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Blair’s legacy is secure

Re “To the last, Blair defends Iraq war,” May 11

British Prime Minister Tony Blair encompassed all the traits of a noble Englishman. He has led Britain for a remarkable 10 years and breathed new life into the Labor Party. The socioeconomic progression through Blair’s stewardship has been impressive; however, the decision to support the United States and not let democracy stand alone against global terror after 9/11 will serve his legacy well, and in my mind allow history to judge him in the same light as some of Britain’s other great leaders. A statesman, a moralist, an impassioned political leader -- Blair’s service will be looked upon with great respect and admiration.

DANIEL KOWBELL

Toronto

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Re “Balancing Blair’s debits and credits,” Opinion, May 10

In his otherwise judicious Op-Ed, Timothy Garton Ash excoriates Blair for supporting the U.S. in its invasion of Iraq. Ash fails, however, to show that either Britain or the world would have been better off had Blair joined the European Union in its opposition to the war. He would not have prevented the U.S. from carrying out its policy, and it is hard to see how the world would have been better off had the U.S. been that much more isolated.

STEVEN R. GERBER

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New York

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Ash is a lucid European thinker who understands the continent’s history. The 1956 Suez fiasco led to the unconditional alignment of Britain’s foreign policy with America’s. Unfortunately, the relationship has been terribly asymmetrical, with Washington controlling the show.

Ideally, the Iraq fiasco should persuade future British governments to play the EU card. But first the EU must create a Foreign Office with real powers.

The French need to renounce lingering illusions of being a great power and pass all foreign policy initiatives through the EU filter. Others must accept that Europe has legitimate ambitions outside the Atlantic Alliance. A common EU foreign policy voice in 2003 expressing doubts about U.S. unilateralism could have avoided the Iraq war.

FRANCOIS FRIEDMANN

Manhattan Beach

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