The late British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said "Americans and British are one people separated only by a common language."
Today President Obama, as part of his four-day European swing, met with current British Prime Minister David Cameron, who as head of the Conservative Party is Churchill’s political if not blood descendant, and one who speaks about Libya and economic policy in a different way than the president.
The leaders disagree, to an extent, over a variety of security and monetary issues. But Obama’s visit to Great Britain, and the continental leaders afterward, is mainly about reassuring Cameron and the other heads of state that the traditionally close partnership with the United States remains strong, even as other countries such as China and India assert themselves.
To that end, Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser for strategic communication, told reporters that “there is no other alliance that assumes the burdens that we assume on behalf of peace and security.”
The two leaders can commiserate, and support each other, over one issue: deficit reduction. They each face difficult choices and critics on both the left and right of their current policies. Of course Obama, knowing that his American critics are watching, will not get into specifics about his, or Cameron’s, potential budget-cutting choices.
The more pressing issue probably arose if Cameron asked Obama for the United States to bear more of the burden in the removal of Moammar Gadhafi as head of Libya. Currently, NATO leads the military campaign while the United States provides support, including allowing Libyan rebels to open a Washington, D.C. office.
A White House spokesperson has said that is as far as the Obama administration will go.
(Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)