British Prime Minister Tony Blair says his country's influence on the world stage depends on active engagement and said Britain cannot defend itself from terrorism by retreating into isolationism.

Mr. Blair told Royal Navy personnel diplomacy cannot solve all of the world's problems and said Britain must be ready to take military action when required.

He acknowledged that terrorism could not be defeated by military means alone, but stressed that it cannot be defeated without them.  He warned against what he called taking "the easy course that relegates the military to a peacekeeping role."

Mr. Blair stressed that the public must see operations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan as needed to deal with a global terrorist threat. He stressed the importance of maintaining a strong U.S. alliance and for Britain to champion Middle East peace.

Mr. Blair has pledged to step down some time later this year. Journalists say his comments appear to be an effort to set the tone for the period following his departure.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.