British PM Warns Obama on Protectionism, WaPo Buries on Page A15

British premier Gordon Brown, a former chancellor of the Exchequer -- analogous to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury -- delivered a thinly-veiled entreaty to President-elect Barack Obama to eschew trade protectionism in a November 10 speech, reports Kevin Sullivan of the Washington Post Foreign Service. Post editors buried Sullivan's 18-paragraph article on page A15:

LONDON, Nov. 10 -- Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday warned that trade protectionism would worsen the global financial crisis, a remark widely perceived as aimed at U.S. President-elect Barack Obama.

In a speech lauding the "global power of nations working together," Brown called for "rejection of beggar-thy-neighbor protectionism that has been a feature in transforming past crises into deep recessions."

Obama's campaign rhetoric struck some allies as protectionist, particularly his calls for tax incentives to discourage companies from relocating jobs away from the United States.

"It's not pointed, but Brown is sending a nice, cautionary message to Obama," said Michael Williams, an analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a London research organization.

"When the U.S. makes policy, it can't just think about America, because its policies have ramifications in every part of the world," Williams said. "Brown is telling Obama, 'If you set an example, others will follow.' Obama should probably take that to heart."

It's hard to believe such criticism would be buried so deep in the paper had Sen. John McCain won the election, particularly given his admission last year that economics was an issue that he's "understood as well as [he] should have."

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.