Obama win keeps US-British relations familiar, comfortable
British Prime Minister David Cameron, who says he has a rapport with the president despite their differing political affiliations, congratulated Obama on his successful reelection bid today.
Although in theory they are from opposing sides of a broader right-left political divide, No. 10 Downing Street never seems to tire of insisting that Britainâ€™s young Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, has â€śclickedâ€ť on a personal level with Barack Obama.
Itâ€™s a narrative thatâ€™s not without its skeptics, but in Mr. Cameronâ€™s first reaction Wednesday to Obamaâ€™s reelection, the prime ministerâ€™s praise for â€śBarackâ€ť as â€śa very successful US president" seemed to come easily to him.
Robin Niblett, director of the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House, says he believes that there would have been been genuine â€śreliefâ€ť at Downing Street following Tuesday nightâ€™s result.
â€śMy impression is that the president and the prime minister do genuinely get along. They are both pragmatists, both figures who are not particularly emotional about their policies. It's a different relationship to others in the past and therefore this is safe result at a time when the UK has a lot of challenges,â€ť he says.Â â€śHaving to [fit] in relations with a new US administration at this moment is not what Cameron would need.â€ť
Commenting on the reelection, Cameron mentioned a number of priorities for future collaboration with the US: the need to â€śkick start the world economy,â€ť secure an EU-US trade deal, and deal with the Syrian crisis.
On Syria, Mr. Niblett says it was interesting to note that Cameron had recently floated the notion of a negotiated exit for Syriaâ€™s ruler, Bashar al-Assad, but the US had been standoffish about the idea. He expected this to remain the case in the wake of Obama's reelection.
But in broader foreign policy terms, both in relation to Syria and Iran, he suggests that the UK prefers to have a US that was â€śless gung-ho,â€ť allowing the UK and other European states space to take initiatives.
â€śIt may suit the UK better to have a US that is cautious and thoughtful to connect with,â€ť he says.
â€śFrom a UK standpoint, agreeing to a new EU-US trade deal that would reduced tariffs is an absolute priority, as it could have a really positive impact on growth,â€ť he says.