Election of Barack Obama widely welcomed in UK

United Kingdom
Federal Trust for Education and Research
The election of Barack Obama has been universally welcomed in the United Kingdom. Voters and politicians hope that his administration will be more willing to work cooperatively with its allies than was its predecessor; will take more seriously than its predecessor the threat of man-made global climate change; and restore America’s traditional role as a pillar of multilateral institutions and the international rule of law. In the United Kingdom, much attention has been paid to Obama’s declared intention to prosecute vigorously the current military action of NATO in Afghanistan. Britain has been a major contributor of fighting troops to this action over the past five years and will no doubt be using Obama’s enthusiastic commitment to the NATO action in Afghanistan as an occasion to encourage other Europeans to follow the British example. John Hutton, Secretary of State for Defence, recently urged fellow European powers in a press interview to “step up to the plate”.[1] A former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kenneth Clarke, has been quoted as saying in December 2008 that he did not believe that Obama would relish working with an anti-European Conservative government if David Cameron became Prime Minister at the next British general election.[2] It may well be that at the next general election British political parties try to obtain political advantage by presenting their philosophies and policies as being more similar to those of Obama than are those of their opponents.

[1] Richard Norton-Taylor: Hutton tells Nato allies to “step up to the plate” over Afghanistan, The Guardian, 16 January 2009.

[2] Allegra Stratton: Ken Clarke warned Tories Barack Obama would snub a “Eurosceptic” UK, The Guardian, 21 January 2009.