David Cameron Must Not Emulate Barack Obama

Posted on Fri 05/07/2010 by


By Nile Gardiner

(Follow the latest live results of the UK election at this link…..TonyfromOz)

Today’s edition of The Sun has an extraordinary image of David Cameron on its front page inspired by an infamous Barack Obama campaign poster, with the slogan “Our only hope” (hat tip: ConservativeHome). This is a spectacular, attention-grabbing piece of journalism, which is going to attract a great deal of interest Stateside, but I hope it isn’t an omen for the future. If Cameron becomes PM on Friday, which most opinion polls indicate he will, I hope he avoids using President Obama as a role model and looks instead to the leadership of Churchill, Thatcher and Reagan.

David Cameron has tremendous potential as a Prime Minister, and should do well on the world stage if he is elected. He will have far stronger appeal across the Atlantic than Gordon Brown, and will make the rebuilding of relations with Washington a top foreign policy priority in the aftermath of Labour’s lacklustre leadership.

If he does enter Number 10, Cameron will need to work closely with the US president on the international stage on a range of issues, from the war in Afghanistan to sanctions against Tehran. He must avoid though the temptation of following many of Obama’s more liberal policies or his imperial style of leadership, which will end up with the same disastrous end result. He should also be under no illusions with regard to Obama’s open disdain for the Special Relationship, and his complete lack of empathy towards Britain.

President Obama’s first 16 months in office provide an important lesson for the next British Prime Minister in how not to run the country. The hallmarks of the Obama administration have been the relentless rise of big government, excessive levels of public spending and borrowing, little or no job creation, the weakening of America’s defences, the appeasement of America’s enemies, and the decline of US global power. Unsurprisingly, Barack Obama’s approval ratings are at historically low levels, and there is widespread public concern over the size of the deficit and the mounting public debt, as well as mounting unease over his administration’s handling of the war on terror and the Iranian nuclear threat.

David Cameron should instead pursue a conservative agenda which emphasises limited government, low taxation, cuts in public expenditure, and an enterprise economy that creates jobs rather than stifles businesses. He should also eschew Obama’s weak-kneed approach to national security issues, and make the war against Islamist terrorism, at home and abroad, a top priority. In contrast to President Obama, instead of apologising for his country when traveling abroad, Cameron should project pride in Britain’s distinguished history and its great role in advancing freedom, liberty and prosperity across the globe.

On several levels, Barack Obama’s leadership of the United States is leading his country on a path of decline as a world power. David Cameron must learn from Obama’s mistakes, and take Britain down a completely different path based on clearly defined conservative principles, which advance rather than constrain British leadership.

Cross-posted at The Telegraph.

Nile Gardiner writes at The Heritage Foundation and he is Director of  The Heritage Foundation’s Margaret Thatcher Center For Freedom.

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