Skip to comments.U.S. still top British ally: new foreign minister
Posted on 07/14/2007 4:10:59 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
LONDON (Reuters) - New British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, seeking to squash speculation that London may distance itself from Washington over Iraq, has insisted the U.S. is still Britain's number one ally.
Since Gordon Brown took over from Tony Blair as British prime minister last month, he has been at pains to stress there is no cooling off in Anglo-American relations -- but two of his ministers offered mixed signals.
Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said in a speech in Washington that while Britain stood beside the United States in fighting terrorism, isolationism did not work in an interdependent world.
Then Foreign Office Minister Mark Malloch Brown followed up in a weekend interview by saying that Britain had to nurture a wider range of allies and predicting London and Washington would no longer be "joined at the hip."
Blair's decision to back President George W. Bush and go to war in Iraq sent his popularity plummeting in Britain and contributed to his departure after a decade in power. He was lampooned as "Bush's poodle."
The change of premiership has prompted speculation that Britain might accelerate troop withdrawals from Iraq. Britain has been gradually reducing numbers in Iraq and now has about 5,500 troops in the south.
Miliband, writing in the News of the World tabloid, said there would be no change to the so-called "special relationship" between London and Washington.
"With a new Brown government, some people are looking for evidence that our alliance is breaking up. There isn't any and there won't be any," he wrote.
"Nothing has changed. Our strongest bilateral relationship is with the USA," he said.
Brown is flying to Berlin for talks on Monday and plans to visit Paris and Washington after that.
He has said he will continue to work closely with the U.S. administration.
"We'll not allow people to separate us from the United States of America in dealing with the common challenges we face around the world," he said, when asked to comment about minister Douglas Alexander's words.
Brown may have been forced to step in and seek to reassure Washington there is no major change in foreign policy -- but his popularity shows no signs of fading after he finally took over as prime minister after a decade in the wings.
An ICM survey in the Sunday Telegraph showed the Labour Party enjoyed its best poll position for almost two years -- 40 percent compared to 33 percent for the opposition Conservatives and 19 percent for the centrist Liberal Democrats.
In a News of the World poll, 53 percent felt Brown was best equipped to lead Britain compared to just 27 percent for David Cameron, the youthful Conservative leader who has rejuvenated his party after three electoral drubbings.
A file photo of British Foreign Secretary David Miliband arriving in Downing Street for a meeting of the government's top emergency committee Cobra, in London, June 29, 2007. Miliband, seeking to squash speculation that London may distance itself from Washington over Iraq, has insisted the U.S. is still Britain's number one ally. (Stephen Hird/Reuters)
Alexander’s comments are encouraging. The concept of no “separation from the Americans” is, I think, deliberately used here. Among Churchill’s last advice to his colleagues when he stepped down as PM in 1955 was “never, ever be separated from the Americans.” It’s a quite well-known quote, especially I would think among British political figures. This deliberate evocation of America-loving Churchill by the new government is good news.
I just dont care anymore about anyone other than the US. To much backbiting for far to long. Sick of the rest of the world.
You are looking at almost certainly the next leader of the labour party whenever that will be.
The widows of our service personal send their grattitude for such sentiments....
Lousy attitude. We’re not friendless in this world, as this article shows.
Oops, I should have said “Prime Minister Brown’s comments are encouraging, as are those of Foreign Secretary Miliband.” Alexander’s comments are bad, but he’s a secondary player.
Iw was Brown who used the phrase “separate us from the United States.” I strongly suspect this was deliberately chosen for its historical resonance.
Im glad you speak for widows.
Good for them, Australia is ours.
‘I just dont care anymore about anyone other than the US. To much backbiting for far to long. Sick of the rest of the world.’
That’s precisely how liberal America felt in 1939. In 1941 it learnt that such isolationism was folly of the highest degree.
‘Good for them, Australia is ours.’
Have you informed Australia of this? Perhaps if you do they might send a few more troops to Iraq and Afghanistan as the current 1500 puts them way behind pulling their weight per capita in the coalition, despite the pro-war rhetoric spouted by their politicians. Bit less hot air, few more troops please Ozzies!
I don’t need to - your comments pissed all over their graves.
You really think they’d appreciate you degrading out committment and sholder to sholder stand with your nation?
Instead you are ignorant, and take some comments from a nobody and use it as an excuse to give us the finger.
How do you think Americans feel being savaged by europe for years and years as far back as I can remember? The US has defended that sorry ass continent for over half a century and we get spit on constantly.I am sick of it.I guess I am just tired of the backbiting and grow weary of the shanks in the back. I thank the british military,but I loathe the anti-US EU nancy boys.
I swear I'll kiss ass to keep from ever going back there again, and I relish the opportunity to return some of the hospitality I received there.
I know how you feel. Whatever you do don’t visit any British newspapers, left or right, especially stay away from the comments made by ordinary British citizens. Totally sick of the rest of the world.
As if a few comments on an online comment page mean anything.
As for our newspapers - the biggest selling newspapers the sun and the times have BOTH been supportive of the US.
Well said - how quickly they forget.
We gad 40,000 troops in there to defeat saddam.
How much did the aussies have?
A token gesture by politicians with rhetoric and on their way to defeat anyway (look at the aussie polls - Howard is sadly TOAST).
It means little in comparison to a nation that has stood by you - the first in and one of the only ones to stay behind when the others were running for the exit.