Blair's Wars

In This Review

Blair's Wars

By John Kampfner
Simon & Schuster, 2003
384 pp. $34.95
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This is the story of how the leader of the United Kingdom's once-pacifist Labor Party fought five wars in six years: in Iraq in 1998, in Kosovo, in Sierra Leone, in Afghanistan, and again in Iraq last year. Kampfner, a journalist at the "New Statesman," relies on extensive interviews to construct an excellent inside account of Tony Blair's diplomacy with the world at large and within his own government and party. The ironies abound: the former leftist becoming a hawk; the politician once derided as all style taking great political risks because of his convictions; the hero to Americans being applauded in Congress for policies that were deeply unpopular back home. On the controversial question of whether Blair supported the war out of conviction or out of reflexive support for Washington, Kampfner's answer is "both." Blair's actions demonstrate a consistent willingness to use force to good end, but, as one cabinet minister told Kampfner, "Supporting the Americans is part of Tony's DNA."