A new report from Chatham House concludes that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was a "terrible mistake" leading to a "debacle" that will have repercussions on policy for years.
"The root failure (of Blair's foreign policy) has been the inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice -- military, political and financial -- that the United Kingdom has made," the report said.British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett said the report was "ridiculously wrong." Australia Foreign Minister Alexander Downer backs her up:
"Tony Blair has learned the hard way that loyalty in international politics counts for very little," it said.
"It seems to me as an outsider that what is more important than what someone from Chatham House thinks is what the Iraqi people think," Mr Downer said after meetings with his UK counterpart Margaret Beckett.OK, so what are the Iraqi's saying? Well 90% or more want us out of their country. And Iraq's Vice President says Bush 'brainwashed' Blair into back-tracking on a pledged Iraq pullout:
"I would have thought that would pip at the post someone from Chatham House in terms of relevance."
Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi told New York's Council on Foreign Relations that when he spoke with Blair about three months ago, the British leader was supportive of his appeal for the United States and Britain to say when they would withdraw.UPDATE: Blair defends close ties with US:
"I had just convinced him," Hashemi said. "He promised he was going to discuss the subject with President Bush, but at the end of the day, it's quite unfortunate, that your president (made) some sort of brainwashing of Mr. Blair."
"You won't find a situation in which you are able to make progress in Israel-Palestine without America and everybody knows that," Blair said.The problem is, dear Tony, that you do not have a "strong relationship" with the USA. You have a servile, weak and ultimately useless relationship.
"So us having a strong relationship with America is one reason why when I come and discuss the Israel-Palestine issue out in the Middle East, you are having a different type of conversation, precisely because you've got the relationship with America."
If you really want to have an influence on US policy, the best thing to do is walk away from them when they make mistakes and refuse to change.