This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!

Monday, 3 November 2008

Who is Best for Britain?



Does it matter to the ‘special relationship’ which man is next elected US President?

I think the answer is most definitely yes.

First off, neither McCain nor Obama should be thought of as the British candidate. The relationship between Britain and the United States is founded on national interest and personality. It really doesn’t matter which party is in power on either side of the Atlantic. Harold Wilson and Lyndon Johnson never got on, Thatcher and Reagan got on well but weren’t afraid to disagree with each other and Tony Blair just got on well with everyone!

But personality is important and John McCain does seem to have more sentimental attachment to Britain than Obama does.

At the end of the day though McCain will only ever be concerned with what is in the national interest of the United States.

We also don’t know whether Obama’s Kenyan father has given him a view of Great Britain either. Maybe he has, but the candidate has not said much.

This leaves two questions.

Which man is more likely to work with Britain on the issues that matter to us like Afghanistan, Climate Change and the Middle East and be more agreeable to our goals?

And which one is more personally suited to a role which requires calm and serious decision making under pressure?

The answer to both of these questions is Obama.

He has calved out a distinct position on the Middle East through his proposed policy of talking to Iran. It may not work, but relations cannot possibly be worse between the US and Iran than they are right now, so why not try it?

He has promised to engage with the Middle East peace process and he has vowed to do more to win the ‘just’ war in Afghanistan.

McCain, on the other hand, seems to think the solution to Iran is to bomb it. He thinks international organisations can afford to be ignored and he argues that the way to deal with Iraq and Afghanistan is to leave troops there for a hundred years and forget about a political solution.

On climate change, Obama’s policies are the genuinely interesting ones. He proposes greater carbon trading, a more activist approach from the US administration in setting up a post-Kyoto framework and he hasn’t pandered to the lobbyists and big business either.

McCain, on the other hand, did once have a good record on the environment and climate change but with every passing day of this election campaign he has run further to the right. He does not have an admirable green agenda anymore. At one point the slogan of his campaign was "Drill, baby, drill!" Enough said.

This finally leaves us with the question of personality.

Whoever takes over from George W. Bush will have the legacy from hell – financial, political, diplomatic, military.

We need a President who has the temperament and judgement to deal with all of this.

McCain loses his rag every minute. His pathetic, panicky and destructive attempts to involve himself in the financial bail-out a few weeks ago looked like the last acts of a desperate man and hardly inspired confidence.

His decision to choose Sarah Palin as candidate for VP shows a recklessness and contempt for ordinary people which should bar him from the White House.

Obama, on the other hand, has had the Clintons and the Republicans throw everything at him. He has risen up through the hard knocks school of Chicago politics and all the time he has remained cool, calm and collected. He has never lost it. If this is any indication of what he will be like as President, then it is a bloody good one.

Britain should be rooting for Obama.

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