Alas Tony Blair stepped down today as prime minister of Britain. He leaves office as widely loved in America as he is widely hated in Britain, and for the same reason: because he has been America's best friend among foreign leaders—alas.
As much as I appreciate Blair's support for the war in Iraq and the political price he paid for it, Blair's support has also given him the influence to ask for key concessions from the US, such as the long, drawn-out charade of seeking UN support for the invasion of Iraq.
Unfortunately, I suspect that this aspect of Blair's role will be emphasized in his new job as a special envoy working to help create a Palestinian state—through the hopeless method of trying to bring freedom, prosperity, and the rule of law to a society run by terrorists.
Though he is known in America mostly for his foreign policy, any mention of Blair's legacy should include his economic policy, reviewed here, which largely consisted of a ratification from the left of Margaret Thatcher's pro-free-market reforms—the source of Britain's current economic vitality.
"Mediators Appoint Blair Mideast Envoy," Christine Hauser and Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times, June 27 Tony Blair, who stepped down today as the prime minister of Britain, has been appointed a new senior peace envoy for the Middle East, working on building the framework for a Palestinian state, officials said today….
Mr. Blair, who handed his office over to Gordon Brown in London, becomes a senior envoy for the “quartet,” diplomatic shorthand for the four leading outside forces working on peace efforts between Israel and the Palestinians—the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.
A State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, said Mr. Blair would spend significant time in the region “working with the parties and others to help viable and lasting government institutions representing all Palestinians, a robust economy and a climate of law and order for the Palestinian people.”…
President Bush welcomed the appointment today.
“Tony will help Palestinians develop the political and economic institutions they will need for a democratic, sovereign state able to provide for its people and live in peace and security with Israel,” he said in a statement.