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Blair's Foreign-Policy Aims Stymied By White House Snubs

Tony Blair (left) listens as Bush speaks at a press conference in Washington earlier this month (epa) December 19, 2006 -- A study says British Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign-policy ambitions have stalled because he is unable to exert real influence on the White House -- despite offering the U.S. unflinching support.

Victor Bulmer-Thomas, outgoing director of London's Chatham House think tank, says in a study released today that Blair overestimated his political capital in Washington.

The study says "the root failure" of Blair's foreign policy has been its inability to influence the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush, in spite of Britain's sacrifices in the military, political, and financial spheres.

The report also said "Blair has learnt the hard way that loyalty in international politics counts for very little."

The report said Blair's term in office will be defined by the "terrible mistake" of relying on flawed intelligence about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as a justification for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.


The International Coalition In Iraq

The International Coalition In Iraq
Georgian soldiers marking Georgian Independence Day in Baghdad on June 6 (epa)

COALITION MEMBERS: In addition to the United States, 28 countries are Multi-National Force-Iraq (MNF-I) contributors as of May 31, 2006: Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, South Korea, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. Fiji is participating as part of the UN mission in Iraq. Hungary, Iceland, Slovenia, and Turkey are NATO countries supporting Iraqi stability operations but are not part of MNF-I.

NON-U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL IN IRAQ: United Kingdom, 8,000 as of May 26, 2006; South Korea, 3,237 as of May 9, 2006; Italy, 2,900 as of April 27, 2006; Poland, 900 as of May 30, 2006; Australia, 900 as of March 28, 2006; Georgia, 900 as of March 24, 2006; Romania, 860 as of April 27, 2006; Japan, 600 as of May 30, 2006; Denmark, 530 as of May 23, 2006; All others, 1,140.

(Source: The Washington-based Brooking Institution’s Iraq Index of June 15, 2006)

THE COMPLETE STORY: RFE/RL's complete coverage of events in Iraq and that country's ongoing transition.

RADIO FREE IRAQ: To visit the Arab-language website of RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq, click here.