Editorial & Opinion: The Uses and Abuses of Military Intervention ; FOREIGN POLICY
On one side of the Atlantic we had George Bush taking questions from an uncommonly sceptical White House press corps. On the other, we had Tony Blair delivering the first of three major lectures on foreign policy, the other two to be delivered to audiences outside Britain. This was a transatlantic double-act for the third anniversary of the Iraq war.
Mr Bush was assertive, combative and impatient. US foreign policy, he said, had changed utterly after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001' US security had become the imperative overnight. Mr Blair was in contemplative mode, positing a clash "not between civilisations, but about civilisation". The tensions and outright hostility now being observed were not between the West and Islam, but between "reaction" and "modernity". He called for the formulation of a "politics of globalisation" to match the "economics of globalisation" which, he said, were "well matured".
Now it is possible to disagree about how "well matured" the economics of globalisation is - especially in the wake of the Dubai Ports World controversy in the United States. But it is a bold politician who addresses big ideas and we take no issue with Mr Blair for trying. There are big ideas swirling around in the political ether at the moment, and one of these concerns how the industrialised democracies can relate to the Islamic world - and vice versa. Mr Bush still divides his post-11 September world into "us" and "the terrorists". We find Mr Blair's search for the broader picture preferable.
For all their differences in style and substance, however, on one theme the two leaders were united. There was no regret, no distancing from the debacle of Iraq. Each in his own way defended the decision to go to war as the right and responsible thing to do. And the message to be extrapolated from Mr Blair's speech, at least, was that if he were to be presented with the same set of circumstances again, he would have no hesitation in choosing the same course of action. …