'This Week' Transcript: Tony Blair


Why would they - no. It's a perfectly sensible argument, you hear? And who knows they may be right. All I know is, if I was a decision maker, I wouldn't take the risk.

AMANPOUR: So, what would you do?

BLAIR: I would tell them they can't have it, and if necessary, they will be confronted with stronger sanctions and diplomacy. But if that fails, I'm not taking any option off the table.

AMANPOUR: So, you see a military possibility against Iran?

BLAIR: I don't want to see it --

AMANPOUR: But you're saying it has to happen.

BLAIR: I - I don't want to see it, but I'm saying I think you cannot exclude it because the primary - the primary objective has got to be to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon.

AMANPOUR: Talking the way you're talking reminds me of this passage in your book in the lead up to the Iraq war.

You talk about Vice President Cheney at the time, quote, "He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it, Hezbollah, Hamas, et cetera. In other words, he thought the world had to be made anew and that after September 11th it had to be done by force and urgency." So, would he have gone through all that lot?

BLAIR: He didn't say that in those meetings but you know Dick was always absolutely hard-line on these things. I think he would openly avow this. His world view was that the world had to be remade after September the 11th. But you can't dismiss that Cheney view and say that's stupid. It's not. It may require amendment, you may disagree with it but --

AMANPOUR: Is it possible?

BLAIR: well... 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. But that is not always going to have a hard power solution it.

AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about your relationship with President Bush, many people thought that you wouldn't get on, precisely because of the difference of your politics.

BLAIR: We continue, obviously, to disagree on certain aspects of politics, like climate change or even the Middle East peace process from time to time. And I'm a Democrat, not a Republican. But on the central question after September 11th, of security, we were in agreement.

AMANPOUR: You say: "George W. Bush was very smart. He had an immense simplicity in how he saw the world. Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership."

BLAIR: Yes, it -- it did. And I -- I think, you know, it's easy to mock that simplicity. And it's easy to ignore the strength that sometimes comes with that. And a decision like the surge in Iraq, you know, I can't think of many people who would have had the courage to take that decision in the way that he did.

AMANPOUR: Let's move on to Bill Clinton. You describe President Bill Clinton as your political soul mate. Why is that?

BLAIR: I think he was one of the first people really to understand, to articulate how progressive politics couldn't be a rainbow collation, that you had to stand up and be connected with people, not activists, simply.

AMANPOUR: And you say he was one of the smartest political minds you ever came across?

BLAIR: Oh, he's phenomenally smart. I think the smartest politician I ever came across, yes, I would say, Bill Clinton, yes.

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