Britain woke up to a new political era today with the first coalition government since World War II—an unlikely marriage between the Conservative Party and the left-leaning Liberal Democrats. With a handshake, smiles and waves, the Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed his new coalition partner, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, outside the shiny black door at 10 Downing Street and set off on the business of running the country.
The government will immediately begin tackling Britain's record $236 billion deficit. It is still unclear whether the Liberal Democrats will back the Conservatives' plan to begin immediate spending cuts—a punishing course of action that isn't likely to win praise. Both Cameron and Clegg have acknowledged that Labour—in power for the last 13 years—was too closely tied to Washington's interests. Both men back the Afghanistan mission, but Cameron hopes to withdraw within five years. (Read more David Cameron stories.)