Military History | How To Make War | Wars Around the World Rules of Use How to Behave on an Internet Forum
United Kingdom Discussion Board
   Return to Topic Page
Subject: Thanks, Tony, for making Britain the world's 2nd-most powerful nation
AdamB    2/19/2007 1:08:40 PM
February 19, 2007 The Times We’re great again. Thanks, Tony It is time we woke up to the Prime Minister’s legacy Tim Hames Now that London Fashion Week has closed, so the most unfashionable item around rears its head again. No aspect of the Blair legacy is more controversial, debated and derided than his foreign policy. At times the Prime Minister appears almost alone as he defends his attempt to stay close to the United States while being a good European. The legacy, it is said, is one of undiluted failure, symbolised by Iraq, the “worst mistake since Suez” and the burden of a man who promised so much (in both senses of the term) but ultimately, tragically, sacrificed his reputation in backing a US president whose idea of diplomacy is less Henry Kissinger than Clint Eastwood. That is the approved script. But it is not the true picture of the past decade. Tony Blair is not responsible for everything that has happened during his time in Downing Street, any more than Queen Victoria created an empire. Yet Britain’s ranking in the international pecking order has to be partly due to the deeds of the Prime Minister of the day. And the legacy of the period since 1997 is enhanced British power. Power in international politics comes, broadly, in three forms: economic weight, political authority and cultural influence. The transformation in Britain’s economic status is staggering. When I was a child the sense of inevitable national decline was overwhelming. It was a state of abject catastrophe that was reversed by Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister. Her rather unlikely political stepson has cemented that recovery. Over the past decade Britain has enjoyed the highest rate of economic growth of any G8 country other than America. It has moved from the sixth largest economy in the world, where it slipped during the nadir of John Major’s tenure, to the fourth greatest. Our lead over France and Italy has become entrenched. The UK has shifted from a manufacturing base that had little future to a service sector focused on high-value products. New York City is at risk of losing its status as a financial centre to London for the first time since the 1920s.Economic power is the basis of foreign policy power. It has been strengthened. What of political power? Think of Mr Blair’s two pillars. The US-UK alliance had some dire moments during the Major years. That Prime Minister had no impact on the EU, either. The sum of his achievements there was vetoing a federalist prime minister of Belgium for the post of President of the European Commission in order to insert a federalist prime minister of Luxembourg into that portfolio instead. Jacques Santer (remember him?) was later driven out of the Commission for his sheer incompetence. Whatever one might think of the decisions that Mr Blair has taken, the notion that the UK-US “special relationship” is an anachronism is today incredible. From Kosovo to Afghanistan to, yes, Iraq, its presence has been profound. Most prominent Democrats (certainly Hillary Clinton) believe that the Prime Minister was right to do what he did in tandem with the Bush White House. Their principal objection to the Blair role in Iraq is that he was so irritatingly eloquent in echoing a Republican president’s message. Europe, as well, has changed beyond recognition. The aim of widening the EU was shared by the Major and the Blair governments. It was absurd that the door to the East was not opened much earlier. Now, the EU has almost doubled in members from 15 to 27 states. There is plenty of evidence that Europe will be a more comfortable place for Britain politically. When Mr Blair vetoed a federalist Belgian prime minister for the presidency of the EU Commission in 2004 he was, unlike his predecessor, not alone and the replacement was a Portuguese free-marketeer. That, in a nutshell, has been the distinction between the Major and Blair eras. Mr Blair will leave his successor a far, far stronger hand than he was bequeathed. Finally, there is cultural power. Since Mr Blair (unlike Al Gore) has never claimed that he invented the internet, his direct part in pressing forward Britain’s cultural standing is limited. Yet in the past decade the English language has become ever more important. That can be seen in the demand for places at British universities from overseas and in the boom in higher education establishments opening up satellite sites abroad. The concept of degree certificates as postmodern gunboats might seem surreal, but this is, to use a voguish phrase, “soft power” in action. It has been repeated in fields as diverse as fiction, food and football. Britain has become a brand. All of which leads to what might appear an outlandish claim. It is that the real foreign policy legacy of the Blair years is that Britain has become the second most powerful country in the world. To be sure, we stand a long way behind the United States, and it may not be many ye
 
Quote    Reply

Show Only Poster Name and Title     Newest to Oldest
Pages: 1 2 3   NEXT
Herc the Merc    AdamB If u pleae   2/19/2007 1:21:26 PM
What is the feel good factor in the streets that suggest a revival?? The last item I purchased that was British was a glass of Bass. I do have some Brit friends who bought houses in Florida, but is there a gold rush anywhere??--lemme jump in for taking a piece of that revival.
 
Quote    Reply

Drazhar       2/19/2007 5:48:37 PM
Being new  here and reading some posts, I gather that Herc hates the British or just likes putting us down whether he can. If you don't have anything nice to say about a country, don't say it at all. Maybe Herc is just a troll who somehow can still be a member of this sight with his terrible grammar and spelling, or perhaps he is just an  ignorant person?
 
Quote    Reply

Herc the Merc    Come now Drazhar   2/19/2007 6:01:52 PM
All I asked was -where is the party-
 
but is there a gold rush anywhere??--lemme jump in for taking a piece of that revival.
 

How touchy can u get??
 
Quote    Reply

Herc the Merc    Drazhar--plz before u accuse others of poor spelling, check ur SIGHT-its not 20/20   2/19/2007 6:15:20 PM

Being new  here and reading some posts, I gather that Herc hates the British or just likes putting us down whether he can. If you don't have anything nice to say about a country, don't say it at all. Maybe Herc is just a troll who somehow can still be a member of this sight with his terrible grammar and spelling, or perhaps he is just an  ignorant person?



But considering the average English kid is exposed to the one of the worst school system in the developed world, frankly not surprising--
 
arbroath.blogspot.com/2007/02/uk-is-accused-of-failing-children.html
 
Quote    Reply

BadNews       2/20/2007 1:42:27 AM

Being new  here and reading some posts, I gather that Herc hates the British or just likes putting us down whether he can. If you don't have anything nice to say about a country, don't say it at all. Maybe Herc is just a troll who somehow can still be a member of this sight with his terrible grammar and spelling, or perhaps he is just an  ignorant person?


Herc has some rather firm opinions that do not necessarily represent that general consensus of most Americans which hold the British in high esteem and truly appreciate the sacrifice and brotherhood we share. More to the point, his sometimes animated retort does not necessarily lend credence to his opinions.
Thank you Great Britain for being the steadfast ally that you have always been, and to Mr. Blair I say it takes only the strongest of men to stand by what he believes to be right despite the presure of criticism which in a time of war is inevidable.
 
Quote    Reply

Yimmy       2/20/2007 3:24:29 AM


Power in international politics comes, broadly, in three forms: economic weight, political authority and cultural influence.

 
What a lame article.  I can understand people wanting to put a positive spin on things, but really, what rot.
 
Economically?  Sure we are doing rather well, but I don't think Blair is to thank for that.  Cheap workers flooding into the country and lowering salaries isn't good for everyone, for instance.
 
Political Authority?  Sure, I agree that we should keep our position on the fence, close to the US, yet also close to Europe.  If anything it gives us a political fail-safe.  However I think Blair has been a tad too eager, and while staying very close to the US, giving away many of our legal powers to Europe.  I fail to see what the advantage is for us, letting the European courts have power over us?
 
Cultural Influence?  That one takes the biscuit for imagination that does.  Since the UK opened our doors to immigrants (for better or worse) the British culture has completely left the scene.  It no longer exists.  Talk to any bloke in his 50/60's about how it used to be, with everyone knowing everyone where they lived, while now nobody knows their immediate neighbours even.  Even our television screens are filled with US programes, our streets are full of cheap US companies like Mc Donnalds, and we admire cheap patheric US celebrities (the British ones are even worse).  Hell, even our kids have no discipline or sense of being British any more (how many teenagers got shot in the last month again?)
 
If I had a door open to Canada, Australia, New Zealand or just possibly the US, I would take it asap.  This country is going down the pan - however strong our economy may be - and even that is due almost entirely to London (which is a fantastic city, its just a shame the rst of the country leeches off its wealth).
 
Quote    Reply

Padfoot       2/20/2007 4:42:21 AM



Power in international politics comes, broadly, in three forms: economic weight, political authority and cultural influence.


 

What a lame article.  I can understand people wanting to put a positive spin on things, but really, what rot.

 

Economically?  Sure we are doing rather well, but I don't think Blair is to thank for that.  Cheap workers flooding into the country and lowering salaries isn't good for everyone, for instance.

 

Political Authority?  Sure, I agree that we should keep our position on the fence, close to the US, yet also close to Europe.  If anything it gives us a political fail-safe.  However I think Blair has been a tad too eager, and while staying very close to the US, giving away many of our legal powers to Europe.  I fail to see what the advantage is for us, letting the European courts have power over us?

 

Cultural Influence?  That one takes the biscuit for imagination that does.  Since the UK opened our doors to immigrants (for better or worse) the British culture has completely left the scene.  It no longer exists.  Talk to any bloke in his 50/60's about how it used to be, with everyone knowing everyone where they lived, while now nobody knows their immediate neighbours even.  Even our television screens are filled with US programes, our streets are full of cheap US companies like Mc Donnalds, and we admire cheap patheric US celebrities (the British ones are even worse).  Hell, even our kids have no discipline or sense of being British any more (how many teenagers got shot in the last month again?)

 

If I had a door open to Canada, Australia, New Zealand or just possibly the US, I would take it asap.  This country is going down the pan - however strong our economy may be - and even that is due almost entirely to London (which is a fantastic city, its just a shame the rst of the country leeches off its wealth).

It's funny how people see things differently, Yimmy. Personally I think multiculturalism is a great thing, indeed if you immigrate to one of the countries you mention you'll find lots of McDonalds restaurants; heaps of American TV shows, and just as much crime - if not more - than you find in Britain. And multiculturalism is these nations whole 'raisons d'etre' if you will. The grass isn't always greener.
































 
Quote    Reply

Yimmy       2/20/2007 6:29:16 AM
From what I can see on this side, the grass very much is greener.
 
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against multi-culturalism, my point is, there no longer is much of the old British culture.  I certainly don't expect to find some fantastic culture in Australia, but I do expect to find areas I can drive without suffering from a congestion charge, the ability to park without having to pay by the hour, no European court etc etc.
 
Quote    Reply

Drazhar       2/20/2007 8:55:33 AM
Oh, my mistake. I misspelled a couple of words. Britain has a poor education system? Coming from "do u knowz i h8s hte britsh!!!11" Seems your education system isn't doing to well either.
 
Quote    Reply

french stratege       2/20/2007 10:45:18 AM
I had a good laugh reading this article!
Over the past decade Britain has enjoyed the highest rate of economic growth of any G8 country other than America. It has moved from the sixth largest economy in the world, where it slipped during the nadir of John Major’s tenure, to the fourth greatest. Our lead over France and Italy has become entrenched
.In real term, how much? 1% in GDP above France?considering a huge trade deficit increase artificially GDP?
 
The UK has shifted from a manufacturing base that had little future
Of course, industrial base has no future! LOL.How much time China will accept to sell us products at cheap price under monkey money, once western industrial competitors would have been weakened above recovery?
Material industry was supposed to have no future (remember about steel or aluminium)  and now it is one of best performing business.
And without industrial base, no weapons, no remplacement of losses in major war, no scaling up...
Without an industrial base, if you need weapons, I doubt countries would provide you the best including a sofware free of remote activated locks , without bargaining you something.
See the F35.
Some people are really delluded.
 
 
Quote    Reply
1 2 3   NEXT



 Latest
 News
 
 Most
 Read
 
 Most
 Commented
 Hot
 Topics