A POODLE WITH TEETH: Jim Bennett writes:
The true peculiarity of the Bush-Blair relationship lies in the fact that the two share one important characteristic, albeit understood in different ways, while differing in another extremely important way. This creates a tension between cooperation and conflict that has characterized, and will probably continue to characterize, this peculiar instance of the Special relationship.
The shared characteristic is that Bush and Blair, almost alone of the world’s leaders, genuinely believe that they are facing not merely opposition, but evil. The unshared characteristic is that for Blair, one of the principal aspects of Saddam Hussein’s evil is his defiance of international law. Blair is not only a Gladstonian internationalist, but a robust internationalist, who believes that international order must be backed with effective action.
When words fail, Gladstonians, like Wilsonians, are willing to bring out the guns. In the Web logs, there is much talk about the rousing of the Jacksonian spirit in America. A careful reading of history would warn foreigners that the truly dangerous situation comes when the Wilsonians are aroused as well.
One of the many ironies in this situation is that here Blair is being a more consistent backer of the international order and the United Nations than his critics on the left, and on the European Continent. It is exactly the same motivation that leads Blair to criticize America for failing to ratify Kyoto that causes him to support Bush on Iraq.