President Barack Obama had his first Head of State visit today. The first head of state to visit the new President is Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The man expected to save the world meets the man “saving the world” as Mr Brown so famously said in PMQs.
Whether the “special relationship” will be as close and intimate as Bush/Blair remains to be seen, but it will certainly remain important. There is little fun or touring on the menu. The main course is of course economy and banking regulation with a dessert of climate change and the
In addition to the meeting with the President at The White House, the Prime Minister is addressing a joint-session of Congress. The Prime Minister is also making numerous press appearances carrying the message of tightening international banking regulations to prevent further collapse of the global financial system.
While the Prime Minister is doing exclusive interviews on national television and radio programs and media availability, he is not providing any exclusive interviews with West of the West Wing today. No visit to
The Prime Minister’s interview on National Public Radio’s program, “Morning Edition” is available here.
The Prime Minister arrived on a very dismal day for the American economy with the Dow Jones closing Monday at a low of 6763.29 and the announcement this morning of a second federal bailout for the floundering financial giant, American International Group (
Prime Minister Brown’s visit, being the first by a visiting Head of State for President Obama, is another symbolic gesture and connection between
Of course, First Minister Alex Salmond was in the US last week and I am not sure how much of his discussion with Secretary of State Clinton will be shared with the Prime Minister. The latter’s visit will certainly receive more media attention.
From this side of the
The comparison many are making is historical: a President Bush struggling domestically in the polls needing the backing of a popular Prime Minister Blair (in the
For President Obama, it is a golden opportunity to demonstrate his commitment to diplomacy and to his international philosophy that the
Debates, rumors and counter-rumors are in full flow. Yet the magnitude of this visit cannot be underestimated nor should it be overlooked with many perceiving this as nothing more than a unique PR opportunity.
The free-market orthodoxy that drove globalisation is over. It is clear, indeed it has been clear to many for some time, that the ‘rising tide does not lift all sailboats’ as Joseph Stiglitz so memorably put it. The ideological strait-jacket can be placed on a coat-hanger. In its place, Brown and Obama (and countless others) must begin to forge a global financial architecture that does not simply adhere to a ‘Bretton Woods’ logic.
The Prime Minister is correct – this is not a time to return to protectionism. This does not mean, however, a return to neo-liberal economics. Reminiscent to Keynes’ visit to the