Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Poodles
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Tony Blair is a Joke
I more or less knew that British P.M. Tony Blair was visiting Washington this week, but I was still astonished when I saw the report in the European edition of The Wall Street Journal about what the President’s British poodle hopes to accomplish. Here is the headline I saw and some excerpts:
Blair Will Use U.S. Trip To Push Two Initiatives
British Leader to Press Bush On African-Poverty Relief,
By Marc Champion [June 3, 2005]
LONDON -- Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday heads for Washington in an effort to persuade U.S. President George W. Bush to back his effort to relieve poverty in Africa and cut global warming at the G-8 summit in Scotland next month…
In the next few months, Mr. Blair will hold the presidencies of both the Group of Eight -- the seven leading nations plus Russia -- and of the European Union, which has plunged into turmoil in the past week with rejections by voters in France and the Netherlands of a new constitution for the 25-nation bloc. Mr. Blair also has to make a decision whether to yank a planned referendum on the constitution that had been planned in Britain for next spring.
For Mr. Blair personally, there is also a lot at stake from this heightened profile. He won't stand for re-election, so he is crafting his legacy -- and trying to counter domestic criticism that his support for Mr. Bush on Iraq has yielded little for Britain in return. The White House so far has proved resistant to British requests for support on initiatives to reduce global warming and to offer the poorest nations some relief from their debt to the West.
British officials insist Mr. Blair never looks for "payback" over Iraq from the U.S. president and won't again next week. But their relationship provides sufficient ammunition to his critics -- who deride Mr. Blair as Mr. Bush's "poodle" -- that Mr. Blair once again won't pick up the Congressional Medal of Honor he was awarded two years ago but has yet to collect despite several visits since then.
Holy Smokes!! Blair expects he can persuade the President to (1) end his five year opposition of the dopey Kyoto Treaty, which would shut down the U.S. economy to thwart a global warming that is not caused by mankind, and (2) agree to sell off some of the gold stocks held by the International Monetary Fund in order to give the cash to the poor countries of Africa!! This is another dopey idea, inasmuch as the IMF gold is a monetary commodity and if the sales were to be accomplished, there is no telling what would happen to interest rates and exchange rates around the world. If the President were to do anything to help Africa, he should advise those poor countries to cut tax rates that are killing their economies and producing no revenue.
The best we can expect from the Poodle’s visit, though, would be a promise from the President to Tony Blair -- and a pat on his head -- to carefully consider his (ha ha) requests.
P.S. For those of you who do not realize how far Blair has gone in licking his master's boots, please read Mark Danner's masterful account in the June 9 NYReview of Books "The Secret Way to War: The Downing Street Memo" That's the memo recounting how President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq at least eight months before he pulled the trigger... and met with the Poodle in Washington to persuade him to go along with the ruse that he was trying to avoid war via diplomacy.