The odd couple
Since the Second World War there has not been a political
relationship between Great Britain and the United States of America quite like
this one. Sitting on the brink of what some have labelled 'World war three -–
the war on global terrorism', are two world leaders whose personalities and
leadership styles are like chalk and cheese...perhaps not dissimilar to
Roosevelt and Churchill.
Prime Minister Tony Blair is America's favourite foreign
leader for a number of reasons as reported in the Sunday Star Times, 13 October
2002 "... Blair could go into the reasons for the new war in ways that Bush
couldn't outside of set speeches. Bush's occasional aloofness from public
debate meant his administration often lost the 24-hour news cycle spin. But the
constantly arguing Blair filled, and fills, the gaps...
Blair, with his acute antennae for public mood, probably saw
that war was inevitable and that this time, Americans were in no mood to
His second intuition was that with Bush, the most important
element is personal rapport and trust. He sensed that an intimate bond with Bush
would give the British Prime Minister more influence than any other world leader
in the post-September 11 world...
The prime minister has unequalled clout with the president
and also unusually large influence with other world leaders, with whom he is
playing a longer, subtler game. Few countries will have the same economic
leverage over a post-Saddam Iraq as Britain; none will have any say in military
or diplomatic strategy in coming months as Britain will. If the war is
successful, Britain will have a key role as adjunct to the hyperpower that will
be reorienting the balance of power in the Middle East...
For Bush... where Blair really comes in handy is in
persuading wobbly American elites -– especially liberal ones -– that the case
for war is not necessarily a conservative one...
Blair isn't just Bush's ambassador to the world -– he's
Bush's ambassador to America.
The American right is also impressed... Blair is praised as
one of the few leaders who "gets it", who sees why America feels differently
about external threats after September 11..."
So 'Bushes Poodle' may in fact be much more in control of
his own leash than the label suggests.
Meanwhile, the US/UK links just keep getting stronger as
researchers from US genealogy company MyFamily.com stumbled upon some
interesting genealogical information before collaborating with the Public
Records Office in London -– confirming the findings.
"Prince William and United States President George W Bush
are 17th cousins, genealogists say. The prince and the president can
trace a common ancestry back to 15th century Northamptonshire squire
His younger son William founded the line that produced World
War II British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill and Diana, Princess of
Wales, William's mother..." The Dominion Post, 19 September 2002.