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December 4th, 2012
10:00 AM ET

Former Prime Minister of the UK Tony Blair weighs in as America heads towards the fiscal cliff

As the fiscal cliff looms nearer, the focus moves from the possible impending recession to the global implications. Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair chats with Soledad as the world waits to see how America will ring in the new year.

Blair is positive that the U.S. government can reach an acceptable compromise in the next 28 days. “The expectation, by the way, in the world is that you will sort it out. And if you do, I think the American economy, I would be more optimistic about the American economy right now than certainly any part of the rest of the Western world,” he says.

With the back and forth between the Republicans and Democrats shooting down each other’s plans, the Former Prime Minister expects both parties to come together, but expresses some caution on the global spotlight. He says, “I think they could bridge the gap. There have been proposals put forward on a cross-party basis before that very nearly resulted. […] I hope it doesn’t run on too long because the world really is watching.” 

His suggestion to the United States is to focus on improving the economy. He says, “So I think the issue is to sort out the short-term problem and then get going on those long-term reforms that will allow us to start being competitive again, and taking our places from the growing economies.”

As a representative with the Quartet on the Middle East and as someone that knows Bashar al-Assad personally, Blair says that Syria must assume that the United States is serious about its’ use of chemical weapons as a “red line.” “Up to now, what the West has been doing is giving some political support to the Syrian opposition, obviously trying to resolve the situation as far as possible. It’s not been possible so far,” he says.   

Switching from politics to the happy announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting, he shares in the British elation, “They’re a very popular young couple and this is great news for them.”

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