22 March 2005

The #1 neoconservative

If the term "Neoconservative" means anything, it refers to a centre-leftist who moves to embrace a more centre-right stance on economic policy, while retaining the desire to improve the world through foreign policy.

The appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank has attracted media attention to him, but to me, the politician who most perfectly exhibits neoconservatism is that ex-leftist Tony Blair.

He (more than his predecessor) is the man who took privatisation on from where Lady Thatcher left off (though in a Reagan/Bush way, without actually cutting government spending).

He is also the man who talked Clinton into attacking Yugoslavia in the name of human rights (and with an obvious byproduct of spreading Western politics at least into Slovenia and Croatia). For all we know, he is the man who talked George W Bush into attacking Iraq. Blair might not have needed to do much persuading, but if he had needed to, he would have given it his best shot.

And yet there are still those who seem to think that Britain is fighting this war "for America". They ask what Blair has got "in exchange for British troops in Iraq".

Tony Blair got a huge amount in exchange: he got American troops in Iraq.

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