Heritage_foundationWashington’s Heritage Foundation has just published a paper by Dr Nile Gardiner and John Hulsman entitled "Britain’s Conservatives Must Reclaim the Anglo-American Special Relationship".  The paper recognises "that the Conservative Party has returned as a force to be reckoned with" since David Cameron’s election and it also notes Tony Blair’s decline:

"Blair’s days as Prime Minister are numbered, and the British Government’s pro-American outlook may not last beyond his premiership, which could end as early as 2007. In addition, it should be acknowledged that Blair made several major errors of judgment on the international stage, including his support for the European Constitution, a blueprint for a federal Europe that threatens both U.S. and British interests."

It calls on the Bush administration to take some risks in developing links with the new Tory leadership:

"The Bush Administration must increase its dialogue with British conservatives, despite the likelihood of strong opposition from both Downing Street and the Foreign Office. It will be a delicate balancing act, but nevertheless one that must be implemented. There should be regular contact between senior officials at the National Security Council, Pentagon, and State Department and the Conservatives’ foreign policy team. In addition, the President and other senior administration officials should meet with the new Conservative leader at the White House.  A recent precedent was set by the February 2003 visit to Washington of then-German opposition leader Angela Merkel, who met with the Vice President, Secretary of Defense, National Security Adviser, and several key senators. In July 2005, the President met Merkel’s leading foreign policy adviser, Wolfgang Schauble (now interior minister) in the Oval Office. A high-level trip to the United States will be an important opportunity for David Cameron to present himself as a potential world leader."

Gardiner and Hulsman believe that "the appointments of William Hague as Shadow Foreign Secretary and Liam Fox as Shadow Defence Secretary bode well for a renaissance in the transatlantic conservative alliance".  The authors hope that a dialogue between the two, once close, centre-right parties will be mutually instructive…

  • They hope that the Conservative Party will "send the message that further political integration in the European Union poses a huge strategic threat to the Anglo-American alliance."  They note that George W Bush held "a confused U.S. policy on Europe that came across as favorable to the idea of further political integration in Europe".
  • They also hope that a dialogue will firm up Mr Cameron’s foreign policy views.  This blog has already wondered aloud about the Tory leader’s neocon credentials.  Gardiner and Hulsman describe his views as an enigma: "He has said little about long-term British policy with regard to Iraq or the threat to Western security posed by rogue regimes such as Iran and Syria. Nor has he outlined a coherent conservative strategy for waging the war against al Qaeda."