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Blair and Bush - The End of An Era

In its cover story "Axis of the Feeble", Britain's Economist analyzes the hard times that have befallen both George W. Bush and Tony Blair, who "have been improbable soul-mates, the silver-tongued British barrister and the drawling Republican from Texas." Indeed,
this prime minister is as close as any British Labour leader can come to being an American neo-conservative. […] Over the past year, however, the debacle in Iraq and problems at home have turned both leaders from soaring hawks into the lamest of ducks. […] Neither man is going right away. Mr Blair may hang on for another year […] Mr Bush will stay in office until January 2009. […] But an era is plainly drawing to an end. […] The self-confident and often self-righteous political partnership that shaped the West's military response to al-Qaeda and led the march into Afghanistan and Iraq is now faltering. What does this mean for the wider world?
Nothing much, seems the author to suggest. On the one hand, "the president has found a new European friend in Angela Merkel", on the other hand, "many of Mr Bush's other foreign allies, such as Spain's José María Aznar and Italy's Silvio Berlusconi, have lost their jobs." What's most important, though, according to The Economist, Mr. Bush
must ensure that America is not bundled out of Iraq before its elected government has a chance to stand on its own feet. He must hold the line against a nuclear Iran. He needs to push harder for an independent Palestine, continue the fight against al-Qaeda, resist Russia's bullying of its neighbours and help America come to terms with a rising China. If he is wise, he will work harder than before to enlist allies for these aims, even if America must sometimes still act alone. But it will be harder and lonelier without a confident Tony Blair at his side.

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GM Roper on :

Jorg, good report, I had missed this in the Economist. It does however, predicate on the removal of Blair from the Prime Ministers job. Not a bet that I'd be willing to take right now, despite his faltering numbers. Blair is first and foremost a survivor. He may just beat the odds. Again, a good report. But, that is typical of you. :-)

Joerg on :

My fellow blogger Sonja posted this, but thanks anyway.

David on :

"(Mr. Bush} must ensure that America is not bundled out of Iraq before its elected government has a chance to stand on its own feet." What is The Economist smoking? Iraq is lost. The American people know this; the British people know this. Most importantly, the Iraqis know this: The NY Times reported yesterday that what little remains of the middle class in Iraq is leaving in droves. "In the last 10 months, the state has issued new passports to 1.85 million Iraqis, 7 percent of the population and a quarter of the country's estimated middle class." In pursuing a reckless war of pre-emption, Bush and Blair have only themselves to blame for their political enfeeblement.

Joerg on :

Are you saying Iraq is so lost that things can't get any worse, if the US pulls out prematurely?

David on :

What is gained by staying other than the deaths of many more Americans and Iraqis? (Have you been following the investigations into the killings of civilians - mostly women and children -by US marines at Haditha?)

Joerg on :

David, if I understand your reply correctly, you think that Iraq can't get any worse, but potentially better if the US leaves now. I think it can get much worse. I have not followed that investigation, but I believe, pulling out now would be a bigger mistake, leading to even more deaths. The US would be made responsible for these deaths as well. It's the China shop rule.

GM Roper on :

We need to get a couple of things streight. First of all, the "investigation" has not been made public, it has only been reported by a media with an investment in making anti-war reporting sound as though it is fact (how about the 110 "Worst death toll since the invasion" in Afghanistan when it was less then a dozen allies and the rest were taliban) Three commanders have been relieved and re-assigned, not cashiered. Murtha, is a highly partisan political hack (if I were a lefty, I'd call him a hero as they do)who trades bs for the limelight, and the hard left eats it up. For Political Critic, I doubt that a) the dems will win a majority of BOTH houses and Pelosi has already said that the Dems are not interested in impeachment... maybe she is a liar? Oh, wait, of course she is.

David on :

This is from the Washington Post (go ahead and accuse them of reporting lies). "Forthcoming military investigations into alleged war crimes in Iraq will show that a squad of U.S. Marines killed about 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, while on a patrol in Haditha in November -- a higher number than first believed -- and then gave inaccurate reports on the incident to their commanders, a congressional Republican said yesterday. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said his panel will hold oversight hearings on the two investigations -- a probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service to be complete in June, and a second report by a two-star Army general expected next week -- to ensure they are "undertaken by the military with integrity." Link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/05/19/AR2006051901732.html

Zyme on :

I dont agree David. Sure there are many horrible developments since the beginning of the war. But no country is a lost case, once measurements are taken according to its "sickness". This includes a tough proceeding like the enaction of a general curfew at night in all towns and the installation of a secret police recruiting native iraqis to infiltrate all terrorist fractions. Much could be gained this way, since public order and good information are the first steps to calm down an occupied country. And if all else fails, you could also start moving the population in conflict areas and spread them among the other regions. I know this sounds harsh, but its certainly better than accepting the lost case scenario. The whole war was dilettantish, but rather than watch everything fall to pieces, the americans should finally do something about it!

PoliticalCritic on :

I'm hoping The Economist is wrong in saying that Bush will be President until January 2009. If the Democrats take control of the House and Senate, Bush will be impeached within a year's time.

Thomas on :

Soon Bush will withdraw from Iraq. I wonder how he is going to sell it as a victory. And I wonder how the conservative bloggers will defend his decision, when the civil war in Iraq gets even more deadly. Got some excuses and talking points already?

Pat Patterson on :

If I was a Sunni member of the middle or professional classs I too would probably bug out of Iraq. After every war one group, ie. South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda, et al., will generally lose its status and security and be forced to flee. I find the NYT article merely stating the obvious in that those who benefitted by Saddam's largess now must flee those that the largess was taken from.

Chris on :

Well, I hope Bush is up to the remaining challenges, but I wouldn't bet on it.

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