Carter criticizes Blair's government as too complaint with U.S. policies

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter criticized the British government on Thursday for quickly adopting controversial policies of the Bush administration regarding the Iraq war and the Israel-Hezbollah conflict.

"I've been really disappointed in the apparent subservience of the British government's policies related to many of the serious mistakes that have been originated in Washington," Carter said in an interview BBC-TV's news show "Nightline."

In the past, Carter said, British governments had used a "strong voice" to help shape joint U.S.-British policies as part of the long-standing special relationship between two of the world's greatest democracies.

But under Prime Minister Tony Blair, Carter said, "no matter what kind of radical or ill-advised policy that's proposed from the White House, it seems to me, that almost automatically the government of Great Britain would adopt the same policy, without exerting its influence in the Middle East peace process in the case of the Lebanese-Israeli war in the recent or past, and certainly in the ill-advised abandonment of the war against terrorism to substitute the war in Iraq."

In these policies "there's been a very disappointing reaction from Great Britain," the former U.S. president said.

Many Britons have said Blair was acting as U.S. President George W. Bush's "poodle" for quickly joining the unpopular U.S.-led war in Iraq and for being out of step with both his Labour Party and British public opinion during the Israel-Hezbollah war in Lebanon, reports AP.

Despite the devastation in Lebanon, Blair joined Bush in refusing to call for an immediate cease-fire, backing Israel's goal of hammering the Iranian-backed militia. His stance deepened the feeling among many Labour stalwarts and others that Blair was out of touch and aloof and had not learned the lessons of Iraq.

Those unpopular pro-U.S. decisions by Blair who took office in 1997 and led Labour to its third straight election win last year contributed to bitter infighting in the Labour that led him to announce last week that he would step down within a year.