James Forsyth

How very Blairite, Brown’s foreign policy is

How very Blairite, Brown's foreign policy is
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Gordon Brown’s Mansion House speech lacked the rhetorical flourishes of any Tony Blair address on world affairs but it was substantively far more similar than one would have expected. Indeed, there is, judging by David Cameron’s recent Berlin speech, far more difference between Brown and Cameron than Brown and Blair on the question of Britain’s role in the world.

So rather than Cameron’s ‘national security first’, Brown tells us a ‘better world is our best security’. He also explicitly defends the principles of interventionism and a values-led foreign policy.

One phrase in the speech which deserves special attention is, “resolutions matter results matter even more.” Now I might be vastly over-interpreting this line but in foreign-policy speak this kind of reasoning is a standard defence for working outside the framework of the UN when necessary.

Brown’s remarks also contained some warm words for Bush and Blair for their Middle East peace efforts and some measured but tough words on Iran. As well as a very Gordon idea for a standby civilian force that could be sent to help rebuild civil society after military intervention.

But by far the most important thing about the speech is how Brown did not signal a break with Blair’s foreign policy vision. If you compare this speech with the one Blair delivered in Chicago in 1999, you’ll find them drawing from the same philosophical well even if Brown does express himself in more cautious language.

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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