I respect Tony Blair, and one of the reasons I do is that he grasps the historic essence of the British-American bond. This is not a piece of metaphysics. It is about civilization, law and liberty.

But his vanity has gotten in his way. Not, mind you, as grotesquely as with the out-of-office Bill Clinton. 

First, they put him in charge of the long brewing Palestinian-Israeli dispute, a dispute less important than most people think.  But it is intractable, and anyone who goes near it will have his hands singed. Singed, at least, and maybe even burned. Then, George Bush, perhaps persuaded by Condi Rice (but that's another matter), took up the challenge which will exhaust him and his administration just before it leaves Washington, as it did Clinton and his peace-processors.  In any event, there is hardly a seat for Blair at the table.

Now, perhaps as compensation, Blair's name is being bandied about for the presidency of the European Union. It is not really a presidency. And, moreover, it is not really a union. A more fissaporous organism I cannot imagine. Belgium is falling apart. The United Kingdom is less united than it has been for nearly half a millennium.  Spain is increasingly torn by language and ethnicity, the Basque country festering, and Catalonia -- great Catalonia -- will soon presume to nothing less than sovereignty. Italy has its own internal geographical fissures. The ex-Yugoslavs won't leave each other alone. France, Germany, Holland, even the Scandinavians are torn apart by their Muslim immigration.

And the Euro-bureaucracy still dreams of putting a union together run by a Sorelian elite that is nothing less than itself. Blair is too good to be its front.