London, Nov.5 : Now that Barack Obama has set to become the 44th President of the United States, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will have to learn to deal with him
As a rule Brown sleeps through tricky elections and takes stock next morning. Though 10, Downing Street has carefully stuck to the myth that Brown could do business with George W. Bush, he is heartily glad that he is almost gone, reports The Telegraph.
"The better way of looking at it is that he sees this as a new beginning," a Downing Street aide says, tactfully.
For Brown, no start could be more crucial. Normally, a British prime minister would be cautious about getting too close to the 44th president, however appealing he might seem.
A disastrous war in Iraq illustrated how suffocating and how dangerous the special relationship might become. But Brown does not regard himself as a normal British leader. Even before the economic meltdown, his ambitions were more global than national.
Now, his relationship with the new president is critical to what he wants to achieve: the reform of fraying global institutions, such as the United Nations and the World Bank, the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals to rescue the world's poorest and the rebuilding of the global economy.
Brown has had a shaky time in office, but no one could accuse him of being a parish pump prime minister. He sees his global program as being tightly linked with that of the new president, and he courted both contenders, calculating, however presumptuously, that the new president would also be in need of some of his experience.
Brown must also have realized that neither aspirant would bring to the office an overload of ideology. Both Obama and McCain were likely to wind down American involvement in Iraq, although their time frames were different. Both promised action on climate change. Both favoured pragmatism, not to say evasion, on the biggest issues.
So, Brown hopes to foster a relationship in which you could not put a hanging chad between him and the new incumbent on energy policy, global warming, financial regulation and the need for "global alliances".
Cynics will think his bonding exercise an attempt to seize some of the new president's glory. Realists will say it could all go wrong.
Brown, his allies say, is focused on more serious matters.
The arrival of a new president may pay dividends for Brown. However, there are dangers as well as benefits in getting too close to America.
The trick, as Brown must know, is to enthuse the 44th president with his global initiatives while being wary about getting too close.