Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff at PostGlobal

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. He overseas the fund's policy programs. He was previously the Washington bureau chief of the German newsweekly, Die Zeit. Close.

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff

Germany

Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff is a Senior Director at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a transatlantic public policy and grant-making foundation. more »

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Mixed Up in the Wrong Crowd

The West is about to lose the only formidable leader in the cohort of the past age. Tony Blair’s tragedy is that he has been surrounded by Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder and George Bush -- the most disappointing team of Western leaders since World War II.

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All Comments (29)

not bill clinton:

Sorry Liam the Eur-o-pee-on time to give you a few facts:

1) Poorly Educated- The United States per capita has more people with college degrees than Europe

2) About 10% of the population is "Born-Again" christians, and about 50% maybe less are of Eur-o-pee-on decent.\

3) Eur-o-pee-ons seem to enjoy spitting on American tourists, harrassing elderly tourist and cursing at americans ( women and children in most cases, becuase your are all cowards). Liam my guess is that if Los Angeles, Boston, NY or Miami were to get hit with a dirty bomb, killing thousands, you are your Eur-O-Pee-on's will be dancing in the streets. I hope you do, for then the american public will see your true feelings and DEMAND THAT OUR MILITARY DESTROY EUROPE.

So Strut Around Euro- make sure you hawk one on a six your old girl- Cowards.............

Liam:

'Frankly my European/German leftist author, most Americans really do not care what Europeans think of them. Europeans like to attribute this to arrogance. It may be. I however find most Americans to be well aware of where most of the world's wars started. Therefore, the whining of a leftist leaning continent, about war and peace, falls on deaf ears in the US. We are superior to Europe militarily, economically, and culturally. Why would an American think a European could offer advice on any subject? Rather than trying to change America, Europe should try to emulate it. We are dominate in every way, maybe you should start taking advice from us'

My word! What a load ill-informed, blinkered nationalistic rubbish! The idea that the USA, an unjust, poorly educated society of obese racists, homophobes and christian fundamentalists all armed to the teeth with handguns (and not afraid to use them on eachother!), being 'culturally superior' to Europe makes me laugh so much! And how dare suggest that America is any more a peaceful state than Britain, France or Germany?

Get rid of the death penalty, get rid of all your weapons and stop illegally attacking 3rd world countries and your might have a shred of credibility in the world.

Dont forget 90% of you are European descendants anyway!

Anonymous:

Bush is a leper.

Tarik:

War in Iraq: on every one's mind.
Blair didn't mention "Iraq" even once in his speech.
I am sure he would have mentioned it 89 times if it were a success.

I feel for the millions who died and suffered in Iraq.
American sacrifice is small but not insignificant.

For those who suffered all this is not worth it.
But some are trying hard to fool others.

Sniperr:

It would seem that this is where the 28% is hanging out

R M Gopal:

"...nothing can hurt Britain’s position in the world more than taking action without the United States at her side -- not even loosing a war, as long as it is lost alongside the Americans."

"Not only did Bush deny Blair any benefit from his steadfastness as an ally, he also denied Blair his desired role as a peacemaker in Palestine. Bush did not sign on to any element of Blair’s global agenda."

Huh?

Man, talk of muddled punditry.

Jack:

Maria, tell me you are kidding or you were born yesterday.

Jim:

I'll give Blair high marks for loyalty, but had he told Bush no, maybe we wouldn't be where we are today. I kind of doubt it, when you think your King you don't have to take advice.
The arrogance of some of the post here are amazing. Not hard to understand how the world is not as impressed with us as we are.

Betty:

Dont be more Jealous europeans, (Germans and French). you believe in words and we believe in action. we remember you well, how you had called us to build europe after World War II, without us, you could not have achieved it. and to Germans i have special message, "" You are the winers and we are the losers, because you already won 2 times, in 1918 and 1945"" good luck for the final game in "best of 3".
God Bless America

pol-analyst:

Cynic,

It amazes me that you automatically characterize those of us who defend PM Blair or Pres. Bush as "right-wing." I don't if yo and others who do that are so blinded by your hatred of these two leaders that anyone who defends them the least bit are considered "right-wing." PM Blair is from the LABOUR party, so I doubt he's "right-wing." President Bush has lost 15% of his approval since re-election because he's alienated the conservative base by supporting a guest-worker program for illegal aliens who've settled here and worked honourably-that's not exactly "right-wing." As a matter of fact, a true conservative or a "right-winger" as you call it believes simply in defending his or her nation's interest and not engaging in nation-building. If Pres. Bush was of that cloth, his job would have been done after Saddam was deposed 4 years ago and they would have transitioned over authority in 6 months. But because he had the "bleeding-heart" if you will, he could not consciously abandon the Iraqui people who he felt would be butchered in the aftermath. I agree w/you that there's an awful lot of homework taht was not done properly-none of us so-called "right-wingers" enjoy seeing 3000 soldiers dead, but the purpose and vision was a moral one. Both the President and PM Blair are moral men and value long-term duty over short-term popularity.

Cynic:

Anonymous, what are you on because I need some. Do you seriously think that we can now bring peace to the region? Wake up and smell the coffee.

Boston. Both of you misunderstand the main point I was making. In both Vietnam and Iraq, the US went in believing it could impose US cultural and moral values on totally different societies. In Iraq the society is riddled with corruption and religious and ethnic tensions. People there do not react in logical predictable ways as in the West. Baghdad is not Chicago or London and it's not even similar to Saigon or Cairo, everywhere is different. Most US foreign policy failure has been brought about by an unwillingness by the US to actually do the homework and understand dare I say it the nuanced detail.

Atheist, Boston, USA:

Tony Blair will be remembered primarily for failing to strengthen Western values in the United Kingdom (UK) and abroad. He declined to demand that the Islamic bigots (living in the UK) assimilate. He further insisted that the European Union (EU) admit Turkey as a member. He wrongly believes that Islamic values are equal in worth to Western values.

By contrast, Nicolas Sarkozy opposes admitting Turkey into the EU. Furthermore, he insists that all Islamic bigots (living in France) assimilate into Western society.

Fredo:

This conservative American is, frankly, in awe of Mr. Blair's accomplishements. If only we could have a leader capable of taking on political opponents and winning arguments on the merits. I'll be rooting for the Tories in the future, but I can't stop myself from thanking Tony Blair for his allegiance to the British-American alliance and his willingness to stand firm on Iraq. Thank you Tony Blair and thank you to the U.K.!

Boston:


Mr Kleine-Brockhoff,
Good article - thank you.


Mr Cynic: Your comment "Anyone with ANY understanding of Iraq and the Arab mentality could forsee the bloodbath" reminds me of people with little mathematical talent stating that a mathematical fact is false because not yet proven.

Francine Last:

I think Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff has made an excellent analysis of Blair and I totally agree that had Blair been dealing with a president like Al Gore, the planet would be in an infinitely better shape than it is now. I real tragedy. The best thing Blair can do now to compensate for having taken Britain to war on a false pretext, is to tell all and expose Bush for the liar and dirty cheat that he is.

John Wagner:

Burn in hell Tony Blair. Bow wow, that's the sound of Blair-poodle, Bush's lap dog.

Erlyn Baack:

You say "Tony Blair’s tragedy is that he has been surrounded by Jacques Chirac, Gerhard Schröder and George Bush -- the most disappointing team of Western leaders since World War II."

That is not a crime. Being unable to stand on his own two feet IS. That is Tony blair's tragedy.

Good riddance!

Doug Rogers:

Nice glasses!

Rank Stollum:

Nice glasses!

Anonymous:

Cynic, it is not, nor ever has been about merely "extracting ourselves from Iraq". It is a question of victory and an enduring plan to assist in stabilizing the region. Just because it is has proven difficult, does not make it wrong or that an apology is needed. The only needed apology is from those who changed their minds when the going got tough.

Mark:

Frankly my European/German leftist author, most Americans really do not care what Europeans think of them. Europeans like to attribute this to arrogance. It may be. I however find most Americans to be well aware of where most of the world's wars started. Therefore, the whining of a leftist leaning continent, about war and peace, falls on deaf ears in the US. We are superior to Europe militarily, economically, and culturally. Why would an American think a European could offer advice on any subject? Rather than trying to change America, Europe should try to emulate it. We are dominate in every way, maybe you should start taking advice from us.

Yes, we will bow to the fruits of American Hyperpower which has given the US on the home front: 5 million more people in poverty, a city wrecked, a country divided on religious nonsense, a war without end, its heritage of the rule of law trashed, 45 million people without any insurance, a President who's intelligence seems to be welcome in Crawford, TX, yet not here - the real world. So yes, let's all emulate the United States and leave lots of our people in poverty, let us all abandon our cities while they crumble - New Orleans, Detroit - let us all have three jobs to make ends meet. And let us all bomb countries because we can. And let God bless us all.

Cynic:

An interesting analysis but simplistic. Blair is an intelligent man but governed on the basis of 'we know best so just do as we say'. The country is littered with the wreckage from Tony's grand ideas especially around privatisation of parts of the NHS. In practice New Labour were every bit as arrogant as Thatcherism. I agree with the general analysis about the other leaders but I and most sane people in the UK are still puzzled as to how and why Tony thought that any good could come of the Iraq adventure. Anyone with ANY understanding of Iraq and the Arab mentality could forsee the bloodbath. I suspect that history will view Tony as the man with good intentions paving the Road to Hell. I note several deprecatory comments from people who seem extremely right wing. Just what does it take for you to ever admit a mistake or say sorry? Saddam was corrupt and evil but does anybody have a credible way now of extracting ourselves from Iraq which won't leave things worse?

Maria:

Frankly my European/German leftist author, most Americans really do not care what Europeans think of them. Europeans like to attribute this to arrogance. It may be. I however find most Americans to be well aware of where most of the world's wars started. Therefore, the whining of a leftist leaning continent, about war and peace, falls on deaf ears in the US. We are superior to Europe militarily, economically, and culturally. Why would an American think a European could offer advice on any subject? Rather than trying to change America, Europe should try to emulate it. We are dominate in every way, maybe you should start taking advice from us.

Carlton:

History will judge Blair in the same positive light waiting on Bush. The radical left wing press in the US and especially Brittain may be ready to declare the Iraq War "lost". History will rightly declare the war won when the murderous dictator and UN exploiter was removed from power. Any failings and death occurring after the removal of Saddam will be blamed on the actual culprit...militant Islam. Liberals want to put the blame anywhere, especially on an American president, as long as they can deny militant Islam is the true danger to this world. Bill Clinton avoided terrorism for 8 years, allowing 9/11 to happen. Don't blame Bush for terrorism just because he didn't do as many liberals want and Bill Clinton did, which is ignore it. America hasn't been attacked at home in the 6 years since 9/11. We can thank true patriots like George Bush and Tony Blair for ignoring the whining masses and finally taking the free world on the offence against terrorists and those that support them.

pol-analyst-phila:

President Bush got the last laugh! In 2004, Schroeder and Chirac were already talking to people representing John Kerry assuming that he'd be elected and that Pres. Bush was finished. In 3 quick years, President Bush comes back with a convincing re-election while the other 2 were suddenly rejected by their voters. President Bush will be judged more favorably in the 20 years following his Presidency for being the leader who on September 12th 2001 made the necessary changes to American foreign policy to be more aggressive against fundamentalist terrorism. He started the domino-effect, which will lead to success in future administrations. But PM Blair will be judged even greater b/c he took the unpopular stance against even more adversity and in some ways was even more aggressive than Pres. Bush in recognizing the moment in history that we're in.

Phil Miller:

Mr. Brockhoff:

Your comments are astute. Blair got caught in a bad draft for world leaders and didn't have enough game to bring them up to a higher standard. Instead, they brought him down. Of course, Blair could not have imagined the incompetence of the Bush team in the run up to Iraq II. I'm sure he felt it would be just like Iraq I -- U.S. military power trimphant and the anti-war crowd looking like girly men. Tons of political capital to spend, a shining legacy and years left to carve out a career as a world leader emeritus. He's not a dim bulb like Dubya, but he still fell into the sand trap with his eyes wide open. Still, he did a really good job in that movie, "The Queen."

PM

Patience:

History will judge the fight for post-Saddam Iraq for what it truly is...a tough fight under expremely tough circumstances. And when compared to other wars, well planned, well organized, and well executed; normal political and military shortcomings not withstanding. It is NOT a disaster any more than was Iwo Jima or the Normany landing. Prime Minister Blair deserves the respect and appreciation of all freedom loving people for his courage in standing shoulder to shoulder with the Americans. I only hope the next leader(s) of Britain and America are as capable, as the conflict with radical Islam moves beyond Iraq.

Mark:

Less of Tony Blair's legacy will be measured internationally - depending on how steadily Gordon Brown steers the Ship of State during the takeover, his departure will scarcely be noticed beyond the news cycle. No, where Tony will be remembered will be at home; every time citizens bump up against the totalitarian modifications he engineered into their daily lives. Britons were much less docile than Americans about government trampling on their civil liberties, as witnessed by the steady and firm resistance to the proposed introdution of National ID Cards, for example. As a consequence of Blair's rule, and specifically his linking up with America in the War on Terror, Britain is unquestionably less free, with no corresponding trade-off in prosperity or security. Tony Blair was considerably smarter than his cataclysmically dozey American cousin, but he was no less rotten for that.

JRLR:

"The West is about to lose the only formidable leader in the cohort of the past age.... Yes, there is Iraq. But... staying inside the tent appears sensible even in retrospect... most importantly, Blair came into office with a group of sub-par Western leaders... Tragic Tony was the right man in the wrong environment."

If, in order to be a "formidable leader", one needed be offered the right horse early in life... the world would never have known Alexander the Great, dead before the age of 33! But of course, the man could read the "Iliad", and he is not remembered for "staying inside the tent"...

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