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The Blair IdentityLeadership and Foreign Policy$
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Stephen Benedict Dyson

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079993

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079993.001.0001

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The Kosovo and Sierra Leone interventions

The Kosovo and Sierra Leone interventions

(p.47) 4 The Kosovo and Sierra Leone interventions
The Blair Identity

Stephen Benedict Dyson

Manchester University Press

Kosovo and Sierra Leone represent significant episodes in Blair's development as a foreign policy decision maker. His style of setting ambitious goals, proactively pursued, and based upon the stark framing of issues, led him in these episodes into exposed positions that constituted gambles over events he did not control. He committed British forces, backing his own judgment against that of others, and was successful. The successful resolution of the conflict strengthened Blair in the foreign policy style he had adopted, and represents also the highpoint of his ‘doctrine of the international community’. Blair learned additional lessons from Kosovo that would be extremely significant in future crises. United Nations support, he discovered, while having huge ability to legitimize foreign policy actions for the domestic British audience, could not be considered a prerequisite for taking action, and its imprimatur was not ultimately necessary in order to get things done. Blair would later note the irony that many who encouraged him to intervene in Kosovo on human rights grounds despite the absence of UN approval would subsequently condemn him for intervening in Iraq—a future occasion where explicit authorization could not be obtained.

Keywords:   Tony Blair, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, foreign policy, United Nations

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