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Britain hints at shift in relations with US

One of new Prime Minister Gordon Brown's closest Cabinet colleagues has hinted at a change in Britain's relationship with the United States, The Guardian reported on Friday.

International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said in a speech in Washington late Thursday that nations had to build new alliances, and that a country's strength should no longer be measured by its destructive military power. “In the 20th century, a country's might was too often measured in what they could destroy. In the 21st century, strength should be measured on what we can build together,” he said at the Council on Foreign Relations think-tank.

“We need to demonstrate by our deeds, words and our actions that we are internationalist, not isolationist, multilateralist, not unilateralist, active and not passive, and driven by core values, consistently applied, not special interests.” said the secretary, who is seen as one of Brown's closest allies. “And so, we must form new alliances, based on common values, ones not just to protect us from the world, but ones which reach out to the world.” said he. In his speech, Alexander repeatedly argued that although terrorism and extremism sometimes had to be combated by force, victory would not be secured by military means alone.

“Given the interconnected nature of the challenges we face, I would argue that we have to simultaneously be fighting to end poverty, to secure trade justice and to tackle conflict and climate change, as well as working to defeat terrorism and ensure the preservation of our security,” he said. And he also urged the United States to remain engaged on issues such as climate change and Africa, saying, “There are few global challenge that do not require the active engagement of the US.” It was the first speech abroad made by one of Brown's senior cabinet ministers since he took office on June 27. (