Friday, September 10, 2010

Tony Blair: Not a Poodle, But a Bulldog

Strange — but all too typical — the double standards involved in The Poodle Speaks, Maureen Dowd's review of Tony Blair's autobiography (Sept. 4).
The International Herald Tribune published the reply (parts of which are based on a post I wrote not long after the Iraq War started, entitled Poodles and Other American "Vassals") that I wrote to the paper concerning Maureen Dowd's New York Times article on Tony Blair.
Why is it that the allies of Washington must always be mocked and demonized for their siding with the United States — a republic and a democracy — while the abettors (conscious or otherwise) of America's enemies, or its adversaries — such as Saddam Hussein, the psychopathic overlord of a horrific dictatorship — must not only escape such stigma but must be rewarded with eulogizing descriptions of their "heroic" opposition?

Offhand, I have no problem with "Phony Tony," or with Britain itself, being called "W.'s peripheral poodle." But why is it that Belgium and Luxembourg, which modeled their opposition to the Iraq War on the policies of France, were not called the poodles of Jacques Chirac? Indeed, why weren't Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Russia, and China called the poodles of Saddam, the Butcher of Baghdad?

It's easy to demonize someone like Tony "Bliar" when one has a fairy tale view of the conflict that transformed Saddam's Iraq into a harmless country barely more dangerous than the (aforementioned) Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

Whenever I hear the nonsense about London being the poodle of the American democracy, I think back to the early days of World War II: when most of Europe was, willingly or not (admittedly, a very important distinction), sucking up to the Nazi dictatorship, the British bulldog was virtually alone in its resistance to becoming the poodle of another psychopath — Adolf Hitler.

British grit is a tradition that Tony Blair has, to his everlasting credit, carried on.