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Roundtable on U.S.-U.K. Relationship

FOX News Special Report With Brit Hume


GORDON BROWN, ENGLISH PRIME MINISTER: The special partnership that President Bush and I both agreed today is a partnership not just of governments but of peoples. It is driven forward not simply by mutual interests but by our shared values.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: The fundamental question of history will look back on is that we understand the duty we have been called to do, to protect ourselves and help others. And this Prime Minister has understood the duty.


HUME: For a long time the only place the president could go and make statements like that about current events was to London. First it was Blair, now Gordon Brown.

But the president had a friendlier hearing, it's fair to say, on this European tour. He only got specific promises of action on Iran, or at least a specific plan of action from Iran, from Britain. But the atmosphere, sort of under the radar in Europe towards this president and this country seems to have changed--Mort?

KONDRAKE: With the public, it hasn't changed. The Pew poll said very, very small percentages of Europeans still have confidence in George Bush's leadership, and they're all dying for Barack Obama to be president.

What has happened, I think, are two things. First, Bush has gotten much more friendly leadership in Europe than he used to have-- Sarkozy in France and Angela Merkel, and Berlusconi. Gordon Brown is not any friendlier than Tony Blair, for sure, although he did do some interesting things yesterday.

What I think is also going on is that Bush has changed. I think Bush has mellowed as a foreign policy practitioner. He is now more in favor of doing something about global warming, and doing diplomacy vis-a- vis Iran instead of bombing, and diplomacy vis-a-vis North Korea, and so on. And they like that better.

LIASSON: Yes. Look, I also think that some of the big anti-Bush demonstrations, you don't see that as much on this trip. I also think it's not just that Bush is changing--

HUME: That's all those same people that elected these leaders with the pro-American view.

LIASSON: And they chose the center-right coalitions for these countries.

A lot of it is also that the unilateral approach that the United States took ran out of its string. The Bush administration has seen it is a better idea with the problems it's facing now to do multi-lateral diplomacy with Iran or North Korea, and it is just finding itself much more in sync with its European partners.

KRAUTHAMMER: I think it is wrong to say, as almost everybody does, that the Bush administration was overtly unilateralist. It prefers to be multi-lateral. Every time it could, as in the Korean issue or the Iran, it went with other countries.

The question was if you're faced with an issue where nobody will come along, do you therefore stop and not do it, or do you go ahead? And in Iraq we decided that we had to go and do it.

It is not that unilateralism is a choice. It is a question what do you do if allies will not follow?

HUME: Somebody once put it as a question of whether you let the coalition determine the mission or the mission should determine the coalition.

KRAUTHAMMER: Exactly. So there has not been a radical change. Iraq was the one issue on which others outside Britain had seen it differently, and we went alone essentially with them.

The Democrats have been saying since the Kerry campaign that the Bush administration has wrecked our alliances with Europe. It is complete nonsense. For the first time in at least half-a-century, the four main capitals in Europe, London, Paris, Rome, and Berlin, have pro-American governments. It is unprecedented.

They are helping us in Afghanistan, the first time NATO is acting militarily outside of Europe. And, as we're seeing slowly with European sanctions on Iran, they are finely accepting the proposition that the U.N. isn't going to do anything and Europe is going to have to act unilaterally.

It's not going to stop Iran, but it shows Europe coming around to the American perspective that Europe and America have to unilaterally use financial sanctions. And some of them are starting, and they'll continue.

HUME: And it does seem that Iran is vulnerable to financial sanctions as, perhaps, North Korea, for example, is not.

KONDRAKE: Well, it would be if Europe really put the screws to Iran, or if everybody got together and imposed a gasoline embargo, which they import gasoline in Iran, even though they produce oil.

That would make a difference. But nobody is willing to do that. The Germans aren't willing to go and really sock Iran with difficult sanctions. As you pointed out, only Britain is willing to not do business with them.

KRAUTHAMMER: But that is a failure not of American diplomacy. It is a failure of European will, which is an old story, and quite incurable.

HUME: Mara, do you agree with that?

LIASSON: Yes. Sanctions only work when they are really broadly unilateral, and when they are very tough. I don't think we're at that stage yet with Iran.

HUME: And so the question arises, will the next president have a Europe friendly to the United States or one that remains hostile. It would seem that what the president is leaving behind is a lot more positive.

KRAUTHAMMER: It is positive, and it will be dependent on conditions. But Obama is not going to light up the scene if he is president, and Bush has not darkened it.

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