Portrait du futur Premier ministre britannique et de sa politique extérieure probable



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Le chancelier de l’Echiquier (finances) Gordon Brown devrait remplacer à un moment ou l’autre Tony Blair, sans doute en 2007. La concurrence épique entre les deux hommes, marqués par l’entêtement de Blair à conserver son poste malgré une impopularité qui représente un exploit sans précédent et un exemple de continuité, la prudence extrême de Brown de forcer la main de Blair est un autre aspect de la situation.

Dans The Spectator du 26 août, Mark Leonard, diecteur du département politique étrangère du Centre for European Reform et auteur de Why Europe will run the 21st Century trace un long portrait de Brown et de ce que devrait être sa politique étrangère à partir de rencontres extensives avec des proches de Brown. On notera combien l’essentiel des sujets sur lesquels s’étend Leonard sont de politique étrangère, et notamment concernant le relations avec les USA. C’est donc un cas excptionnel pour le Royauime-Uni : l’essentiel de la politique estaujourd’hui axé sur cette question.

• Sur sa méthode et sa conception de la politique étrangère : « Instead of seeing Britain as a ‘bridge between Europe and America’, Brown will try to bridge the pursuit of the British national interest with a moral focus on the world’s poor. Above all, his intimates suggest that Brown will break with Blair’s adventurism: ‘Tony is a creature of fashion. His Europeanism is a fashion of his teen years, when getting into Europe was the ultimate symbol of modernity. More recently he was driven by the messianic interventionism of the neocons. Gordon’s approach to foreign policy will be more pragmatic, like his domestic politics. Very thoughtful and cautious.’ »

• Sur l’atlantisme et les relations avec les USA : « Brown’s instinctive Atlanticism — expressed through his holidays in Cape Cod and an affinity for the work hard/play hard ethic of American society — is much reported but little understood. It is true that he has better connections in Washington than any incumbent prime minister since Churchill, boasting a circle of friends that includes left-wing democrats such as Ted Kennedy and Republicans such as Alan Greenspan. He was part of the crowd — along with Blair and Philip Gould — that made the crusade to the Clinton war room to see how modern elections are won. But Brownites suggest that Brown’s obsession with American public policy has faded with the decline of the Democrats, and the rightward drift of US politics to arguments about guns, gays and abortion: “From 1994 to 1997, there was a lot of thinking going on there which was useful to us. Since then there has been not very much thinking going on.”

» One senior Brownite implies that Brown will be less susceptible to pressure from Washington than the current Prime Minister. ‘Blair’s policy of “public support, private criticism” has reduced Britain to part of the inter-agency process in Washington. It is an extraordinary position for a sovereign country to find itself in.’ This would suggest that Brown’s style might be more similar to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s than Blair’s: positioning himself as an unambiguous Atlanticist — but reserving the right to be critical of American policy in public. Reports of Brown’s first meeting with the American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, in 2005 suggest that he has already put this philosophy into practice: the meeting soured when Brown lectured his American interlocutor about the importance of increasing aid. »

• Sur l’Iran et le possible projet d’attaque US : « [Regarding] Iran, which might come to a head shortly after Brown takes office. Many Americans agree with the presidential frontrunner, John McCain, that the only thing worse than military strikes is a nuclear Iran. Most Europeans would prefer to contain and deter Iran than to attack it. If diplomacy fails to halt Tehran’s nuclear programme, Brown might have to take sides. It is impossible to know which way he would go, but having seen the destructive effect of the Iraq war on the Labour party and on Tony Blair’s authority, it seems unlikely that he would involve Britain in any attack — even if his American friends asked for moral support. »

• Sur l’Europe, l’article argumente que Brown sera beaucoup plus à l’aise qu’on ne dit pour construire de bonnes relations, notamment parce qu’il n’existe aucune échéance majeure dans l’immédiat, lors de sa venue probable en 2007 («  With the European constitution in remission and the euro off the political agenda in this country, he is unlikely to have to slay any European dragons in his first few months »). L’auteur attend donc que Brown établira d’excellentes relations avec les principaux leaders europoéens : « It is no coincidence that Brown was quick to strike up a relationship with Angela Merkel (who, to his delight, welcomed him to the Chancellery in Berlin, while denying an audience to Cameron). By the time Brown becomes prime minister there will also be a new President in France — either Nicolas Sarkozy or Segolene Royal — who both speak Brown’s language on ‘reform’. These ambitious new leaders are very compatible with Brown. Unlike François Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl, they are soft nationalists who are pragmatic in their engagement with the European Union, and more interested in domestic reform than European federalism — much like Gordon Brown himself. »

• Pour conclure, voici ce que Brown pourrait être lorsqu'il sera Premier ministre : « Brown’s allies are increasingly anxious to break with the Blair era. Their attempt to heal the wounds of Iraq in the Labour party will take them into the realm of foreign policy. So who might Brown look to as a role model for his progressive foreign policy? There was a clue at a recent seminar that the Chancellor hosted with Bill Clinton which began with a joke about the former Swedish prime minister Olof Palme going to see Ronald Reagan in Washington: ‘Reagan said, “Isn’t he a communist?” And his advisers said, “No Mr President, he is an anti-communist.” And President Reagan said, “I don’t care what kind of communist he is!”’

» Palme remains an iconic figure for centre-left politicians. He had a strong moral core and was the first leader to take international development seriously. But he combined his internationalism with a strong sense of Swedish independence, pursuing friendly but semi-detached relations with the European Union and the United States, and standing aside from military adventurism in Vietnam. What’s more, his principled Moralpolitik provided the legitimacy for Sweden’s aggressive pursuit of its national economic interest. Of course Britain — as a member of the UN Security Council, the fifth biggest economy in the world, and a former imperial power — is very different from Sweden. But the image of Gordon Brown as Olof Palme with nuclear weapons could be a telling one. »

Mis en ligne le 26 août à 06H28


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