Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Going Forward

The breakfast meeting that Prescient Bush held with Mr Blair reads as if it were a holdover from the past, a final declaration of what had been achieved rather than looking forward to new endeavours. Whatever the 'special relationship' portends, if anything, it is possible that Britain's use as an active ally for the United States is ended under Bush's Second Presidency. As a reward for past endeavours and as a pragmatic response to the death of Arafat, Bush has provided some support for Blair's Middle Eastern Conference. Perhaps Blair also wished to downplay their friendship in the phoney war before the electoral declaration.

Moreover, behind the scenes, Blair was left in no doubt about the concerns of the United States if the EU embargo on China were lifted. Perhaps the words "Joint Strike Fighter" were mentioned, since our dependence on the United States for military equipment, leaves us extremely vulnerable if such links came rapidly to an end. To which, Europe is no substitute:

The prospect of a public dispute with Mr Bush is deeply embarrassing for Mr Blair. While No10 is happy to play up divisions over matters like climate change to emphasise the Prime Minister’s independence, a split over a crucial security issue is far from welcome.

Other than brief remarks congratulating Mr Bush on his commitment to Middle East peace, Mr Blair made no public comments in Brussels yesterday. That left the Prime Minister’s spokesman to confirm that Mr Bush had registered his displeasure over China. He added: "We are working to address their concerns."


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