Hopes that Gordon Brown might take a harder line with the Americans than Tony "Yankee Doodle" Blair took another hit today. In advance of his first visit to the USA as PM, Brown indicated his desire to continue his predecessor's close relationship. Said Brown:
"We will not allow people to separate us from the United States of America in dealing with the common challenges that we face around the world. I will continue to work, as Tony Blair did, very closely with the American administration."
Brown's comments came after a Washington speech by Douglas Alexander, the UK's Trade and Development Secretary. The speech was seen by many observers as signalling a sea-change in US/UK relations.
Here's what he said:
"In the 20th century, a country's might was too often measured in what they could destroy. In the 21st century, strength should be measured by what we can build together. And so we must form new alliances based on common values, ones not just to protect us from the world, but ones which reach out to the world. We need to demonstrate by our deeds, words and our actions that we are internationalist, not isolationist, multilateralist, not unilateralist, active and not passive, and driven by core values, consistently applied, not special interests."
It's a sad commentary on the state of foreign policy in the United States when the values implied by Alexander's speech- principled, internationalist and moral behaviour- is perceived as an attack on the USA. What? Building and not destroying? My God. The UK has gone mad.
Hopefully, Brown can take his Minister's words to heart.