Tuesday, January 07, 2003
I am a Counsellor to an American Prince - 7th January 2003, 20.04

The preparations for a possible war in Iraq moved forward today with Geoff Hoon's announcement in Parliament that 1,500 reservists would be called up and naval ships with a significant "amphibious capacity" would sail to Malaysia via the Gulf. A hospital ship is included.

This was choreographed with Tony Blair's speech to the conference of ambassadors, claiming that Britain was America's "closest ally" and that this position of support allowed us to engage in "constructive criticism" with the hyperpower.

Mr Blair said the price of British influence over the White House was not "that we have, obediently, to do whatever the US asks" and promised he would never commit British troops "to a war I thought was wrong or unnecessary".

He said: "We should remain the closest ally of the US, and as allies, influence them to continue broadening their agenda. We are the ally of the US not because they are powerful, but because we share their values."

He described anti-Americanism as "a foolish indulgence" and said even those countries critical of the US wished they had the same relationship with the White House as the UK

Is this not a foolish continuation of Harold MacMillan's fatuous identification of post-imperial Britain as Greece to America's Rome? Blair reveals his role as courtier with his emphasis on influencing the American agenda rather than constructing our own.


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