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Marcus: The Blair Legacy

Interviewee: Jonathan Marcus
Interviewer: Michael Moran
May 1, 2007

BBC Diplomatic Correspondent Jonathan Marcus discusses the foreign policy legacy of British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair became the youngest prime minister in his country's history when he won election in 1997 at the age of forty-three. His decision to take Britain into the Iraq War in 2003 has overshadowed his reputation, but as Marcus notes, his longterm legacy is likely to be more complicated than that. Blair’s influence helped push NATO to take up causes like Bosnia, Kosovo, and more radically, Afghanistan, which would have been unthinkable in the early 1990s. He pushed climate change initiatives against Washington’s wishes, and challenged the developed world to do far more battling disease and poverty. A separate, independent look at his foreign policy legacy by the British think tank Chatham House gives him high marks in many areas, but concludes the Iraq war decision overwhelms the positive. The report singles out “the inability to influence the Bush administration in any significant way despite the sacrifice—military, political and financial—that the United Kingdom has made.”

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