Sunday, March 28, 2010

Nothing special 

Via Instapundit, an article from Times in the United Kingdom with the headline, "It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead"
Britain's special relationship with the US — forged by Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world war — no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America’s relationship with Britain is no more special than with its other main allies, according to a report by the Commons foreign affairs committee published today.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after the Iraq war as America’s “subservient poodle” has been highly damaging to Britain’s reputation and interests around the world. The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be “willing to say no” to America.
If the special relationship is in fact dead, that saddens me. My late father fought side by side with members of the Royal Navy during WWII in the Atlantic, and his ship nearly took a U-Boat torpedo in the stern that instead hit the HMS Regent Lion and eventually caused her to sink near Gibraltar (though U-300 was herself sunk by British minesweepers a week later).

There is something diminished if Great Britain is just another ally. Is this a natural outgrowth of the end of the Cold War and a closer alignment of British interests with the mainland of Europe? Is it a result of the increased level of anti-American sentiment in the U.K. during the Bush-Blair alliance with respect to Iraq? Is the straw that broke the camel's back the perception (common in righty blogs here, and across the spectrum in the U.K.) that President Obama feels chilly toward Brits because of his Kenyan heritage and the bad and recent colonial history there, and the manner in which it may have affected the president's father?

Perhaps the most important question is, strategically, does it really matter if the two governments are just friendly and not BFFs? It is not as if the U.K. can fund even a portion of the defense/defence budget it had as recently as the Falklands conflict, nor does it have a fraction of the intelligence budget it had when the first James Bond movie was made in the 1960s (indeed, the worldwide gross of the most recent Bond movie is probably not too far from the annual budget of MI-6). London is still a major money center, and there is generally a great natural affinity between the citizens of the two countries. (Having dated a British woman within the past decade, I can say that such affinity exists.) Britain is still a nuclear power (though many in the U.K. would like it to unilaterally stand down its arsenal) and still has a seat on the Security Council at the U.N., and Whitehall has some influence with Commonwealth countries. What are the possible consequences to the United States if the special relationship is now nothing special?

CWCID: Glenn Reynolds


By Anonymous tyree, at Mon Mar 29, 12:50:00 AM:

The Obama administration has done a lot to damage our relationship with many of our traditional allies. If our relationship with Great Britain is now nothing special we can expect a much more difficult road ahead in our long war against Muslim terrorism. In addition, we can expect that fewer nations will want to ally with us because we are so politically unstable. The Democratic Party really hurt us with their support of the jihadis and Hamas.  

By Blogger Gary Rosen, at Mon Mar 29, 01:06:00 AM:

All things change, and perhpas it was inevitable that our "special relationship" with Britain would be less than it once was. But this in no way excuses Obama's disgraceful, contemptuous behavior towards a longtime ally as close as the UK has been.  

By Blogger JC, at Mon Mar 29, 03:40:00 AM:

Howabout its as simple as Obama seeing Gordon Brown as dead meat, and he's averse to the smell?


By Blogger Don Cox, at Mon Mar 29, 03:55:00 AM:

People have been saying the special relationship is over for at least the past 60 years.

The claim usually comes from anti-Americans in Britain, and anti-British in the US. It is revived every time there is a disagreement.

Your theory about Brown being dead meat may be true.  

By Blogger Buku, at Mon Mar 29, 08:11:00 AM:

I dissagree. I spent two combat tours side by side with the Brits. There is a special relationship that goes deeper than mere language. We have been there before together, and well be there together again in the future.

While DoD doesnt dominate State here, or MoD over there, we do supply a lot of the leadership... Captains today become secretarys in 20 years.

Anyone who believes we wouldnt come to Britain's aid or vice versa when the chips are really down is fooling themselves.  

By Anonymous E Hines, at Mon Mar 29, 08:13:00 AM:

Why the surprise that the US-UK special relationship is over? After all, we have it on very good authority that there no longer is anything exceptional about the US. The former is just a natural evolution of the latter.

Eric Hines  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 29, 09:12:00 AM:

Or maybe those America-hating liberals were right about a unilateral, armtwisting approach.

"In an apparent rebuke to Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush, the report says there are “many lessons” to be learnt from Britain’s political approach towards the US over Iraq."

Obviously, this implies everything is Obama's fault, tyree. RTFA.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 29, 11:57:00 AM:

Can it be true that Britain is being shoved under the bus? If it weren't true the administration would be hurriedly out in front of this story, trying hard to assure Americans we aren't abandoning our most valued allies. Viewed through the lens of what isn't happening, the dog that isn't barking, it's easy to see that the silence from Washington (and most particularly from the State Department) is very telling indeed.

So, yes, the "special relationship" is toast.

Why? The President's personal animosity for England's treatment of colonial Kenya? Or do we have too many friends, and need to "unfriend" a few? Are so many countries rushing to fight alongside us in Afghanistan that we have to cut back? Is it that so many countries of the world are seeking to work closely with us in building democracies, to stabilize the financial system, to manage the unmanageable UN bureaucracy, to contain Iranian ambition, to maintain fragile peace in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and South America, to foster weak economies around the world.

Didn't the Democrats run on a policy of encouraging our friends? Rebuilding alliances?

What a horse pucky administration.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Mon Mar 29, 01:19:00 PM:

Maybe Barry HO can send the PM a DVD set that he could actually play? Or send the Queen a clean ipod, one WITHOUT a bunch of his blatherings pre-loaded?  

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