ABC's Christiane Amanpour spent "a couple of hours" with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to talk about politics and friendships, the essential content of his recently released memoir, "A Journey."
"His book is a personal reflection of the many relationships he had with presidents, prime ministers and even princesses, like Diana," said Amanpour in an excerpt of the interview featured on "Good Morning America" yesterday.
On GMA, Amanpour explained that Blair "sees the key to breaking the impasse in the Middle East: 'No one has ever gripped it long enough or firmly enough. The gripping is intermittent and intermittent won't do'."
In his memoir, Blair writes about George W. Bush:
"George had immense simplicity in how he saw the world. Right or wrong, it led to decisive leadership."
And on the war, he writes:
"On the basis of what we do know now, I still believe that leaving Saddam in power was a bigger risk to our security than removing him and that, terrible though the aftermath was, the reality of Saddam and his sons in charge of Iraq would at least arguably be much worse. ... I am unable to satisfy the desire even of some of my supporters, who would like me to say: it was a mistake but one made in good faith. Friends opposed to the war think I'm being obstinate; others, less friendly, think I'm delusional. To both I may say: keep an open mind."
About Blair's book, in his 3.5 star review in The Los Angeles Times, Tim Rutten writes:
"As a book, it's unusual because he wrote it himself, which makes this volume unique among the English-speaking world's recent political autobiographies. It also gives "A Journey" a disarming frankness that a professional collaborator almost certainly would have manicured away, along with anecdotes that are unintentionally self-revealing."
Concerning the book's treatment of the Iraq war, Rutter writes:
"Given the donation of this memoir's royalties to Britain's Iraq war casualties, a great deal of attention is likely to focus on Blair's second thoughts concerning those conflicts. To put it concisely, he doesn't have any. 'I have often reflected as to whether I was wrong,' he writes. 'I ask you to reflect as to whether I may have been right'."
According to USA Today, despite praising many aspects of George W. Bush's personality and leadership, Blair ultimately writes:
"'It was more difficult, frankly,' to warm to Bush, said Blair, former leader of the liberal Labor Party. Clinton, he said, was his 'political soul mate'."
On the market for only two days, Blair's "A Journey" has become an instant bestseller.
Interested in all the hype? Find out what Blair has to say about the Iraq war, leadership and political friendships.