James Forsyth

Blair: Obama will face a hard power moment in the Middle East at some point

Blair: Obama will face a hard power moment in the Middle East at some point
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Tony Blair is back in the news with the whole debate over the Iraq inquiry so I was intrigued to watch this interview of Blair by Graydon Carter, the notoriously anti-war, anti-Bush editor of Vanity Fair. It took place on Tuesday and what is striking about it is just how much more comfortable in his own skin than Brown, Blair is. Historians will puzzle over why the Labour party was so keen to jettison this triple election-winner and replace him with Brown. (Oddly, when Blair is asked what the best moment he spent with Brown was, he refuses to answer on the grounds he doesn’t want to be unhelpful).

On a more substantive level, what intrigued me about the interview was Blair’s line about Obama and the Middle East. After praising Obama’s use of soft power, Blair said, “There will come a point further down the road when the hard power issues will also be there.” Annoyingly, Carter did not press Blair on what he meant by this statement. But one assumes that Blair is referring to the question of what to do about Iran’s nuclear programme.

PS Do look out for tomorrow’s magazine for a fascinating revelation about just how crucial Blair’s concerns over the Iraq inquiry have been to the flow of British politics in recent weeks.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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