Cameron and Blair share similar rhetoric over foreign policy

3 Feb 2013

Both have been Prime Minister, both know how hard the job can be. Speaking on The Andrew Marr Showthis morning, Tony Blair highlighted why he and David Cameron aren’t so different after all.

Despite the popularity that Mr Blair received when he first took office in 1997 following a landslide victory, by 2003 he had fallen from grace over his controversial decisions to invade Iraq and Afghanistan. Many quickly turned against the then prime minister following his radical foreign policy, feelings which still appear to be present today after looking at some of the tweets coming in on #marrshow.


Whether he was right or wrong to invade Afghanistan is a question all have their own view on, however, with the situation in Mali escalating rapidly, eyes are now closely focussed on Cameron who is determined to help support the French in their cause. Cameron recently stated in the Commons that we face a "generational struggle" on the war on terror, and indeed, some journalists recognised a similarity in his rhetoric which reflected Mr Blair's position on foreign policy before he intervened in Afghanistan.

Less than two weeks ago Cameron stated that UK troops sent to help the French in Mali would be in the "10s not 100s", however, by last week it had emerged that more than 300 ground troops will be deployed to Africa helping to train and assist France in their conflict with Al-Qaeda militants. Although the government has stressed that Britain does not intend to send combat forces, it does not necessarily mean that this view won't change in the future. 

On the question of Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague recently stated that a "stepped up" response from the government was now needed due to the instability and escalation of the conflict. This was echoed by Mr Blair this morning who said that engaging with the Syrian conflict was "a question for the West", though he stressed that there are other ways of intervening, aside from using military action.  Blair continued to say that the fight against Islamist terrorists is like the fight against "revolutionary Communism". Again, similar to the language recently used by Cameron on the West's on-going struggle against Al-Qaeda.

Responding to the recent Algerian hostage crisis, Cameron stated that Britain had to stand by her allies, especially Western Africa and France, and stressed that we would not be safer if we "stayed out". Britain is "open to the world" and "resolute" in fighting the war on terror, a message once again acknowledged by Mr Blair who said: 

"If you don't intervene and you just let it happen, it's also going to be long and messy and possibly a bit worse".

Given Cameron's support for the French cause in Mali and his warning of a "decade-long" war on terror, it seems that he, like Mr Blair, is not afraid of intervention and believes it is necessary for Britain to respond willingly to international circumstances. After Mr Blair revealed today that he talks to Cameron from time to time, one wonders if foreign policy has been their primary topic of discussion. 

By Emily Stacey

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