The Chatham House verdict

From the summary of the Chatham House report on Blair’s premiership:

As Tony Blair approaches the tenth anniversary of his election victory, and his final year in power, this paper assesses the impact of these, and other, events and concludes that a more nuanced relationship with the United States will be a requirement for Blair’s successor.

  • Although Tony Blair did not express much interest in foreign policy before becoming prime minister, in Labour’s first term it must be judged a qualified success. A key feature was Blair’s ability to demonstrate Britain’s European credentials while forging a close working relationship with President Clinton.
  • The post-9/11 decision to invade Iraq was a terrible mistake and the current débâcle will have policy repercussions for many years to come.
  • The root failure of Tony Blair’s foreign policy has been its inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice – military, political and financial – that the United Kingdom has made.
  • Tony Blair’s successor(s) will not be able to offer unconditional support for US initiatives in foreign policy and a rebalancing of the UK’s foreign policy between the US and Europe will have to take place.

    Full report here.