Tony Blair: Regrets, He's Got a Few, But Too Few to Mention


Blair: Can't Dismiss Cheney Worldview

In his book, which weighs a hefty 700 pages, Blair wrote about former Vice President Dick Cheney: "He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it -- Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. In other words, he thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes. We're coming after you, so change or be changed."

Amanpour asked him about his take on Cheney. Blair said the Vice President "was always absolutely hard-line on these things. ... His world view was that the world had to be remade after September the 11th," Blair told Amanpour.

"You can't dismiss that Cheney view and say that's stupid," he said. "It's not. It may require amendment, you may disagree with it but --"

"Is it possible?" Amanpour asked.

"It's possible over time with the right combination of hard and soft power, I think, to get to the point where nations that we regard or did regard as threats become allies," Blair continued. "But that is not always going to have a hard power solution it."


Some juicy excerpts from his book:

Blair on Bill Clinton's philandering: "I was…convinced that his behavior arose in part from his inordinate interest in and curiosity about people. In respect of men, it was expressed in friendship; in respect of women, there was potentially a sexual element."

Blair on Princess Diana: "[T]hough not, as I say, at all party political, she had a complete sense of what we were trying to achieve and why. I always used to say to Alastair [Campbell]: if she was ever in politics, even Clinton would have to watch out. She was also strong-willed, let us say, and was always going to her own way. I had the feeling she could fall out with you as easily as fall in with you. She knew the full range of the power of her presence and knew its ability to enthrall, and most often used it to do good; but there was also a wildness in her emotions that meant when anger or resentment were weaved together with that power, it could spell danger. I really liked her and, of course, was as big a sucker for a beautiful princess as the next man; but I was wary too."

Blair on the 2008 presidential election: "[I]t was John [McCain] who was articulating a foreign policy that could be called wildly idealistic, prepared to risk dissent and even conflict for the cause of freedom. Barack [Obama] was the supreme master of realism, cautioning an approach based on reaching out, arriving at compromises and striking deals to reduce tension."

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