Tariq Tahir, Political Correspondent, looks at how Tony Blair has fared in the two weeks of the war

TWO weeks into the war and Tony Blair is looking relaxed.

Gone is the haggard and faintly mad look that possessed him in the tortuous days when his finger tips were slowly prized off a second United Nations resolution by the hammering of the French and Russians.

There was the wobbly period when the military campaign appeared to be stalling and wary Iraqis failed to greet the British and American troops with the welcome Mr Blair hinted at.

Backbenchers have largely been silent, not wanting to be seen undermining British troops. Their newest member, Robin Cook, swiftly backtracked after calling for troops to come home.

While he won't want to be reminded of it, winning the peace could pose as many problems as securing military victory.

If stories coming out of Washington are to be believed, the US will rule Iraq with a military governor, with or without the backing of the UN.

MPs - many of whom have supported the war - have already expressed their disquiet about that prospect happening. They see UN involvement as an opportunity for that body to re-build some of its battered authority.

If the UN is seen as a coloniser, then all the Arab suspicion about a war for oil will be confirmed as US contractors sow up juicy deals.

Of course, the Bush administration doesn't want anything that will allow the French to assert their traditional ties with Iraq and gain from the fruits of (as they see it) American blood.

Mr Blair insisted when he came back from meeting George Bush last week that the US has no intention of imposing a military governor.

But at Prime Minister's Questions this week, all he could offer was that there would be Iraqi involvement in the post-war administration of their country.

Yet again, Mr Blair appears to be placing himself in the role of honest broker between the US and Europe, perhaps telling himself that his ability to persuade President Bush down the UN route in seeking a second resolution can have the desired affect again.

But he could do worse than stand up to the US on this one.

The Prime Minister wants to see Britain at the heart of Europe and part of the single currency.

While he presents the Famous Five tests that must be passed before Britain holds a referendum as being economic, in reality the whole exercise is political.

The workings of the single currency, such as how much each country can borrow, are the result of political machinations. Britain has indicated it would like to see changes in these rules, for which agreement will have to be reached with all the members.

If Britain goes into the Euro isolated from the other countries in the single currency, Mr Blair will not be able to influence any future decisions.

While there won't be a public slanging match between Britain and the US, hints of a rift could do Mr Blair no harm.