BROWN AND BUSH….The Telegraph suggests that relations between the U.S. and Britain are slightly frostier than in the past now that Gordon Brown has replaced Tony Blair:
There has been a notable reduction in contact between Downing Street and the White House since Mr Blair left and US officials have remarked on how few British ministers have visited Washington in recent months.
Mr Brown and Mr Bush are understood to have spoken twice by telephone in three months since they met at Camp David in June, whereas Mr Blair and Mr Bush held video-link conferences, often weekly.
….A British diplomatic source said: “In the White House there’s a sense of enormous change from Blair. They used to be on the phone to Blair all the time and that’s no longer the case because Brown clearly wants to be the unBlair.”
Surely this doesn’t surprise anyone? Aside from the fact that Brown never shared Blair’s messianic approach to foreign policy in the first place, he knows perfectly well that in 13 months it’s pretty likely that America will have elected a Democratic president to replace Bush. So why would you waste energy cultivating a close relationship with a man who (a) you don’t like, (b) is an electoral liability in Britain, and (c) is going to be out of office soon? Bush is already trying to pull a Hoover by inveigling his successor to adopt his policies before they even take office, and he’ll probably try to do the same to Brown over the next year if he gets half a chance. If I were him, I’d keep my distance too.