doctrine of interdependence, which must be applied in the world Although British Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated his support for the . In April , Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a major foreign policy The special relationship, if indeed it does exist, is spoken of largely in British accents. .. The Hillary Clinton–Barack Obama presidential primary race .. Blair, T. ( ) 'The doctrine of the international community', in I. Stelzer (ed.).
Comparisons will also be drawn on contemporary issues within the area selected for discussion previously. Has the two man crusade to rid the world of rogue states been successful? Has the use of Preventative and Pre-Emptive military tactics been beneficial to the circumstance or merely hindered any progress in the fight on terror?
Or have they just scratched the surface? Or was it purely a product of September the 11th. Where is the credibility of the two now? Is this the same as the relationship between the two? Is their reputation forever going to be known for the invasion of Iraq with little or no mandate to do so despite everything else they achieved?
This will be discussed in depth in the final chapter. Prior to this meeting however there was much speculation about the extent to which the two would connect and find common ground.
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Other obstacles were there for all to see before the pair had even met. The way in which Bush eventually came to power after a Supreme Court ruling gave Bush little credibility in Britain as many on the ideological left felt because of this he had little legitimacy to be President. Having said this, the Blair camp was careful not to show too much favour to one candidate or the other in the run-up before the election for fear of repeating the follies of the Major government in when they openly backed the campaign of republican George H W Bush.
When the Democrat nomination Bill Clinton won the election it made it more difficult to create a lasting relationship . To say he was inexperienced in global foreign policy was an understatement. It appeared that Bush was after all going to take a more hands on approach in foreign policy than many had expected.
This in part paved the way for a strong relationship with an already active Tony Blair on an international scale. George W Bush was not the first US President to have a very limited experience in foreign policy however. Instead Bush placed great trust and belief in his cabinet.
This was to be one such feature found in both the Blair and Bush doctrines years later, but the exact relevance of this will be covered in the coming chapters as we explore the Blair and Bush doctrines.
Tony Blair similarly had limited experience in foreign affairs when he was elected British Prime Minister. Blair can be said to have little experience in this field but had a determination to find new and practical solutions to old problems. Before Blair even met Bush he was involved in several military interventions, some with US support from then president; Bill Clinton.
Conflicts in places like Sierra Leone and Kosovo gave Blair the opportunity to intervene in these states affairs on humanitarian grounds. This would prove to be the key difference between Bush and Blair, as they both believed in intervention, primarily preventative intervention but the rational for doing so was slightly different.
Using this we can see that Blair was prepared to try new and innovative ways to deal with global problems despite his relative inexperience in the field. This contrasts with Bush however as he initially adopted a more isolationist position and felt it was only acceptable to intervene when the US interests were high.
When both were elected into office, they had similarities in their limited knowledge and experience of foreign affairs so would this mean they would hit it off when they had their first meeting in FebruaryBlair was notably much more experienced by the time the pair met for the first time, however he had been in a similar position to Bush years earlier. Despite this being dubbed as an informal meeting between the two, there were many pressing issues that were said to be on the agenda.
This was to be far more than just an informal meeting for the two to get better acquainted, with such important global issues being discussed at just their first meeting . Ideological labels were not relevant to Blair when it came to forming relationships with other heads of state. Blair himself was very difficult to give an ideological label, as was Bush it turns out when dealing with foreign affairs.
During the two day visit to Camp David, many things were discussed in an informal way, Weapons of Mass Destruction were discussed, the problem of rogue states such as Iraq and North Korea among other pressing issues of international interest. The Bush administration gave off a very clear message to Blair and his cabinet, all but Bush himself and Colin Powell.
This was that they would have no easy ride out of them like the Prime Minister had while Clinton was President in the past.
It seemed that the Bush administration initially took great delight in ignoring the views and ideas of not just Blair who represented one of their closest allies, but others as well .
It appeared that Blair would have a difficult job in continuing the international community building he had been partly responsible for in the years previous. Despite this, Blair thought he would be able to work with Bush in the long term and the informal meeting was dubbed a success as Blair and Bush both got on well. There was much speculation as to how the pair would fare before and after their first meeting in February of But for all the differences between the two camps, the two men in the middle had similarities to draw upon.
We will now compare and contrast the respective doctrines of both Tony Blair and George W Bush and what they represented. Furthermore, we will explore how it set out to deal with the growing problems faced by states like the United Kingdom and United States of America in the modern era.
In April during his now infamous speech to the Chicago council, Tony Blair outlined what was called a doctrine of international community. In which he stated: Blair by his own admission said that many felt this speech was incredibly idealistic maybe even dangerous to be openly supporting military action against states who had not opposed those who were going to be intervening.
Kosovo was the topic of the day, where Muslims were being ethnically cleansed by the Milosevic regime in Serbia.
The myth of the "special relationship"
Tony Blair holds hero-like status in Sierra Leone to this day. This fundamentally differs from the neo-conservative model of which the Bush administration were said to be a part of. Blair plays on the humanitarian issue in this speech as the conflict in Kosovo was going on at the time where Blair had said on several occasions that the international community must be prepared to intervene militarily if the situation escalated to such a point where diplomacy and sanctions failed, which it ultimately did.
Blair had a problem however; The United Nations felt this was a dangerous way to act. They felt that the UN security council should be the body responsible for identifying threats or breaches of peace around the world, and through deliberation amongst the members of the security council — of which the UK and US are a part of, determine what the adequate response was.
If either the UK or US were to take the law into their own hands, an intervention may be seen as unlawful. In the early Bush years legality over intervention was not an issue as they had little intention of following the Blair doctrine and getting involved in matters that did not have ramifications for their national interest.
For almost half a century before George W Bush took office, the United States had operated on a foreign policy of containment and deterrence; this had been true of all presidents from Eisenhower up to and including Bill Clinton. George W also set out to operate this way.
Allowing institutions such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, United Nations and Organisation of American States delegate amongst themselves with US input how to deal with any international situation that might arise . George W Bush openly condemned the theory of containment and deterrence that the US had followed for decades previous in his west point speech on the first of June This was made just months after the pair had invaded Afghanistan, he said: In the world we have entered, the only path to safety is the path of action.
This speech in particular shows a fundamental difference between Blair and Bush however. As explored previously, Blair was in favour of preventative action to change a regime for matters like humanitarian threats to the population like in Kosovo. Bush on the other hand talks as if something must be done before these forces attack America — Pre-emptive action.
The policy of the Bush doctrine was somewhat divided however, as unlike Blair who very much had his own desires and visions for foreign policy by now, Bush was heavily reliant upon his advisors. There were said to be two camps over which direction the Bush doctrine should take and the issue of the Middle East.
The first of these groups was the Neo-conservatives. In particular, states throughout the Middle East. This side is made up of hard line politicians who believe that America should use its power to intimidate rival nations and crush potential threats to American security before they surface .
From this it is clear there was division among the elites in the US but inevitably the nationalists would prevail as they were lead by the people who were in the positions of power. It can also be said that the growing relationship between Tony Blair and George W Bush may have swung it in the interventionist direction. When taking both doctrines into consideration it can be said they have many similarities.
For example they both do set out to deal with problems that will at one stage or another, have to be dealt with in the modern era.
Just how special will the relationship between Barack Obama and Gordon Brown be?
These problems are new and unique and cannot be dealt with by conventional means that have proved ineffective in the past. However by contrast, the Bush doctrine was not produced in the same period or under the same circumstances.
All for the sake of his principles and the relationship he now had with George W Bush. Not just in terms of foreign policy, but how they changed the way in which they conducted themselves domestically as well.
Alastair Campbell, then director of communications to Tony Blair turned the television on and showed the Prime Minister. From that moment on it was almost as if Blair had nailed his colours to the mast: We had to stand together.
We had to understand the scale of the challenge and rise to meet it. It is clear that from this point onwards, Blair would grow closer and closer to the US and Bush as he saw a threat against them as a threat against the whole of the western world. This holds certain similarities to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which states an attack on one of their members is an attack on them all of which the United Kingdom and United States are both a part of.
He had appointed Vice President Cheney as head of a task force to ascertain how likely a terrorist attack on the US was and what their potential response to an attack would be.
This project had not gotten off the ground by the time of the attacks however . The Bush administration however was made up of people like Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz who were vastly experienced hard line politicians. When the Bush administration came to power it was full of experienced individuals who had seen the US recover from things like the Vietnam War, presided over the demise of the Soviet Union and won the Gulf War.
Bush addressed the people of America on the 12th of September to try and reassure them and give assurances that those responsible will be caught and brought to justice. He thanked congress for their support along with world leaders who had contacted him. However there was one quote in particular that we should draw our attention to: As he talked about his friends and allies and moving for peace in the world — Tony Blair fits this description perfectly as he already advocated peace via intervention.
The response that Bush spoke of was to be great, but not just militarily as many had anticipated. Domestically the US changed policy to adequately deal with the modern day terrorist threat.
The Patriot Act, which was passed through congress in Octoberjust a month after the attacks. The act gave the US sweeping new powers on all sorts of issues.
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This act made changes to powers the authorities in the US had. The authorities could for example: It has often been asked since, why the Patriot Act ever came into existence with such wide spread changes to American freedoms.
The answer is fear. Fear of this happening again led the American people to place great trust into George W Bush and his judgment of what the best responses were, in exchange for some of their civil liberties.
While not as controversial or as far reaching as the Patriot Act, some aspects of it were met with fierce opposition in the UK.
Among the most contentious pieces of legislation that appeared in the act was the period of time suspects of international terrorism could be held by the police for. This period was for questioning, no charge had to be brought against a suspect and minimal evidence to detain them in the first place. Previously a non-UK citizen could be held for up to seven days for questioning but the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act doubled that to fourteen. Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown lobbied to try and get this period up to twenty eight days to detain a terror suspect without charge but the fourteen days had became problematic in itself for the British government as it was disputed by the European Convention of Human Rights.
Although both had committed to making the necessary domestic changes to safeguard their states from terrorist activity, it was clearly less problematic for Bush. The reaction that the world expected did come however. The watching world expected a military response against those responsible for September As Bush had promised in his address the day after the attacks, the US along with friends and allies would do all in their power to bring those to justice; those who were determined to be responsible were Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
This group contained vastly experienced individuals who Bush had enormous trust in. Bush by this point had developed his understanding of foreign affairs and had become much more assertive and demanding during discussions with his cabinet.
Blair had also made clear of his intention to support the US through every eventuality. He sent a five page memo to Bush on September 12 outlining that they should demand they give up Bin Laden or suffer the consequences, again outlining how committed Blair was to the US cause and his own doctrine to promote peace across the world through any means necessary .
The 7th of October signaled the official start of the war in Afghanistan, a pre-emptive military engagement to try and stop the terrorist activity that had been based in Afghanistan for years. The terrorist attacks of September 11 changed many things for both the United States and Britain.
By the Afghan war was still rife, and Afghanistan was still a very volatile place for allied forces to be. Loss of life was still an almost regular occurrence.
Blair was said to be sacrificing these interests for the sake of those of the US. It was felt the Bush administration were out of sync with contemporary affairs.
People within the Bush administration felt that the US made a mistake leaving the Gulf before dealing with Hussein the first time. The British public and media did not take kindly to the potential invasion of Iraq. This chapter will include discussions of all of, but not limited to these subjects.
People on the far right like Rumsfeld and Cheney were not big on the nation building exercise that would be needed after the deposing of Hussein. People like Colin Powell however felt that this was needed and the allied forces would have to implement democracy before leaving. This contrasts with the realist argument that democracy cannot be imposed on a state, it must instead happen naturally .
Blair outlines his dedication to the US cause by committing 40, troops to any potential intervention of Iraq that would surface.
The British media and public were not happy about the legitimacy of such an intervention as the main reason for the intervention was to rid Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Blair pushed for UN resolutions to try and bring the International community of which he was so fond together to try and give it legitimacy but the United States were unwilling .
The Bush administration on the other hand showed far less consideration for this side and felt that they needed to strike pre-emptively to defend themselves against the potential threat Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed.
According to the UN, by the number of deaths of children under the age of five was pera figure worse than that of the Congo. For example, Harold Wilson 's government would not commit troops to Vietnamand Wilson and Lyndon Johnson did not get on especially well. Nadirs have included Dwight D. Eisenhower 's opposition to U. In these private communications, the two had been discussing ways in which the United States might support Britain in their war effort.
This was a key reason for Roosevelt's decision to break from tradition and seek a third term. Roosevelt desired to be President when the United States would finally be drawn into entering the conflict. In a December talk, dubbed the Arsenal of Democracy SpeechRoosevelt declared, "This is not a fireside chat on war. It is a talk about national security". He went on to declare the importance of the United States' support of Britain's war effort, framing it as a matter of national security for the U.
As the American public opposed involvement in the conflict, Roosevelt sought to emphasize that it was critical to assist the British in order to prevent the conflict from reaching American shores.
He aimed to paint the British war effort as beneficial to the United States by arguing that they would contain the Nazi threat from spreading across the Atlantic.
We are the Arsenal of Democracy. Our national policy is to keep war away from this country.
Just how special will the relationship between Barack Obama and Gordon Brown be? - Telegraph
Roosevelt, Fireside chat delivered on December 29, Churchill's edited copy of the final draft of the Atlantic Charter To assist the British war effort, Roosevelt enacted the Lend-Lease policy and drafted the Atlantic Charter with Churchill.
They connected on their shared passions for tobacco and liquorsand their mutual interest in history and battleships. Churchill answered his door in a state of nudity, remarking, "You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide from you. Roosevelt died in Aprilshortly into his fourth term in office, and was succeeded by his vice president, Harry Truman. Churchill and Truman likewise developed a strong relationship with one another. While he was saddened by the death of Roosevelt, Churchill was a strong supporter of Truman in his early presidency, calling him, "the type of leader the world needs when it needs him most.
The two of them had come to like one another. During their coinciding tenure as heads of government, they only met on three occasions. The two did not maintain regular correspondence. Their working relationship with each other, nonetheless, remained sturdy. Attlee took Churchill's place at the conference once he was named Prime Minister on July Therefore, Attlee's first sixteen days as Prime Minister were spent handling negotiations at the conference.
He had maintained his relationship with Truman during his six-year stint as Leader of the Opposition. Inon invitation from Truman, Churchill visited the U. The speech, which would be remembered as the "Iron Curtain" speechaffected greater public attention to the schism that had developed between the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allied Powers. During this trip, Churchill lost a significant amount of cash in a poker game with Harry Truman and his advisors.
At the time, Truman's administration was supporting plans for a European Defence Community in hopes that it would allow West Germany to undergo rearmament, consequentially enabling the U. Churchill opposed the EDC, feeling that it could not work. He also asked, unsuccessfully, for the United States to commit its forces to supporting Britain in Egypt and the Middle East.
This had no appeal for Truman. Truman expected the British to assist the Americans in their fight against communist forces in Koreabut felt that supporting the British in the Middle East would be assisting them in their imperialist efforts, which would do nothing to thwart communism.
Eisenhower would be elected president just over a year later. Eisenhower and Churchill were both familiar with one another, as they had both been significant leaders of the Allied effort during World War II.
Before either of them became heads of government, they worked together on the Allied military effort. When Nasser seized the canal in July and closed the Straits of Tiran to all Israeli ships,  Eden made a secret agreement with France and Israel to invade Egypt.
Eisenhower repeatedly warned the United States would not accept military intervention. When the invasion came anyway, the United States denounced it at the United Nations, and used financial power to force the British and French to completely withdraw.
Britain lost its prestige and its powerful role in Mid-Eastern affairs, to be replaced by the Americans. Eden, in poor health, was forced to retire. Once he took office, Macmillan worked to undo the strain that the Special Relationship had incurred in the preceding years.
Skybolt was a nuclear air-to-ground missile that could penetrate Soviet airspace and would extend the life of Britain's deterrent, which consisted only of free-falling hydrogen bombs. London saw cancellation as a reduction in the British nuclear deterrent.
The crisis was resolved during a series of compromises that led to the Royal Navy purchasing the American UGM Polaris missile and construction of the Resolution-class submarines to launch them.
Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role. The attempt to play a separate power role—that is, a role apart from Europe, a role based on a 'Special Relationship' with the United States, a role based on being the head of a ' Commonwealth ' which has no political structure, or unity, or strength and enjoys a fragile and precarious economic relationship—this role is about played out.
In so far as he appeared to denigrate the resolution and will of Britain and the British people, Mr. Acheson has fallen into an error which has been made by quite a lot of people in the course of the last four hundred years, including Philip of SpainLouis XIVNapoleonthe Kaiser and Hitler.