April 03, 2003

Blair Profile Good WaPo analysis

Blair Profile

Good WaPo analysis of Blair:

Money grafs:

"Blair has emerged as a unique figure on the world stage, an unusual blend of warrior and internationalist. His hawkish credentials are unassailable -- since becoming prime minister in 1997, he has dispatched British troops to Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Afghanistan and now Iraq. Yet he has always done so in the name of repairing and strengthening international order and institutions.

This has made him a lonely figure, both at home and abroad. He is too hawkish for doves, yet too soft for hard-liners. "For the Europeans, the emphasis is on the soft side -- on nation-building and development aid and the enforcement of international law -- but they shy away from the military side," said James P. Rubin, an assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration who teaches and works as a consultant in London. "Those on the Bush side tend to stress the military realities but get weak in the knees when it comes to concepts like nation-building. Blair's the only one who's willing to do both. He's out there somewhat by himself."

The roots of Blair's beliefs go back at least to his days at Oxford University in the early 1970s, according to John Rentoul, author of a Blair biography. It was there he was introduced to the writings of John MacMurray, a Scottish philosopher who championed the concept of community as the ultimate expression of human relationships.

Blair put it this way in a 1993 speech: "We do not lose our identity in our relations with others; in part, at least, we achieve our identity by those relations."

Blair, trained as a lawyer, combines this sense of community with a strong belief in the power and justice of the law. And he is a deeply religious person, having taken confirmation in the Anglican Church at the end of his sophomore year at Oxford. He remains a regular churchgoer in a society that has largely turned away from formal religion.

But unlike Bush, Blair holds Christian beliefs from the socially liberal wing of the church. He was comfortable, for example, appointing Rowan Williams, a self-described "hairy lefty," as the new archbishop of Canterbury, even though he knew Williams might take a strong public stand against military action in Iraq, which he has."

Posted by Gregory at April 3, 2003 09:51 AM
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