I’ve been away from blogging for the last few days so I’m just catching up with what’s been happening in the news. The thing that first caught my eye was this story in The Telegraph about former President Jimmy Carter being “surprised and extremely disappointed by Tony Blair’s behaviour“. If this came from just about anyone else it would be dismissed as understatement but coming from an ex US President, it is quite interesting as ex Presidents are usually expected to keep quiet on such issues and not criticise the current incumbent. He doesn’t stop there:
“I think that more than any other person in the world the Prime Minister could have had a moderating influence on Washington – and he has not. I really thought that Tony Blair, who I know personally to some degree, would be a constraint on President Bush’s policies towards Iraq.” “In many countries where I meet with leaders and private citizens there is an equating of American policy with Great Britain – with Great Britain obviously playing the lesser role. “We now have a situation where America is so unpopular overseas that even in countries like Egypt and Jordan our approval ratings are less than five per cent. It’s a shameful and pitiful state of affairs and I hold your British Prime Minister to be substantially responsible for being so compliant and subservient.”
Carter then goes on to criticise Bush and the Iraq war, something he says he would never have ordered.
“No,” he said, “I would never have ordered it. However, I wouldn’t have excluded going into Afghanistan, because I think we had to strike at al-Qaeda and its leadership. But then, to a major degree, we abandoned the anti-terrorist effort and went almost unilaterally with Great Britain into Iraq.” “My own personal opinion is that the Iraqi people are not better off as a result of the invasion and people in America and Great Britain are not safer.”
Whether this will have any effect on public opinion in the USA is unknown (by me at least), but here in Britain it will be embarrassing for Tony Blair who is portrayed as Bush’s poodle more and more often for obvious reasons. Blair is facing ever increasing pressure to stand down as Prime Minister or to at least announce his departure date. Even some of his staunchest supporters are questioning the wisdom of his staying on at Number Ten. Lord Falconer, on the other hand is still remaining
detached from reality loyal, insisting that Blair has more to do before standing down.
“In terms of addressing the attacks on this country by terrorists, in terms of being a world statesman, I don’t think anybody could do the job better than Tony Blair. Now, in my view, is not the time to go.” Source
We’ll see if that position can be maintained after the Labour Party Conference in September and when Knacker of the Yard knocks on the door of Number Ten Downing Street.