It looks as if Barack Obama made one of his first real mistakes yesterday when he praised the leadership of Tony Blair after a meeting between the two.
Joking aside, I shall resist the temptation to embark upon a lengthy digression listing my grievances regarding Blair’s time as prime minister and the legacy of New Labour which he wrought (for indeed I have many) for it is another issue which has piqued my curiosity here.
That Obama should come out in support of Tony Blair strikes to my mind as slightly incongruous in that not too long ago it was Obama’s predecessor in the White House, George W. Bush, who was playing the role of ‘best friend’ with the former British prime minister. Surely nobody can forget the way in which Blair and Bush worked together to forge their ‘War on Terror’ and continually defended their decisions over the controversial war in Iraq.
Now, if we bear in mind that it was President Obama’s campaign message of change which eventually won him his title, things do not quite add up. If Obama is indeed proposing a radical break from the policies of the previous administration as his campaign rhetoric suggested, and also given that once of his goals is to restore the integrity of the United States upon the international stage, why then is he coming out in open support of someone who not so very long ago was one of the most overt international supporters of the Bush administration?
Similarly, in 2000 when George W. Bush first became president, I remember being equally as baffled by the complete about turn of our own government in welcoming the new president and leding their approval to the new administration, when only a few months before they had been doing exactly the same to the Clinton administration. It seems at times that any time a new leader or political party takes charge in either of the two countries, one will blindly back the other.
Of course, the other possibility is that the whole affair is merely couched in the usual flattery and politeness which gets brandied about amongst leading political figures the world over. Even so, it still does not sit entirely comfortably with me sinces it represents at the very least insincerity; at the worst flagrant lies. I look forward to watching the events of the next UK general election, and observing international reaction should it produce a government with a different party at the reigns.