It is received wisdom for many that Tony Blair’s desire to make Britain a bridge between America and Europe, and to support the United States in the war on terror, meant Britain was walked over. This was most commonly expressed as the idea of Blair as President Bush’s ‘poodle’, who did as he was told and got nothing in return. In reality, Blair requested and received much.
The Blair doctrine
Perhaps the most telling argument against the notion that Blair has been an American poodle is that one of the best guides to the foreign policy followed by both countries over the last decade is Tony Blair’s 1999 speech to the Economic Club in Chicago, as writers such as Brendan O’Neill have pointed out. Blair’s doctrine of an international community and when intervention would be justified was the basis for the Kosovo War, a conflict of which inside accounts suggest Tony Blair, not the cautious Bill Clinton, was the driving force. As the New York Times headline put it: “Kosovo Isn’t Just an Air War; It’s a Blair War”.
After 11 September 2001, the George W. Bush who campaigned the previous year on a platform of opposition to nation-building soon followed Blair’s Chicago doctrine as closely as Clinton had. The explicitly humanitarian and moralistic rhetoric, the recurring emphasis on the dangers of inaction, the relegation of realpolitik and the willingness to bypass the United Nations were all features of Blair’s Kosovo strategy soon adapted for use in the war on terror.
The EU Rapid Reaction Force
The diaries of Tony Blair’s Press Secretary Alastair Campbell record Blair’s February 2001 meeting with the new President and Vice President and encountering their scepticism of an EU Rapid Reaction Force. “TB did OK but Cheney was clearly very sceptical about European defence.” Nonetheless, Campbell writes that Blair changed the White House’s position in exchange for British backing for a missile defence shield: “We had come out fine from yesterday, having effectively traded support on NMD for GWB backing on EU defence, and the general feeling was that his words of support for us were stronger and clearer than TB's for them.”
The roadmap to peace in the Middle East
President George H. W. Bush noted in an interview on Breakfast with Frost how great Tony Blair’s influence has been on American policy towards Palestine had been. "Tony Blair was heard loud and clear in Washington about what he was calling for", Bush noted. He added that he would “find the president a willing and able partner” in efforts to advance the peace process that Blair had at the 2004 Labour Party Conference deemed “a personal priority”. George W. Bush was the first American President to support the creation of a Palestinian state, stating that “My vision is two states, living side by side in peace and security”. During Bush’s time in office the Quartet also approved a roadmap for settlement of the conflict which Blair (owing to US sponsorship) is now charged with overseeing.
Working for a second UN resolution on Iraq
George Bush believed the first United Nations Resolution on Iraq in 2002 provided sufficient grounds for military action, but was persuaded by Tony Blair to work for another the following year. This in spite of an alleged French offer to avoid a public split if the US chose to invade on grounds of the first resolution, not attempting to pass a second. Blair urged that a second resolution be sought in spite of the known opposition of France, China and Russia. This had to be abandoned when France publicly stated they would reject any resolution authorising the use of force.
Relaxing sanctions against Sinn Fein
The Bush Administration banned Sinn Fein from fundraising in the United States following the Northern Bank robbery and the murder of Robert McCartney. America’s special envoy to Northern Ireland Dr Mitchell Reiss reports that Tony Blair was then persuaded by Gerry Adams to campaign for the US authorities to remove restrictions on Sinn Fein fundraising in the US. Though American officials wanted to be much tougher on Sinn Fein, Peter Mandelson stated that Blair was "always saying 'give more, do more, concede more'," despite "excessive and unreasonable" republican demands. Official British sources disclosed to the Times that “there is a clear difference of opinion between us on this issue”. This followed an earlier concession under which Sinn Fein was granted an exemption from the UK wide ban on foreign fundraising. The ban was lifted in 2006.
 Campbell, Alastair (2007), ‘The Blair Years’, Hutchinson - Entries for 23rd and 24th February 2001
 'Bush ready to support Blair's push for peace in Mid-East', Andrew Sparrow, The Daily Telegraph, 9 November 2004, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/1476156/Bush-ready-to-support-Blairs-push-for-peace-in-Mid-East.html
 'Full text of George Bush's speech', The Guardian, 25 June 2002, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jun/25/israel.usa
 'Blair wants second UN resolution on Iraq', Daily Mail, at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-157850/Blair-wants-second-UN-resolution-Iraq.html
 'Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq War', David Rose, The Observer, 4 April 2004, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/apr/04/iraq.iraq
 'Blair backs UN route on Iraq', BBC, 15 February 2003, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2765705.stm
 'US at odds with allies over bar on Sinn Fein fundraising', Tom Baldwin, The Times, 6 June 2006, at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article672035.ece
 'The price of peace', John Ware, BBC, 2 March 2008, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/7273611.stm
 'Party Funding: Sinn Fein wins exemption on foreign donations', Fran Abrams, The Independent, 4 July 2000, at http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20000704/ai_n14326748