UK and US press: Anglo-American 'Affair' Over

Despite an on camera show of unity and diplomatic clichés, US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown were oceans apart in what signals the end of the Anglo-American "affair," dailies on both sides of the Atlantic agreed , July 31

UK  and US press: Anglo-American 'Affair' Over
It was a day of such disagreements," The Washington Post said in a lead article headlined "More Bulldog Than Poodle," in reference to Brown's predecessor, Tony Blair.

Brown wanted to prove to his people and the world that he is not "joined together at the hip" with Bush like his predecessor, added the daily.

While Bush repeated his usual refrain that Iraq is the "central front" in the so-called war on terror Brown insisted that Afghanistan is "the front line" against terrorism.

Bush blamed the violence in Iraq solely on Al-Qaeda, but Brown had a different conviction.

"In Iraq, you're dealing with Sunni-Shiite violence, you're dealing with the involvement of Iran, but you're certainly dealing with a large number of Al-Qaeda terrorists."

While the American president spoke of terrorists as "evil," Brown described terrorism as "a crime."

Bush described their two days of talks at Camp David presidential retreat as "casual" and "relaxed," but Brown found them "full and frank," a diplomatic code for tough.

Formal

The Washington Post noted that the new British premier was all formal at the summit, reading from prepared papers and not reciprocating Bush's sense of humor to break the ice.

"Amazing country, Gordon — a guy that's under 40 years old asking me and you questions," Bush humored after answering a reporter's question.

"Six of my cabinet are under 40," replied a serious Brown.

The pair faced the cameras in full business attire in a sharp contract to the first meeting between Bush and Blair in Camp David, when they were in casual clothes and spoke to reporters of their common habits and sharing Colgate toothpaste.

Asked how things had changed since Brown's arrival, Bush quipped "besides toothpaste?"

For the first time since taking office in January 2001, Bush apparently saw the need to assert that "the relationship between Great Britain and America is our most important bilateral relationship."

This signaled Washington's concerns about a possible UK policy shift under Brown, said the Post.

"End of Affair"

Leading British dailies agreed that the Brown-Bush summit had a businesslike aura.

"The love-in is over. Everything about Gordon Brown's demeanor at Camp David yesterday proclaimed that a new chapter is opening in Britain's relations with the United States," the mass-market Daily Mail said in an editorial.

"Indeed, Brown was businesslike almost to the point of coolness," the daily noted, while headlining its main report on the talks "End of the Affair."

The Daily Mirror highlighted Brown's use of the phrase "full and frank" to describe his talks with Bush.

"Mr Brown's admission of a 'full and frank' conversation and his failure to reciprocate personal praise showered on him by Mr. Bush opened a new international era," it said.

"Britain will be stronger if our leader is not a Yankee poodle."

Blair was roundly mocked by British media as a US poodle, cast in a subservient role.

The press usually cited his unequivocal support for Bush's Iraq strategy despite growing public dissatisfaction and Bush's blunt rejection of Blair's plea to allow him to visit the Middle East at the height of last year's Lebanon war to stop the bloodshed.

The Daily Telegraph used a marital metaphor to underline the new transatlantic relationship under Brown.

"We seemed to be witnessing the celebration of an arranged marriage between two grown ups who do not pretend there is much romance in their relationship, but are hard headed enough not to allow any cracks to show in public," it said.

The Independent said Brown stroke the right balance with Bush.

"He looked statesmanlike and eloquent. At the same time he managed to signal a subtle change of tone in transatlantic relations."

The Times noted that the Anglo-US "special relationship" has been renamed as the "single most important bilateral relationship."

"What broad agreement the two men were able to point to yesterday…masks potential divergences that may yet widen."


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