Chapter

The Blair balance sheet

Stephen Benedict Dyson

in The Blair Identity

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780719079993
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702178 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719079993.003.0008
The Blair balance sheet

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This chapter considers the implications of Blair and this study of him. What judgments can we ultimately make about his influence and his foreign policy? What does an individual as unique as Blair tell us about international relations? It concludes that, in real-world terms, Blair's style made a key difference to British foreign policy in each of the crucial episodes under consideration. Britain would not have been as forward leaning in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, would not have outlined such ambitious goals in the ‘war on terror’, and would have been much more cautious toward, and perhaps ultimately resiled from, the Iraq intervention, had someone else been leading the country. The incentives and constraints of alliance with the world's superpower, and the security challenges of rogue states and international terrorism, would have been faced by any British prime minister during this period, but actor-specific theory leads to the conclusion that Blair played a determinate role in these key episodes. In international relations, the case of Tony Blair makes the point in vivid fashion that individuals matter.

Keywords: Tony Blair; international relations; foreign policy; war on terror

Chapter.  3790 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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