Chapter 7: Citizenship, Rights and Tony Blair’s Doctrine of International Community
1 Colin Tyler INTRODUCTION G.W.F. Hegel observed in 1821 that, ‘the declining nation . . . loses its autonomy, or it may still exist, or drag out its existence, as a particular state or a group of states and involve itself without rhyme or reason in manifold enterprises at home and battles abroad’ (Hegel, 1821, sec. 347R). Alex Callinicos (2001, p. 96, also chs 3 and 4) has made much the same point in a contemporary context: ‘Britain has waged a series of colonial wars since 1945. Carrying these on in the name of human rights may help give its rulers a sense that they continue to bestride the globe. Continuing also to act as Washington’s closest and most obedient ally . . . may strengthen this illusion. But an illusion it remains’. In May 2003, Tony Blair was even awarded a Congressional Gold Medal in recognition of the UK’s support of US-led action in Afghanistan and Iraq. Even though the bill’s sponsor claimed that ‘Tony Blair is a hero’, the Prime Minister did not collect the award, possibly out of fear of the potential domestic political damage doing so might cause (Hollingshead, 2006). With these thoughts in mind, this chapter analyses Tony Blair’s doctrine of the international community, which, for many years, has been the ideology oﬃcially underpinning much of New Labour’s foreign policy. In this way, it assesses the Blair government’s self-image as a civilising power in the world. The next section argues that the political dimensions of this ideal of international relations...
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