Monday, March 22, 2010

New movie Ghostwriter seeks to answer my question: why did Bill Clinton's pal Tony Blair suddenly become joined at the hip with George W. Bush?

I remember feeling shocked in 2001 when Bill Clinton's pal Tony Blair, prime minister of the United Kingdom, suddenly became such good friends with George W. Bush. If Tony Blair was a liberal like Clinton, how come he was so bizarrely compatible with a right-wing extremist like Bush?

And then Tony Blair proceeded to support all of Bush's worst ideas, such as the Iraq war. Why?

Apparently the citizens of Britain had similar questions. Wikipedia reports:

Along with enjoying a close relationship with Bill Clinton during the latter's time in office, Blair formed a strong political alliance with George W. Bush, particularly in the area of foreign policy. At one point, Nelson Mandela described Blair as "the U.S. foreign minister".[96] Blair has also often openly been referred to as "Bush's poodle".[97] Kendall Myers, a senior analyst at the State Department, reportedly said that he felt "a little ashamed" of Bush's treatment of the Prime Minister and that his attempts to influence U.S. policy were typically ignored: "It was a done deal from the beginning, it was a one-sided relationship that was entered into with open eyes... There was nothing, no payback, no sense of reciprocity".[98]

For his part, Bush lauded Blair and the UK. In his post-11 September speech, for example, he stated that "America has no truer friend than Great Britain".[99]

The alliance between Bush and Blair seriously damaged Blair's standing in the eyes of many British people.[100] Blair argued it is in Britain's interest to "protect and strengthen the bond" with the United States regardless of who is in the White House.[101] However, a perception of one-sided compromising personal and political closeness led to serious discussion of the term "Poodle-ism" in the UK media, to describe the "Special Relationship" of the UK government and Prime Minister with the US White House and President.[102] A revealing conversation between Bush and Blair, with the former addressing the latter as "Yo, Blair" was recorded when they did not know a microphone was live at the G8 conference in Russia in 2006.

The new movie Ghostwriter seeks to answer my question.

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