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Readings: Riddell.  Which themes shaped British foreign policy under Blair?  How did the Iraq war affect movement towards these foreign policy goals?

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Presentation on theme: "Readings: Riddell.  Which themes shaped British foreign policy under Blair?  How did the Iraq war affect movement towards these foreign policy goals?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Readings: Riddell

2  Which themes shaped British foreign policy under Blair?  How did the Iraq war affect movement towards these foreign policy goals?  What were Blair’s legacies in foreign policy?  How does Brown’s foreign policy differ from Blair?  What changes are likely to result from the recent election of a Lib-Con government?

3  Blair foreign policy centered on:  1) Humanitarian Intervention  2) Maintain Special Relationship with the US  3) Re-Align the UK with the EU  All three themes are linked.  Humanitarian intervention marked a shift in British foreign policy.  Blair saw the UK as a bridge between the US and the EU  Previous governments have struggled with balancing commitments to the US and the EU.  Relationship came under tremendous strain during the Iraq war.

4  By the 2005 election, the UK as a bridge was no longer tenable.  Iraq damaged UK/EU ties and arguably cost Tony Blair the office of PM  Many argued that Blair gave too much to the US without getting much in return.  Few changes during the Brown administration:  1) Humanitarian intervention has taken on a more international institutional focus.  2) Despite some initial cooling, US-UK relationship still central.  3) Slowed movement towards further EU integration within the UK.  Cameron administration re-evaluating British foreign policy.  Conservatives typically more Atlanticist than the Liberal Democrats.  Liberal Democrats more pro-European than the Tories.

5  Mutual dependence has created a world where sovereignty is no longer absolute.  Where states were failing to address human rights concerns within their boundaries, their sovereignty could be forfeited.  The UK and the international community have a responsibility to intervene in places where human rights are being violated.  Foreign aid, protection of human rights, and strategic use of arms sales are the basis of this new doctrine.  Banning of weapons such as land mines and torture also key.  Combined an “ethical” foreign policy with support for US/UK ties.  But what actions trigger intervention?

6  Blair maintained close connections with the UK during his time in Downing Street.  Modeled New Labour after Clinton’s “New Democrat” playbook. ▪ Clinton as “mentor” until impeachment inquiry. ▪ Blair as an equal following inquiry.  Worked to maintain strong connections to the Bush administration after Clinton’s departure.  Involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan with the US cemented British tied with the US.  But they also strained relationships with the EU.

7  Blair marked a distinct change from the Thatcher and Major years on the issue of the EU.  Traditional opposition towards German-French cooperation over ESDI ended nder Blair.  Blair believed that ESDI should not duplicate but enhance NATO functions.  This would boost European bargaining weight at the international level.  Would enhance the UK as a “pivot” power.  But Atlantic/European ideals are not always in sync.  EU constraints are greater than often admitted.  Iraq war damaged UK/EU ties; Brown attempted to reduce suspicion of the UK in the EU.  Cameron is not trusted by the EU  Clegg on the other hand is quite popular to EU leaders.

8  Blair’s foreign policy centered on ethics in foreign policy.  Formed in part as a response to failures to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.  Concept of humanitarian intervention first raised in a Chicago speech in 1999.  A search for a more “moral” foreign policy.

9  When should the UK intervene?  Blair laid out five questions which must be addressed:  1) Are we sure of our case?  2) Have we exhausted all diplomatic options?  3) Are there military options we can sensibly and prudently undertake?  4) Are we prepared for the long-term?  5) Do we have national interests involved?  If the answer is yes, the UK has a right to intervene.

10  Cook: Focused on violence as a last resort; suggested that force should be used in accordance with international law and should be multilateral.  Cook: Should have UN Security Council backing whenever possible.  Willingness to use force relatively new for a Labour PM.  Used as a basis for UK involvement in Kosovo and Sierra Leone.

11  Major-Clinton relationship chilly; Blair election improved US-UK ties.  US-UK relationship central; but UK could act as a bridge between the US and the EU.  Riddell: Clinton as the “older brother” pushing Blair towards the “Third Way”  Disagreement over Kosovo; Blair pushed the US to work multilaterally through NATO.

12  Blair government more firmly in the pro- European camp than earlier Labour manifestoes.  Much more supportive of the EU than the Conservatives.  EU member states cautiously optimistic about the Blair government.  Despite a more pro-European stance, Blair obtained several opt-outs from EU treaties.  Waiver from Schengen and adoption of the euro two of the most visible.

13  Decision to avoid entry into eurozone caused irritation in Europe.  Government supported euro adoption in principle.  But it would be a tough sell domestically.  Response: Ensure that the British economy is more in line with the euro zone economy prior to entry.  Gordon Brown’s “five tests”  Intention was to push off adoption of euro until the second term.  Agreed to hold a referendum on entry.  This decision also irritated Brussels.

14  Sought strong agreements on European defense.  1998: St Malo agreement placed Britain with France and Germany on the issue of ESDI.  Irritated the Clinton Administration.  Won concessions from Chirac that ESDI would not compete with NATO.  Summit concluded NATO would be primary actor for collective defense.  Blair: building up independent European capability shows resolve to Atlanticism.  ESDI can be useful in instances where the US does not wish to intervene.

15  Blair’s commitment to intervention strengthened in the aftermath of 9/11.  He believed that fundamental values were under threat.  Focus of intervention arguably shifted.  Away from human rights to security.  Placed UK squarely within the “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)” discourse.  Central to framing the intervention in Iraq.  Possibility of WMD in Iraq used to justify intervention.

16 CRITIQUES  1) Policy is well meaning but flawed.  2) Main objectives strong but implementation problematic.  3) No substantive change in British foreign policy. REJOINDERS  1) International interdependence creates a new normative framework.  2) UN dictates are worthless if they are not enforced.  3) Failed states cannot be fixed without military components.  4) No double standard; self interest can motivate intervention.

17  Blair-Bush relationship did not have the same elder/younger component.  9/11 refocused Bush Administration foreign policy.  Doctrine of preventive war offered as a response to terror.  Blair determined not to let the US “go it alone”  Attempt to push the US towards international institutions.

18  Blair’s refusal to speak out publicly against perceived US unilateralism, Guantanamo Bay, led many to argue that Blair was Bush’s “poodle”  Blair knew Bush valued loyalty; refused to speak out publicly.  Blair wanted two things from the Bush Administration:  1) That the US seek a UN resolution for the invasion.  2) That the US recommit itself to solving the Israeli- Palestine conflict.

19  What did Blair get from the relationship?  Evidence is mixed.  1) Bush did go to the UN; UK as a “bridge to the EU” failed to move France and Germany.  French announcement that they would veto any push towards military action gave Bush Administration what they needed to intervene.  Blair would try to win Parliamentary approval on the basis of WMD; Bush would push for regime change.  2) Bush did come out in favor of Israeli-Palestinian roadmap for peace.  But attention came late in the administration.

20  2002: Euro currency enters circulation.  Blair under pressure to adopt the currency.  Brown claimed economic conditions not met yet.  Would make a decision within two years.  2003: UK had “made progress” on the “Five Tests”  Brown said the UK was not ready to join the euro zone.  Many in the EU doubted British resolve at this point  Believed that desire to enter eurozone no longer credible.  Commitment to referendum reinforced this idea. ▪ Blair’s declining popularity made winning a referendum unlikely.

21  Early British commitment to Afghanistan raised suspicions in the EU.  Blair derided as “too aggressive”.  Commitment to Iraq flew in the face of German and French governmental opinion.  British stance resonated amongst Eastern European states.  Split EU.  2003: Praline Summit attempted to divorce ESDI from NATO.  Caused tension between the EU and the US and UK.  Blair continued to push for NATO as central to EU defense.  Centrality of NATO placed in the draft Constitution.  Blair: Recognition that any ESDI without UK support would be useless

22  Failure to find WMD in Iraq weakened Blair’s position on this issue.  Damaged the conception of humanitarian intervention.  Also prompted a review of the decision to go to war.  Stretching of British military made involvement in other conflicts Burma, Darfur, etc. unlikely.  Concept of R2P re-evaluated after Blair leaves office.

23  2006: Speeches on roadmap for peace drowned out by British refusal to condemn Israeli incursion into Lebanon.  Some shifts in Bush’s second term attributed to British pressure.  Pushed for US engagement with Palestine.  Removal of Rumsfeld and public pressure pushed Bush to soften tone against Syria and Iran.  Blair/Merkel did win concession from Bush that global warming was “real”  2007: US commitment to dialogue with China/India on reducing carbon emissions seen as positive.

24  2004: Decision that the UK would put the European Constitution to a referendum made in response to public pressure.  Blair supported the treaty but winning approval in a referendum unlikely.  Call for referendum caused further irritation in Brussels. ▪ Some EU states argued that if the UK failed to adopt the constitution, the EU could adopt a “two-speed” approach. ▪ Others suggested pressuring the UK to leave.  Decides to hold a referendum towards the end of the ratification process.  Defeats in France and the Netherlands removed political pressure on Blair to hold referendum. ▪ European treaties require unanimity.  2007: Government contends that the Lisbon Treaty differs from the Constitution and would not necessarily be subject to a referendum.  Method of approval would be left up to Brown. ▪ Passed in parliament.

25  Took over from Blair on 27 June 2007.  Began re-evaluating R2P: R2P should occur within an institutional framework.  Support for UN reform key under Brown.  Miliband: “To assert shared values is not enough. We must embody them in shared institutions”  No active repudiation of British involvement in Afghanistan or Iraq.  Judge withdrawal on the basis of facts “on the ground”  But acknowledged that the British military is stretched too thin to be active in future conflicts.  Tied further deployments to Afghanistan to commitments from other NATO countries.

26  Evolving consensus around a new test.  Lord Malloch-Brown:  1) Are interventions rule based?  2) Are we willing to sustain them in the long-term?  3) Is there adequate burden sharing?  4) Will they actually curtail the loss of life? ▪ Not clear that either Iraq or Afghanistan would have met these criteria.

27  UK maintaining presence in Afghanistan; drawing down troops in Iraq.  Initially pulled away from Bush; spurned the term “special relationship”  Late push towards multilateralism heartened Brown administration.  Maintained centrality of special relationship.  Brown did not refer to the UK as bridge, however.  Revived relationship under Obama  More popular amongst British citizens than Bush.  Obama a bit more reserved on connections to Brown.

28  Was believed that Brown would be more pro-European than Blair.  In office, not so obvious this was the case.  Favored further enlargement of the EU and opposed deepening (similar to Blair).  Decision to sign Lisbon Treaty after others did was seen as problematic in Brussels.  Made political sense domestically.  Effectiveness in Brussels limited.  Not seen as “likable”  Referendum still required for euro adoption.  Never occurred.

29  Humanitarian Intervention:  1) Formed an initial basis for entering Iraq and Afghanistan.  2) Iraq war made forays into other “failed states” (e.g. Burma and Zimbabwe) difficult.  3) Maintained under Brown but with a new emphasis on international institutions and a downplaying of hard power.  Probably dead under the Con-Lib coalition  Military forces are stretched too thinly.  Liberals opposed Iraq war anyway.

30  Special Relationship  1) US changed tack and sought UN support for the Iraq war.  2) Bush did get involved in the Israeli-Palestine conflict. ▪ But late involvement limited influence. ▪ Blair was appointed Quartet envoy.  3) Blair arguably did push Bush on the issue of climate change.

31  Blair paid a much higher political price than Bush did for maintaining the relationship.  Bush administration rhetoric did not help Blair’s political cause.  Brown sought to maintain the relationship.  Particularly after Obama took office.  Re-evaluation of relationship occurring under Cameron.  Cameron believes the relationship is special but should be re-evaluated.  Clegg believes the UK should focus more on the EU.

32  Re-Orienting the UK  1) Blair’s bridge strategy failed; Iraq proved too big a bridge to cross.  2) Brown did not adopt this bridge discourse. ▪ But he was also not as warm towards the EU as was anticipated.  3) Brown did not really shift from Blair’s positions on the EU ▪ Did not push for euro entry  Adoption of the euro unlikely under Lib-Con.  Both favor a referendum before any power is shifted to Brussels.  Liberal Democrats pro EU; Tories more euroskeptic.

33  Conclusions: Britain after Blair  Readings: Dunleavy CH 16 and 17

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