Blair's Foreign Policy 1997 - 2007

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  • Blair's Foreign Policy 1997-2007
    • The Era of Liberal Intervention
      • the rhetoric: Blair came to power in 1997 promising an 'ethical foreign policy'
        • e.g. no British arms sales to govts. with poor human rights records
          • Robin Cook was foreign secretary
      • the reality: Britin in 2007 was the 4th largest arms exporter
        • UK sells arms to Saudi Arabia, Libya, Bahrain etc.
        • Blair involved the UK in 5 conflicts
    • War in former Yugoslavia 1992-1999
      • spanning the 1990s (Major/Blair) the former Yugoslavia broke up in a bloody ethnic civil war
      • the EU & NATO were passive as massacres of civilians took place in Bosnia carried out by neighbouring Serbs
        • Serbs forces executed 7,000 Bosnian men & boys in the town of Srebrenica 1995
      • as PM from 1997, Blair believed it was the duty of countries like the UK to intervene to stop such atrocities in the future
    • 1999 War in Kosovo
      • when war broke out in Kosovo in 1999  Blair wanted NATO to act more forcefully to stop genocide
      • he believed in 'liberal interventionism'
        • using military force to act for good in the world
      • he pressured the US President Clinton to send US forces
      • Clinton would only agree to use NATO forces to bomb Serbia
        • not send in US ground forces
    • Iraq 1998 - 2003
      • since the end of the Gulf War in 1991 Iraq was under UN sanctions
      • it was forced to allow UN weapons inspectors into the country to check on its weapons programmes
      • when Iraq was accused of non-compliance US & British planes bombed Iraq Dec 1998
    • 9/11
      • in the wake of 9/11 Blair gave strong British support for President Bush's 'war on terror'
      • British forces sent to Afghanistan in 2001 to defeat Al Qaeda & the Taliban
      • April 2002 meeting at Crawford, Texas
        • Bush told Blair that USA would invade Iraq. Blair gave British support for that action
    • Iraq Legacy
      • Blair is now widely perceived as having misled the country about the real reasons for the Iraq war
      • the political debate is still on-going
      • Blair's critics claimed he knew Bush was going to invade Iraq
        • he agreed with Bush's aim of regime change & was simply using UN resolutions as a way of bringing Europe round
      • his defenders argue he was genuinely convinced about the dangers of WMD & that he was correct in the analysis of the need to prevent the US becoming isolationist
    • Terrorism
      • 7th July 2005
        • 4 British muslims carried out suicide attacks on the London Underground& a bus
        • 52 were killed in the worst ever terrorist attack on UK
      • 21st July 2005
        • failed follow up attacks

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