During the recent US Presidency election, two warnings about a Barack Obama victory stuck in my mind. The first was about his commitment to significantly increase the number of troops in Afghanistan - perhaps with Britain expected to pick up part of the increase. We know that 'the surge' changed the direction of the war in Iraq, and this may have influenced Obama. But Afghanistan is not Iraq, and its not next door to Pakistan. Anyway I'm not qualified to take up a firm opinion on this, but the person who warned me that this was a most unwise policy is a man with Cabinet experience. He told me that he expects the US President to change his mind.
The first warnings about the second issue came from Dr Christopher Woods on my blog. He kept informing us that Obama was into protectionism in a big, big way - concluding that this would damage the economies of the US's trading partners, including Wales. It was certainly one of Obama's main election pitches. We're soon going to find out to what extent he meant it. Boris Johnson has written a splendid article today, which informs us that President Obama has enacted a Buy America Act, which restricts the $850 billion that forms his 'financial stimulus' to businesses which use American steel. I don't know whether the final decision has been taken or not.
This is very bad news for the rest of the world. Tit for tat action against the US will follow. Today, there is a deafening amount of sabre-rattling. In Britain we are watching the fallout from Gordon Brown's ridiculous claim that he supported 'British Jobs for British workers'. And we are hearing US commentators making aggressive and dismissive noises about China. I'm just watching John Bruton, ex Prime Minister of Ireland refusing to believe that Obama is not going to veto this - and went on to concede there will be retaliation if he doesn't. Could it be that some of the shine may come off Barack Obama rather more quickly than we were expecting.