September 11 and the ‘war on terror’
in The Blair identity
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Tony Blair's response to the September 11, 2001 attacks was one of unequivocal support for the United States, a framing of the situation in stark terms of good and evil, and elucidation of an ambitiously proactive foreign policy programme to prevent the re-occurrence of attacks of such magnitude. It was therefore quite consistent with the policy style rooted in Blair's personality traits that had crystallized during the Kosovo war. The period following September 11 saw the prime minister, with his foreign policy approach set, fully engaged on the world stage. He sought simultaneously to rally international support for the US whilst ensuring that the American response was a judicious one. The results did not, however, match his aims, and international support ebbed as concern over the scope and aggression of the US response mounted. Blair's basic strategy was in many ways a rational one of supporting the most powerful state in the system after it had been attacked, yet his instinct to be close to the US during this period sowed the seeds of the disastrous Iraq decisions.

The Blair identity

Leadership and foreign policy

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