British prime minister candidate Nick Clegg has expressed his opposition to the Iraq war, raised concerns about the mission in Afghanistan, and criticized Britain’s role in facilitating torture. In the UK’s second-ever prime ministerial TV debate last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown unfairly accused the Liberal Democrat Clegg of being “anti-American.” On Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell echoed Brown’s attack on Clegg, saying that Clegg “is very anti-American” on certain foreign policy issues. Guest Zbigniew Brzezinski immediately rejected Mitchell’s claim:
MITCHELL: Nick Clegg, the LibDem candidate, is very anti-American on the subject of Iraq, Afghanistan and engagement.
BRZEZINSKI: I wouldn’t call him anti-American. I’m against Iraq too.
MITCHELL: I mean in terms of the special relationship.
BRZEZINSKI: No, I know what you mean. Yeah.
MITCHELL: He’s more of a skeptic.
BRZEZINSKI: But I think we need a Britain that plays a key role in Europe because then we’ll have a stronger European voice to which we’ll have to listen to seriously.
MITCHELL: He’s also a Euro-skeptic.
BRZEZINSKI: Well, that’s Cameron, particularly.
Brown’s campaign has been reeling following a recent open-mic gaffe in which he called a traditional Labour voter “bigoted.” Clegg, on the other hand, has experienced a dramatic rise in the polls on the strength of his progressive policy positions. Though Clegg has criticized what he calls “the default Atlanticism that has governed British foreign policy,” he also considers himself “an Atlanticist” who desires “a positive, strong and even uniquely warm relationship with the United States.” As Brzezinski pointed out, Clegg is hardly the Euro-skeptic that Mitchell claims, either. In fact, Clegg believes that “Britain has much greater influence on the world stage when it works within a strong Europe.”