Posted by: Sarah | June 5, 2007

What I’ve Learned….

An interesting article in which Tony Blair outlines lessons he has learned during his decade as the prime minister of the UK:

TEN years ago, if you had told me I would spend a significant part of my premiership on foreign policy, I would have been surprised, a little shocked and probably, politically, somewhat alarmed. Even today, we all run for office concentrating on domestic issues. “Foreign” policy rarely wins votes, and can easily lose them. Yet nowadays the reality is increasingly that we are obliged as leaders to think, work and act internationally.

Over ten years I have watched this grow. (If you had told me a decade ago that I would be tackling terrorism, I would have readily understood, but thought you meant Irish Republican terrorism.) The line between “foreign” and “domestic” policy is being blurred. Climate change is a big issue in developed nations’ politics today. It can be beaten only by global action. What happens today in Pakistan matters on the streets of Britain. Mass migration can only partially be managed by individual nations’ internal policies. Economies are shaped by forces of globalisation.

On top of this, the world order is changing. The political power of China is emerging as its economic power grows. India will be formidable. Japan is putting its past behind it. Russia is becoming more assertive by the day.

In this age, foreign policy is not an interesting distraction from the hard slog of domestic reform. It is the element that describes a nation’s face to the world at large, forms the perceptions of others to it and, in part, its perception of itself.

We all talk of interdependence being the defining characteristic of the modern world. But often we fail to see the fundamental implications of such a statement. It means we have a clear self-interest as a nation in what happens the world over. And because mass media and communication convey powerful images in an instant across the globe, it dictates that struggles are fought as much through propaganda, ideas and values as through conventional means, military or diplomatic.

Read the rest of the article. He offers interesting insight on the current role of foreign policy in domestic politics today, globalization, current conflicts, the increasing necessity to have a global perspective, and the future of trans-Atlantic relations….

There is talk of Britain having a new strategic relationship with China and India bypassing our traditional European and American links. Get real. Of course we will have our own relationship with both countries. But we are infinitely more influential with them if we have two strong alliances behind us.

I like that Tony Blair uses the phrase “Get Real” in The Economist.

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Responses

  1. well Sarah, I’m glad that you work so hard and are so fabulous!


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