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Britain: Pro-European And Pro-American At Once?

Gordon Brown’s administration, despite its domestic (foremost economic) troubles, has a great foreign policy opportunity, claims Philip Stephens in the Financial Times:

The next year or so offers Britain the best chance in a generation to get its foreign policy right. Whoever wins the White House, the time has come for Britain to rebalance its European and transatlantic relationships. [...]

While Foreign Minister David Miliband insists on the "special relationship" between Britain and the US, he's also been making remarks hinting at a new recognition of Great Britain being part of Europe, says Stephens.

The implication is that a British government will speak from a European perspective in Washington as much as from a US one in Paris or Berlin. Behind this – at least I hope this is what Mr Miliband means – is an understanding that strong ties between London and Washington work in Britain’s interest only in so far as they also reflect wider transatlantic cohesion. [...] What has changed [though] is that a less subservient British relationship with Washington need no longer imply a weakening of broader transatlantic ties. The message for Britain from the Iraq war was that it could not have the best of both worlds – a privileged place in Washington and a leadership role in Europe. But France too learned a tough lesson: it cannot unite Europe against the US. [...] The governments of Europe’s three most powerful nations are now more or less at one. France’s Nicolas Sarkozy has abandoned his predecessors’ anti-Americanism. Angela Merkel has restored Germany’s Atlanticist tilt. [...] What this means is that Mr Brown can be at once pro-European and pro-American.


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franchie on :

yeah, trust the Anglo-saxons when they have an opinion of what the Frenchs are supposed to think ; persuaded that they have the right side of the rope, they don't want to buy a "decoder"

Pat Patterson on :

Gordon Brown is from Scotland so he is no Sassenach. And I'm sorry the rest simply is indecipherable.

franchie on :

yeah, what difference that makes, he is of anglo-saxon culture, didn't see that he read independant scottish papers

Joe Noory on :

Bigot. I'll bet you think, by some miracle, that I'm "Anglo-Saxon" when I'm as much of a camel-jockey as your plumber or electrician. This notion of contructing some identification to make the French distinct in some way in an even smaller circle (from people 200 km away, no less) than they're already in is simply ridiculous. I think the notion that the UK is somehow wrong in not speaking fully and exclusively on behalf of Europe is appalling knowing that the French, Italians, or Italians do precisely the same thing. After all, the US government want nothing more than to end the silly maelstrom of 27 different missions and emmisaries that somehow 'speak for Europe' but never say the same thing. Reduce their diplomatic representation to one, lose one of their UNSC seats, have either a "statesmanly" voice from the EU or CoE, but not both and the rats-nest of acronym-laden talking shops they've comandeered, and get rid of 26 of their UN seats, and stacking every damn votable thing that they think will earn them a nickel. Pretty soon even the Ruhrgebiet will be named a "UN city of culture" by, for, and to the exclusive benefit of some well placed committee or propped-up institute that doesn't deserve the honor. This game they play has to stop. It's pathetic.

franchie on :

what I appreciate in your discourses i'st its colorful simplicity, though nothing transpires out of it, except your bitterness

Don S on :

I'll bet her plumber and electrician comes from Poland, Joe! ;)

franchie on :

no ,don, he lives around the corner, quite a nice looking fellow

Zyme on :

We surely need the Brits for european ambitions. With their obsession about ruling the world, they might come in handy :) Seriously, when the Brits start considering joining their Royal Navy aircraft carriers with the French and the French share their their surveillance satellites with the german ones, then you know a european army is not far! The more the Brits are incorporated into EU, the more they are drawn away from Washington. The fact the Brussels already governs Britain in a number of political areas makes any other outcome highly unrealistic.

Dane on :

What a serious load of unintelligent arguments! FT is not usually much to trust, but this is worse than usual. The editorial sounds as if there were now electorates and no democracies in any of the countries in question.

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