The Special Relationship (TV Movie ) - IMDb
Over the years British prime ministers have enjoyed warm relationships with US presidents, which have helped to shape world history and brought varying. Tony Blair wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to the two leaders had an intimate working relationship, the letters show. “real Iraqis, not Saddam's special guard, decide to offer resistance” or if. The drama would not have been complete, however, without the character of George Bush and his special relationship with Blair, and that.
We had to stand together. We had to understand the scale of the challenge and rise to meet it. It is clear that from this point onwards, Blair would grow closer and closer to the US and Bush as he saw a threat against them as a threat against the whole of the western world. This holds certain similarities to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation which states an attack on one of their members is an attack on them all of which the United Kingdom and United States are both a part of.
He had appointed Vice President Cheney as head of a task force to ascertain how likely a terrorist attack on the US was and what their potential response to an attack would be. This project had not gotten off the ground by the time of the attacks however . The Bush administration however was made up of people like Rumsfeld, Cheney and Wolfowitz who were vastly experienced hard line politicians. When the Bush administration came to power it was full of experienced individuals who had seen the US recover from things like the Vietnam War, presided over the demise of the Soviet Union and won the Gulf War.
Bush addressed the people of America on the 12th of September to try and reassure them and give assurances that those responsible will be caught and brought to justice. He thanked congress for their support along with world leaders who had contacted him. However there was one quote in particular that we should draw our attention to: As he talked about his friends and allies and moving for peace in the world — Tony Blair fits this description perfectly as he already advocated peace via intervention.
The response that Bush spoke of was to be great, but not just militarily as many had anticipated. Domestically the US changed policy to adequately deal with the modern day terrorist threat. The Patriot Act, which was passed through congress in Octoberjust a month after the attacks.
The act gave the US sweeping new powers on all sorts of issues. This act made changes to powers the authorities in the US had. The authorities could for example: It has often been asked since, why the Patriot Act ever came into existence with such wide spread changes to American freedoms. The answer is fear. Fear of this happening again led the American people to place great trust into George W Bush and his judgment of what the best responses were, in exchange for some of their civil liberties.
While not as controversial or as far reaching as the Patriot Act, some aspects of it were met with fierce opposition in the UK. Among the most contentious pieces of legislation that appeared in the act was the period of time suspects of international terrorism could be held by the police for. This period was for questioning, no charge had to be brought against a suspect and minimal evidence to detain them in the first place. Previously a non-UK citizen could be held for up to seven days for questioning but the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act doubled that to fourteen.
Tony Blair and later Gordon Brown lobbied to try and get this period up to twenty eight days to detain a terror suspect without charge but the fourteen days had became problematic in itself for the British government as it was disputed by the European Convention of Human Rights.
Although both had committed to making the necessary domestic changes to safeguard their states from terrorist activity, it was clearly less problematic for Bush. The reaction that the world expected did come however. The watching world expected a military response against those responsible for September As Bush had promised in his address the day after the attacks, the US along with friends and allies would do all in their power to bring those to justice; those who were determined to be responsible were Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.
This group contained vastly experienced individuals who Bush had enormous trust in. Bush by this point had developed his understanding of foreign affairs and had become much more assertive and demanding during discussions with his cabinet.
Blair had also made clear of his intention to support the US through every eventuality. He sent a five page memo to Bush on September 12 outlining that they should demand they give up Bin Laden or suffer the consequences, again outlining how committed Blair was to the US cause and his own doctrine to promote peace across the world through any means necessary .
The 7th of October signaled the official start of the war in Afghanistan, a pre-emptive military engagement to try and stop the terrorist activity that had been based in Afghanistan for years. The terrorist attacks of September 11 changed many things for both the United States and Britain. By the Afghan war was still rife, and Afghanistan was still a very volatile place for allied forces to be. Loss of life was still an almost regular occurrence. Blair was said to be sacrificing these interests for the sake of those of the US.
It was felt the Bush administration were out of sync with contemporary affairs. People within the Bush administration felt that the US made a mistake leaving the Gulf before dealing with Hussein the first time.
The British public and media did not take kindly to the potential invasion of Iraq. This chapter will include discussions of all of, but not limited to these subjects.
Bush, Blair and the Special Relationship
People on the far right like Rumsfeld and Cheney were not big on the nation building exercise that would be needed after the deposing of Hussein. People like Colin Powell however felt that this was needed and the allied forces would have to implement democracy before leaving. This contrasts with the realist argument that democracy cannot be imposed on a state, it must instead happen naturally .
Blair outlines his dedication to the US cause by committing 40, troops to any potential intervention of Iraq that would surface. The British media and public were not happy about the legitimacy of such an intervention as the main reason for the intervention was to rid Iraq of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Blair pushed for UN resolutions to try and bring the International community of which he was so fond together to try and give it legitimacy but the United States were unwilling .UK/US Special Relationship
The Bush administration on the other hand showed far less consideration for this side and felt that they needed to strike pre-emptively to defend themselves against the potential threat Iraq and Saddam Hussein posed. According to the UN, by the number of deaths of children under the age of five was pera figure worse than that of the Congo.
With close contact with the French, a resolution was reached with both sides making concessions. It was now down to interpretation whether or not the US could invade Iraq lawfully.
If Saddam Hussein did not disarm then he was to face sanctions and be in breech of the 91 seize fire, and would give the US a perceived mandate to invade Iraq.
The term unilateralism refers to the one sided Pre-Emptive action that the US were now willing to take, primarily in the case of Iraq for nuclear disbarment. The Neo-Conservative Bush administration had come full circle. They had acknowledged that the spread of democracy was needed throughout the Middle East.
People like Jeane Kirkpatrick had made very clear their unwillingness to push this kind of foreign policy, but by the emphasis had changed . By tensions were building as Blair jostled for position with the Bush administration over whether or not to try and get another UN resolution before an invasion of Iraq. Blair was coming under increasing pressure from his own political party back home amidst worries over national interests However there remained a certain fondness between Blair and Bush.
While in Texas in attending a joint conference with the American President, the pair emphasised the need for Iraq to be dealt with.
Despite the obvious tension between members of the Bush administration and Blair, there was fondness shown towards him. In late it was said by a UN representative that nothing constituted an invasion of Iraq as the UN and US had interpreted the resolution differently and both felt they had legality. Things with regard to an invasion in Iraq seemed to be on hold . A secret meeting was called between Blair and Bush at the White House at the end of January to discuss what actions to take.
Blair had publicly stated, and still has to this day that they were giving Saddam Hussein one last opportunity to disarm and as far as Blair was concerned that matter would resolve itself if he disarmed. This meeting however was speculated to have taken a different course. A memo was unearthed in which had notes taken from the meeting between the two men on the 31st January This shows that the relationship between the pair was a strong one as Bush was prepared to seek another resolution, despite the opposition he was facing from his own administration, as Blair felt it was the right thing to do.
On Sunday 16th February, close to two million people took part in a three and a half mile march in London to protest against the potential war in Iraq. Many popular figures turned out to show their support for the cause. It is said that this is the largest public demonstration in UK history. Two other demonstrations took place in Glasgow and Belfast .
The message was clear; the British people did not want to go to war in Iraq and Blair knew it. Despite this clear unwillingness from the British public, it was revealed later by the Chilcot inquiry that Blair had already given assurances to Bush that Britain would be a part of any military intervention in Iraq.
If that cannot be done diplomatically and it is to be done militarily, Britain will be there. That would be the tenor of the communication to the President.
His doctrine states that intervention can be used if diplomacy fails. Were many feel Blair abandoned his own doctrine to keep close to Bush, the opposite can be argued.
Tony Blair and George W Bush remained determined to achieve their goals set out in their separate doctrines upon the invasion of Iraq in March Both have been heavily criticized since.
The invasions of both Afghanistan and Iraq have had their criticisms but both men remain assured of themselves and their position that no action at all meant a potential national security risk in the future.
Despite the obvious obstacles Blair faced in going to Iraq, he still persisted; such was the bond he had developed with George W Bush. What was the nature of the relationship when Blair stepped down as Prime Minister in ? We will also reflect on the relevance of the first meeting and what problems were initially faced such as the obvious division on both sides about how a transatlantic relationship would operate.
If not, why not? The domestic issues that surfaced as a direct consequence were important to national interests on both sides of the Atlantic as well as the foreign implications. The hostilities between the Labour government in Westminster and the new Republican Bush administration in Washington were obvious before the two met for the first time in This was amidst the Supreme Court ruling that gave Bush the legitimacy to be President that many of the political elite in Britain felt was unwarranted.
By this point, Blair was busy trying to construct an international community that could deal with matters of a global importance, therefore valued the opinions and views of the US in an attempt to get them on board in the future. This contrasts with his predecessor Gordon Brown, who supported Al Gore in the election. It was said that when he took over inhe would try and distance himself from the US and Bush. Brown did however say: The inexperience of Bush is also a factor discussed in the opening chapter, which Blair could relate to having been relatively inexperienced in foreign policy when he came to 10 Downing Street.
The next issue covered was to explore the different dimensions of the Blair and Bush doctrines. Both had relevance and some legitimacy when it came to intervention. As well as having many similarities. It was said by Blair that when diplomacy or sanctions failed, then preventative intervention was warranted. This was made in the midst of the Kosovo crisis where humanitarian issues were at the heart of worries. The Bush doctrine was different in a few ways.
Like the Blair doctrine it did say intervention was desirable when dealing with a rogue state, but this was to be done by Pre-Emptive action. This was fundamentally different from preventative action as the Bush model was based on crushing a potential threat to their national security.
Both doctrines can be said to have had relative success as both were implemented on more than one occasion. The current conflict in Libya has been dealt with by using the very same methods Blair suggested in This has close comparisons with Blair as he also wanted to use UN resolutions to impose sanctions on countries like Iraq before invading. And if intervention was the answer, he felt it was desirable to have international backing.
Both Cameron and Obama are said to have been interested in this route like Blair, but unlike Bush and his administration. Blair also changed his position as previously he was involved in interventions that were not made in retaliation. Instead they tended to be humanitarian interventions based upon a moral judgment he made based on the facts available to him. This was the point in time many began to believe Blair was moving from preventative to Pre-Emptive action to create a stronger bond between himself and Bush.
Bush and Blair introduced tough new legislation to deal with terror threats in their respective states and to ensure the national interest.
Special Relationship: Thatcher and Reagan to Blair and Bush - BBC News
The US anti-terror legislation was particularly controversial. The Patriot Act, introduced in late gave the state all types of powers. Telephone calls could be intercepted or homes raided with little evidence to name a couple. Since George W Bush left office over a year ago, many have asked what will become of the Patriot Act. The Patriot act has had several short term extensions as it is due to be replaced by the Anti-Terror bill.
It is currently being debated in the House of Representatives and it is hoped it will be introduced in late May . Within four years of its introduction however, it was replaced. The prevention of terrorism act was introduced in to replace the now unworkable legislation that stood before. In particular, the detention issue.
New legislation was needed.
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Afghanistan had not gone well, members of the armed forces were still being killed and wounded, and Osama Bin Laden had not been found. Blair was determined however to be a part of the US efforts, whatever they may be.
It was many of the hard line Neo-Conservatives who felt most strongly about Iraq however. Many of them felt that mistakes were made in the Gulf previously when leaving while Saddam Hussein was still in power. Blair came under pressure at home with numerous protests against the potential war in Iraq and risked his government collapsing because of internal division. Never the less, it was alleged Blair gave Bush his word he would be a part of any action the US would take against Iraq, militarily or otherwise.
Blair however did try and put pressure on the Bush administration to seek UN resolutions before an invasion. Young children were in the bath. It was impossible not to overhear. In any case, I wanted to give Blair support. He was about to try to persuade Bush to do the decent thing, and wait for a second UN resolution.
There was by now no doubt that Bush was going to war. All opponents — including me — were in despair. But if Blair could persuade Bush to delay the invasion until a second UN resolution had been agreed, something might yet be salvaged: For Blair, a second resolution was also crucially important if he was to win the support of the British parliament in a vote the following week.
The following is what I noted down, and which became one of the play scripts, The Brent Jumps. An American military voice: We have the president of the United States for you. Bush seems very far away. Almost in the bedroom. Hi, how are you? I watched you on TV. Real leadership will be remembered. Jacques Chirac, the French president, is causing trouble, opposing the second resolution, he says.
Yeah, but what did the French ever do for anyone? What wars did they win since the French revolution? More bad jokes about the French. Then the prime minister tries again. So, er … where do we go from here? We need to move to closure … call in the chips with Chile, the Mexicans … close it down. Well, er, let me explain how we see it … I want to take the Europeans with me so Friday might be a little early … Long silence.
Talking in the background of the Oval office.
A moment later I overhear Bush take up the phone again and suddenly switch subject, talking of Vladimir Putin. Both men then sneer at Hans Blixthe UN weapons inspector who had not found any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. And you know what.