Tony Blair: The Cassandra of the Middle East

The former U.K. prime minister seems cursed to a life of being a foreign policy punch line. It's too bad — because he's right about ISIS.

(Image credit: (Brooks Kraft/Corbis))

According to legend, Troy fell in part because it did not heed the warnings of Cassandra. The daughter of King Priam, the myth goes, had been blessed by Apollo with the gift of prophecy — and then cursed by him after she rejected his advances. Her fate: No one would ever believe her prophecies again. Cassandra is sometimes credited with offering the unheeded advice, "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts," after trying to stop Troy from bringing in the large wooden horse that Agamemnon used as a trap to sack the city. And from this legend we get the Cassandra Syndrome, where prophets who issue accurate warnings of doom get ignored due to some fatal flaw in their credibility.

And that brings us to Tony Blair. Blair started off his run as prime minister of the U.K. as a modernizing figure, but spent the last half of his term defining himself as a wartime leader partnered with George W. Bush in Iraq. Unlike Bush, who has remained silent on national-security issues since his retirement, Blair continues to defend the U.S.-U.K. partnership on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the need for a forward strategy against Islamist terror. Needless to say, the Iraq misadventure has long frustrated his former Labour base in the U.K., and poked big holes in Blair's credibility on Middle East policy.

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Edward Morrissey

Edward Morrissey has been writing about politics since 2003 in his blog, Captain's Quarters, and now writes for His columns have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Post, The New York Sun, the Washington Times, and other newspapers. Morrissey has a daily Internet talk show on politics and culture at Hot Air. Since 2004, Morrissey has had a weekend talk radio show in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area and often fills in as a guest on Salem Radio Network's nationally-syndicated shows. He lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota with his wife, son and daughter-in-law, and his two granddaughters. Morrissey's new book, GOING RED, will be published by Crown Forum on April 5, 2016.