Tony Blair just addressed a joint session of the US congress and I suppose he will have convinced many in Congress that the right way for America is to fill out an application to the Commonwealth right now – or at least to again change the US constitution to allow Blair to run for President should NewLabour ever want to dispose of him.
While I won’t analyse the speech in detail until/unless I’ve seen a transcript, it was clearly Tony Blair at his best. A powerful speech that – while obviously not going into detail – addressed even problematic issues like the middle east conflict, one of the issues where the former mandate power UK usually is much more critical of Israel than the US.
Blair has not given up seeing Britain’s role at the centre of a Europe of nation states (he even mentioned the superstate to please the UK’s conservative papers) as mentor and mediator between the continents. At some points he tried to uplift the “special relationship” to one between Europe, not just Britain, and the US.
Obviously, his speech was intented to distract from the political mess at home following the military victory abroad – for both him and George W. Bush, and to extend his clout in Washington. But it also became a leadership matters speech invoking history and not intelligence agencies. There was a lot of multilateralism in his speech, including the advice to the American administration to “lead through persuasion, not command.”
Now it’s up to us, to the beholders, to decide wether Blair was building the base for a new Atlantic Charter, or whether he just gave the “we lied to you because we had to in order to do what we wanted to do”-speech.