Britain's Brown is the latest foreign leader to re-arrange his Iraq portfolio to accommodate views of the next U.S. president, Barack Obama, who will visit London later this week. A political chameleon who has adapted the facade of his politics toward Iraq to Bush's every plea for cover, Prime Minister Brown is prepared to follow Iraq's PM in endorsing the level of withdrawal of American soldiers from Iraq that Sen. Obama has promised, by signaling the pullout of most of Britain's 40,000 or so troops by early 2009.
Following an earlier cave-in to Bush by Brown, squashing a plan to reduce the British force in Iraq to 2,500 troops, this move will signal a rejection of support from London for any of the plans by Obama's republican presidential rival, McCain to perpetuate the Bush quagmire.
In line with the goals of Sen. Obama to reduce the pressure on the U.S. military by shelving the commitment in Iraq to provide more support for the effort in Afghanistan against the al-Qaeda resistance, PM Brown is responding to his own military advisers who have been complaining about the strain on British forces.
The other candidate, Democrat Barack Obama, would bring back the traditional balance of cooperation with those whose lives are directly affected by the inflated political and military whims of the American political class. It will be in Britain's interest to engage in a more diplomatic approach to countries like Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan as the economic interests of Britain and most of Europe favor a decidedly less confrontational approach to foreign affairs than the Bush administration has insisted on in their self-serving intimidation, manipulation and undermining of governments who won't bend to their bullying across sovereign borders.
The impetus to withdraw from Iraq by both Obama and Brown also reflects their need to free some of the resources which are pouring into Iraq's black hole for their respective domestic initiatives they've designed to address their faltering economies. Today, Sen. Obama asserted the primacy of his future administration over those military considerations as he put the reluctance of commanding U.S. general Petraeus to endorse a timetable for withdrawal in perspective.
That comprehensive focus from the Democratic presidential aspirant is the measure of realism and pragmatism that world leaders are responding favorably to on this Mideast tour. It is, in fact welcome cover for their own desire to pressure the lame-duck Bush administration into conceding ground on their legacy commitments abroad.
As they continue to balance their cautious patronage of Bush's reflexive need for face-saving pronouncements with their endorsement of Obama's progressive plans for re-ordering the administration's blundering imperialism, it will fall to McCain to try and separate himself from his lip-locked embrace of the lame-duck obstinacy he's been promoting on behalf of his republican president, so far.