War In The Balkans - Blair - The Leaders: Crusader who believed in `just war'
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Friday 04 June 1999
British cabinet ministers believe Mr Blair has come into his own during the Kosovo crisis, seeing his "just war" as a moral as well as military crusade. They see it as a foreign policy parallel to his belief in creating social justice at home, stemming from his Christian Socialist beliefs. At the same time, Mr Blair feels completely at home with Britain's armed service chiefs - unlike many of his Labour predecessors. He struck up a good relationship with the chiefs of staff while he was Opposition leader. "He sometimes gives the impression he would like to go on the bombing raids himself," quipped one minister.
For the past three months, Mr Blair has devoted most of his waking hours to Kosovo, to the surprise of Cabinet colleagues. At the same time, he had to juggle the fragile peace process in Northern Ireland and the already gruelling day-to-day grind of government.
At both home and abroad, Mr Blair can expect to reap a dividend from the peace settlement. He can argue that Nato's determination to stand firm produced a deal very much on its own terms and not those of President Milosevic. The agreement will enhance Mr Blair's reputation on the world stage, helping Britain to "punch above its weight" as the Foreign Office calls it.
Mr Blair will get the credit for stiffening Nato spines - including Bill Clinton's - when they threatened to "go wobbly". Mr Blair and Mr Clinton are back on good terms now, but there was a sticky patch when the US President told the Prime Minister to get a grip on aides he accused of highlighting Nato's differences by talking up the possible use of ground troops.
In the event, the 10-week air campaign worked without Nato troops going in.
- 1 Frank Lampard's face drops when Holly Willoughby introduces him as a 'Man City legend'
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 The Visit: Trailer for M Night Shyamalan's latest horror film is terrifying
- 5 9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Tories sack candidate who said she would never support 'the Jew' Ed Miliband
9/11: Iranian General accuses US of organising September 11 terror attacks
General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
Manny Pacquiao begs Indonesia president to spare life of drug smuggler Mary Jane Veloso about to be executed
Yazidi sex slaves undergoing surgery to 'restore virginity' after being raped by Isis militants
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
HSBC review into moving headquarters from UK 'underway'
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Photographer/ Floor planner /...
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - Guildford/Craw...
£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Customer Service Assistant is...
£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An ambitious and motivated Sale...