Britain, US relations Will Become Stronger, Says British PM
British cabinet minister said a nation’s strength depends on the alliances, not military might, but Prime Minister Gordon Brown has denied his government was moving its foreign policy away from the US.
British media suggested the speech by International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander was a subtle critique of US President George W. Bush’s policies, and a signal that Brown wants to avoid being labeled Bush’s “poodle”, as former prime minister Tony Blair was.
In a speech in Washington, Alexander said while Britain stood beside the US in fighting terrorism, isolationism did not work in an interdependent world.
Alexander 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.”
Brown denied the speech was intended as a criticism of the Bush administration. His spokesman Michael Ellam said British media had misrepresented the content.
“Our relationship with America is strong and will become stronger in the years to come,” Brown said.
“I know it is strong and will become stronger is because we share the same values of support for freedom and the dignity of the individual."
The British leader said he hoped to have the same close relationship with Bush that Blair enjoyed.
"Together, I believe we can achieve a more peaceful future and a more prosperous one," Brown said in an interview with BBC radio.
Brown has had three conversations with Bush since taking office two weeks ago, including a lengthy video conference earlier this week, Ellam said. “There has been a lot of direct contact between the prime minister and the president.”
Ellam said Brown would visit Washington in the next few weeks, though did not give dates of the trip. Ellam said that Brown was also traveling to Berlin and Paris.
Alexander said in his speech an internationalist strategy was needed to meet challenges of security, globalization, climate change, disease and poverty.
Though force will be needed to combat terrorism, given “we have to simultaneously be fighting to end poverty, to secure trade justice and to tackle conflict and climate change,” Alexander said. “As well as working to defeat terrorism and ensure the preservation of our security.”