The recent elevation of Gordon Brown to become prime minister and his recent visit to the United States has posed some queries about how his premiership will shift the UK/US diplomatic relaionship.
As was recently written in the Telegraph
"According to a YouGov poll in Friday's Daily Telegraph, 71 per cent want Mr Brown to "ensure that Britain's Prime Minister and the US President are no longer joined at the hip'."
Electoral dynamics require that he appear to distance himself somewhat from the US in general and President Bush in particular, at least to ensure that the words "Yo Brown!" are never uttered.
They will. Mr Brown wants to win the next election, and win big. But he has no desire to be the first PM since Heath not to form a strong alliance with at least one US president.
The "special relationship" may not be a vote-winner in 2007, but it is as much a part of the office Mr Brown has craved for so long as the keys to Number 10 or weekly audiences with the Queen.
This is a matter of geopolitical practicality as much as historical precedent. For all the talk of other alliances and configurations, some of it anti-American, much of it merely priggish, the US-UK military and intelligence partnership is still the only show in town."
It is against this background why Gordon Brown will do what a mediator and negotiator does which is to search for balanced and possibly the paradoxical positions to align the conflicting interests.
In other words, he make "positive" statements on Iraq but will use different language and make subtly different decisons to his predecessor, Mr. Blair. However there will be no clean break and whilst there will be a shift in style the changes in substance will be less.
This skill should not be understated.
Often a mediator will use these skills as well. The result being that cases that were headed to litigation and had no prospect of settlement become settled.