Gordon Brown’s government this month has continued to distinguish itself from the Blair years, with the release of a Parliamentary report that criticizes the UK’s Middle East policy under Blair. This comes on the heels of rhetorical efforts aimed at losing the foreign policy baggage left by Blair, and includes several recommendations in line with our progressive efforts in the United States, including a more dialogue-oriented approach to Iran.
It was a disappointment when Blair failed to mount even cursory challenges President Bush before the invasion of Iraq. It appears that Brown’s government will not be as complacent, perhaps even visioning itself as the example the American government should follow. The report states, ‘We note that it has long been the policy of the Government to engage with Iran, and we are encouraged by signs that the US Administration is now accepting the wisdom of this approach.’ Though Britain has never been substantially important militarily, its political weight has still been hefty. Maybe the loss of steadfast British support for American policies will be as important as Blair’s early submissiveness.
While this report is not more than an outline of possible changes to British foreign policy, nor is directly from the Prime Minister, it seems indicative of a substantially different course is being shaped for the UK. Brown is expected to elaborate his foreign policy further in October, so more definite conclusions must wait until then.