Obama and Brown: The U.S.-U.K. Agenda

Obama and Brown: The U.S.-U.K. Agenda

LONDON -- Until recently, Europe's politicians held their noses when they spoke of the United States. Now they are falling over each other to associate themselves with the president-elect, to attach themselves to the most attractive, most popular and soon-to-be most powerful man on the planet. Everyone wants a piece of Barack Obama.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has more reason than most to seek Obama's favor. Under former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Britain was regarded as Washington's closest ally in the war against Iraq, the war against the Taliban and what was once called the war against terrorism. Brown is anxious to shed Britain's image of slavish obedience to Washington, and a partnership with a popular American president based on a more politically attractive agenda would help him do so.

Trailing in the polls, and with the vogue for anti-Americanism temporarily on the back burner in his own party, he has tried to steal a page from the playbook of opposition leader David Cameron and remake himself in the image of Obama. Brown, who once supported Hillary Clinton's nomination, staked his claim to kinship with Obama in an article he wrote for the London Observer last weekend. Casting himself as a "progressive," he noted that America, too, had elected "a progressive president," proving that "progressive values have come of age." The word "progressive" appears no fewer than seven times to describe his own -- and, presumably, Obama's -- worldview.

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