AEI to Brown - 'Heel, Bitch'
Interesting article reaches my attention via LobeLog, a blog I've just discovered that's well worth a read for neo-con watchers wondering which way Gordon will jump.
Remember that the US administration doesn't speak with one voice any more - even the AEI is beginning to split into true believers and those for whom corporate profits are more important (all their backers, in fact). It's long been obvious that neo-con policies aren't good for capitalism*, and if US business wakes up to this things become interesting. I strongly suspect that Brown is much more in tune with US corporate interests than AEI neo-con true believers, which is why he's not going to drop the US, but he may drop the neocons. Anyway, this illustrates that the true believers are worried about Brown - John Bolton wrote a piece for the FT ordering him to choose one out two between Europe and the USA. Brown is going to keep both, of course, since that's what business wants, and thus Bolton will be rebuffed (the slightest hint of warmth towards anyone European will be taken as this).
Finally, there is Iran's nuclear weapons programme, which will prove in the long run more important for both countries than the current turmoil in Iraq. Here the US has followed the EU lead in a failed diplomatic effort to dissuade Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons. If Mr Bush decides that the only way to stop Iran is to use military force, where will Mr Brown come down? Supporting the US or allowing Iran to goose-step towards nuclear weapons?
I will wait for answers to these and other questions before I draw conclusions about "the special relationship" under Mr Brown. But not forever.
Note the shrill, hysterical tone, arrogance, lack of nuance and contradictory arguments. Now imagine Brown reading it. To Bolton everything is clear and black and white - USA good, EU bad. Bolton is of course Cheney's mouthpiece, and can be taken to be the view of the true frothing neo-con. What's he's really doing, of course, is trying to bully Brown into supporting an attack on Iran, which is their dearest wish. That's the key issue now, and where we should watch Brown's hands. My suggested canary here is Malloch Brown - if he gets a prominent role, it's up yours Cheney. If he gets marginalised and quietly removed in a few months, it was all spin.
* this may seem counter-intuitive, but money-men of my acquaintance dislike Bush and co. intensely for risking US economic stability (and thus their profits) on wars that enrich a few chosen companies. If you run a trucking firm, how do you view the people whose actions pushed up the price of diesel and left US roads crumbling? Giving huge badly administered no-contest contracts to people like Halliburton is, of course, about as far away from free-market capitalism and small government as it's possible to get. Apart from anything else, they're incompetent administrators.