Bye Bye, Tony Blair — Bye Bye, Special Relationship?

The man who proved to be — at least from America’s perspective — only the third great European leader of the last century (and, yes, the other two were Brits as well), Tony Blair, is almost out of office.

“British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Sunday handed over leadership of the Labor Party to his finance minister, Gordon Brown, who pledged that Britain would “meet our international obligations” in Afghanistan and the Middle East but called for going beyond military solutions to combating terrorism.

“Our foreign policy in years ahead will reflect the truth that to isolate and defeat terrorist extremism now involves more than military force — it is also a struggle of ideas and ideals that in the coming years will be waged and won for hearts and minds here at home and round the world,” Brown told cheering supporters gathered for a party conference.

In recent weeks, Brown repeatedly indicated that he stands behind Blair’s decision to support and help launch the invasion of Iraq in 2003 but has also said he believes that military and security efforts alone aren’t enough to fight militants.”

Will the “special relationship” between the US and Britain die once Blair leaves office? Probably not immediately, because Brown might be reluctant to shake things up too much right off the bat, but it’s entirely possible that the great friendship the United States and Britain have had from WW2 onward will not survive — and the United States, Britain, and the world will be a worse place for it, if it comes to that.

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