Washington Post Hits Blair Over Iran Split
(guest post by Taylor Marsh)
Huffington Post has a very interesting entry up this morning.
Tony Blair has canceled an upcoming trip to America to avoid being photographed with Bush. The prime minister was scheduled to visit the US this spring for meetings with the president, but the trip was called off after Blair decided that being photographed with Bush would be too toxic for his image. Huffington Post
Bush too toxic for Blair? Uh-oh, must be trouble brewing across the pond.
But it doesn’t seem shocking, considering Iraq isn’t going all that well these days.
Via Jerome a Paris, however, comes an interesting piece in The Scotsman that I’d heard about in the news, but which hadn’t been talked about much yet. Jerome makes an interesting point this morning, which screams from the title: "Paranoia: hit piece on Blair in WaPo as he refuses war in Iran." I couldn’t agree with him more.
Here’s how it all fits together.
TONY Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday.
Amid increasing tension over Tehran’s attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran, Foreign Office sources revealed.
The plot thickens.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pushing the U.N. Security Council for sanctions against Iran. Blair will back serious muscular diplomacy, including pressure and carrot and stick measures, to get the job done. But he’s not going to back military actions this time around, it looks like. The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), Blair’s "favourite think tank," according to The Scotsman, believes that Iran should be treated like Libya, instead of the way Bush and Blair reacted over Iraq.
This is where a little contradiction comes in. The Scotsman reports that Blair is willing to support a "Chapter 7" resolution to compel Iran to comply. This means that if Iran decides to take the road of non compliance on any sanctions that might be applied, military force can be exerted to compel Iran to comply.
"We will support the diplomatic moves, at best," a Foreign Office source told Scotland on Sunday. "But we cannot commit our own resources to a military strike." (The Scotsman)
The confusion is obviously a walk softly and carry a big fat stick approach, which does tip Blair’s hand that even if a "Chapter 7" resolution is voted upon, Blair won’t kick in on any military strike.
It is in this context that we now move over to the Washington Post’s hit piece on Tony Blair this morning.
His cozy relationship with Bush, who is extremely unpopular here, is seen by many as detrimental to British interests. Perhaps as a nod to that, Blair recently said: "I do not always agree with the U.S. Sometimes they can be difficult friends to have."
In Islington, some people accuse Blair of abandoning his working class base, saying he did not fix up public schools as promised. They say he and his wife, Cherie, a lawyer, have become too interested in creating a wealthy lifestyle for themselves once Blair leaves office.
The Blairs’ purchase in 2004 of a $6 million home in Connaught Square, using a huge mortgage, raised many eyebrows among working-class Britons. Cherie Blair’s frequent speaking engagements around the world, which often fetch thousands or tens of thousands of dollars, have also drawn sharp criticism.
"People don’t like politicians who come out of politics millionaires," Hulbert said.
The piece goes on and on. Just when Blair decides to distance himself from Bush, in come the writers and reporters of the "Washington Post Foreign Service" division to help out their boy. So much is riding on the Post’s pro war stance that they even feel compelled to come to President Bush’s aid when he’s being dissed by his buddy over the pond. In for a penny…
It’s so nice for the president to have friends in high places. Especially when those friends are willing to do a hit piece on your former pal because he not only won’t play war games anymore, but won’t even stand next to you for a photo op.