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I blame Obama and his terrible gift giving. An iPod and some DVDs? Seriously?
March 28, 2010 7:58 PM   Subscribe

The Special Relationship between the US and the UK is over... Perhaps it never really existed outside of the UK anyway.
posted by Artw (86 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll stop using "our" instead of "or," then, in words like "labor" and "color."

Boy, that felt good. Suck on that, King George.
posted by Slap Factory at 8:01 PM on March 28, 2010


Does ... does ... does this mean our invitation to stay for the Poppins has been withdrawn?
posted by WolfDaddy at 8:02 PM on March 28, 2010 [5 favorites]


Wait–so the UK is not just going to blindly follow the US into stupid wars? Good luck finding your own stupid wars, UK!
posted by Mister_A at 8:05 PM on March 28, 2010 [24 favorites]


Well, at least give us credit for skipping Vietnam. If you're only going to pick one stupid war to skip go that one was actually a pretty good choice.

But yes, 1 president earlier would have been better. And it's kind of weird that it's Obama that pushes the UK out so much - everyone in the UK loves him, and hated Bush.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the UK's government has finally decided that being fucked in the ass and operated like a puppet isn't fun anymore? Good for them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:08 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Yeah, that was pretty clever, not going to Viet Nam.
posted by Mister_A at 8:12 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nice to see someone DTMFA.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:13 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


That is an odd article.

Obama, the first president with a primarily Pacific-orientation
What the heck does that mean? Because he is from Hawaii?

And calling a visit by China's president more "important" than a British one is weird too. They may lavish more care on the former, but that's because China is very powerful and a semi-adversary. By that logic, every Soviet and Russian leader was also more "important."
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:13 PM on March 28, 2010


(I was referring to the second article. But both seem to be more about some weird semantic issue than any actual policy change.)
posted by drjimmy11 at 8:15 PM on March 28, 2010


So the UK's government has finally decided...?

No, they've just decided to give the old name a rest. The new phrase is "cultural and diplomatic alliance with benefits," although in some circles it's recognized as a bog-standard D/s treaty. *gazes sternly at UK*
posted by infinitewindow at 8:16 PM on March 28, 2010 [12 favorites]


The only 'special relationship' the US has these days is with Israel.

And that's 'short bus special.'
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:18 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, I've got the Special Relationship right here.

No, really, I do.
posted by mwhybark at 8:19 PM on March 28, 2010


Oh good, another SpecialRelationshipFilter question. Doesn't this properly belong in AskMe?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:19 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the heck does that mean? Because he is from Hawaii?

Well, the Indonesia thing, too.

In any case, it's stupid. I don't think the big O cares for anything outside of the power of the Democratic party. Dude's a machine politician of the old school. You use power to dole out money to buy votes to gain more power.

The UK? For a state gift, Obama's people couldn't even be bothered to check the regional compatibility of a DVD collection crappier than the one I got from MY MOTHER-IN-LAW. And we don't pretend to have a special relationship.
posted by codswallop at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Kiwis jumped ship years ago... so is it just Australia left to leap into future US military disasters?

Did I forget Poland?
posted by pompomtom at 8:23 PM on March 28, 2010


Oh good, another SpecialRelationshipFilter question. Doesn't this properly belong in AskMe?

"My boyfriend keeps convincing me to get into really stupid wars with him, and get people killed, and he keeps flirting with other nation-states, but I love him SO MUCH and I think he's my soul mate. Can I make him love me again?"
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:24 PM on March 28, 2010 [8 favorites]


Memories...
posted by flatluigi at 8:26 PM on March 28, 2010


Alternately:

Memories...
posted by flatluigi at 8:29 PM on March 28, 2010


You know, I gotta hand it to Brown. How fucking British, to seem like you are always about to go down and watch me do my duty until then end, and then "holy fuck, well what do you know, we ended up on top! Why that's happened the last fifteen struggles in a row? Well, God bless the British Empire."

Dunno about any "Special Relationship" at all. Other than, holy shit do these two countries have more in common, or what? I'm not sure if I mean that in the good way.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:29 PM on March 28, 2010


Obama, the first president with a primarily Pacific-orientation
What the heck does that mean? Because he is from Hawaii?


There's actually a term of art, Atlanticism, for favoring cooperation between the US and (originally Western) Europe. (The corollary, Pacificism, is not available for that purpose, although arguably it fits.) During the Cold War, London was clearly the favorite among the three key capitals of the EC (Paris being overtly prickly, Bonn being something of an occupied power), but as the Soviet threat waned, that entree into Europe became much less important. As the EU has grown and asserted itself as a quasi-federal power, both the need for that special relationship and its importance have declined.

I personally think it's still there, just in a small beer form. It remains a bigger thing in the UK because of their own discomfort with being part of the politics of the Continent.
posted by dhartung at 8:30 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


But yes, 1 president earlier would have been better. And it's kind of weird that it's Obama that pushes the UK out so much - everyone in the UK loves him, and hated Bush.

Facts Barack Obama is fully cognizant of.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:31 PM on March 28, 2010


exactly (in preview)

GWB engages UK, alienates everybody else

Obama engages everybody, UK is confused about who is president and feels alienated

er...
posted by victors at 8:33 PM on March 28, 2010


It was all Ernest Bevin's fault (iirc but a quick search couldn't drag up the article I had in mind).
posted by Abiezer at 8:36 PM on March 28, 2010


There's only you in my life
The only thing that's bright
My first love
You're every breath that I take
You're every step I make...

posted by l33tpolicywonk at 8:44 PM on March 28, 2010


To approx. quote Gerhard Schroder: 'The special relationship between Britain and America is so special only Britain knows it exists.'

But they still have Neil Burnside.
posted by Football Bat at 8:48 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I never understood about the "special relationship" is why the UK got it, and Canada and Mexico didn't.

Let's see. Tiny island nation on the other side of an ocean. Two nations (with oil!); one of them really, really fucking big; and both right next door. Hmm. Geez. That's a tough one.

Why did we have one special friend and not three or more?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:51 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uhhhhh, good timing, UK. Who wants to be lumped in with a country that has a president the world actually likes? Really, it's a political masterstroke.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:52 PM on March 28, 2010 [4 favorites]


Memories
Light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories
Of the way we were
Scattered pictures
Of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another
For the way we were...

Memories
May be beautiful and yet
What's too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget

So it's the laughter
We will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were


SOB
posted by sallybrown at 9:05 PM on March 28, 2010 [5 favorites]



In any case, it's stupid. I don't think the big O cares for anything outside of the power of the Democratic party.


An assertion palpably quivering with idiocy.

Non-machine politics, off the top of my head: the re-negotiation of nuclear treaties, diplomatic efforts with turkey, the generation a rapid response fund for emerging democracies, overturning restrictions on stem cell research, credit card reform, the elimination of funding for the F-22 fighter jet program.
posted by lalochezia at 9:06 PM on March 28, 2010 [6 favorites]


Just because you speak our American don't mean we like you, you bunch of taco eatin' Frenchers. Go back Iceland and stop takin' our JORBS!!
posted by nola at 9:09 PM on March 28, 2010


So we don't have a "special relationship", we have a "unique bond". Okay. What's next, a unique relationship, or a special bond?
posted by carping demon at 9:09 PM on March 28, 2010


Prison sex.
posted by Artw at 9:24 PM on March 28, 2010


"And it's kind of weird that it's Obama that pushes the UK out so much"

If you love something, set it free.

And really, my first thought was "But how will kids of the future understand The Sandbaggers?"
posted by klangklangston at 9:33 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Over the longer-term, the UK is unlikely to be able to influence the US to the extent it has in the past"

I sincerely hope this is true
posted by milkrate at 9:37 PM on March 28, 2010


Does that mean no more U.S. versions of British reality shows?

Just asking...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 9:41 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wait–so the UK is not just going to blindly follow the US into stupid wars?

Oooh! Ooooh! Me! Me! Pick MEEE!!!!
posted by flabdablet at 9:47 PM on March 28, 2010


You can't really blame Obama for not being particularly friendly with the UK. It's not enough that we helped Bush start two wars and thus helped create at good portion of the economic shitpile that Obama is getting blamed for, but we're* probably going elect David Cameron (who helps raise funds for the GOP) as the next Prime Minister. If you saw a future of having to shake hands with David Cameron and generally having to put up with his shite in the name of world peace, would you be happy about it? I'd begin the shunning from day one.

*I still need to sort out my vote by proxy. I'm not sure if it's worth the effort. No idea who to vote for, and I don't even live in the country anymore anyway.
posted by saturnine at 10:12 PM on March 28, 2010


Obama, the first president with a primarily Pacific-orientation
What the heck does that mean? Because he is from Hawaii?
It means Obama's a Cowboy!
And Joe Biden is a Yankee from Delaware, its the same old Yankee Cowboy War again .
posted by hortense at 10:22 PM on March 28, 2010


In The Anti-Americans: A Hate/Love Relationship, a British academic discussing teaching in America talked about mentioning the "special relationship" between America and Great Britain during a lecture.

He said one of his students asked if that was something sexual.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:25 PM on March 28, 2010


Oh stop complaining already. At least you didn't have a government that described their alignment with US policies as "carnal relations".
posted by Iosephus at 10:25 PM on March 28, 2010


Everyone needs a shrug.
posted by turgid dahlia at 10:26 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


yeah... this is just a bunch of wank. Someone wants to make some political point, but in reality nothing changes.

wank

wank

wank


In reality, it would be fucking great if each nation was ultimately responsible for it's stated policy. It's a great idea to confer with allies and concerned parties over what you are doing, but take responsibility and make your own decisions. If those decisions align with your friends (as they are likely to do) then great. If not, then act like friends always do when you disagree... go on with your lives.
posted by edgeways at 10:35 PM on March 28, 2010


The UK's relationship with the US has always been "special" in the same sense that a stalker's relationship with Angelina Jolie is "special".
posted by Skeptic at 10:42 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


we're probably going elect David Cameron (who helps raise funds for the GOP) as the next Prime Minister.

Well, Obama making Gordon Brown look like a useless wanker probably didn't really help there.
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on March 28, 2010


But isn't Brown a bit of a useless wanker?
posted by klangklangston at 10:58 PM on March 28, 2010


Well, yes, which is what makes the snub all the crueller - normally this would be a chance to look compitent and popular by association.
posted by Artw at 11:00 PM on March 28, 2010


Apparently people in the UK now hate Brown as much as I hated Blair when I left. It doesn't seem like that should be possible - I hate Blair so very, very much.
posted by Artw at 11:02 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


But he was so well spoken . . .
posted by nola at 11:05 PM on March 28, 2010


Yeah, but Cameron will be so much worse.
posted by klangklangston at 11:07 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The new Polanski film is kind of interesting. If it were a Marvel What If? comic then it would be called "What if... Tony Blair was Roman Polanski", being about a Blair-a-like living in exile in America avoiding arrest for war crimes... just like Roman Polanksi in reverse kida sorta. Oh, and Pierce Brosnan plays the PM Scottish and Ewan McGregor plays an English writer, so there's some odd things going on with accents.

Spoilers: Also the ending appears to come from an old episode of Scooby Doo or something.
posted by Artw at 11:09 PM on March 28, 2010 [2 favorites]


But isn't Brown a bit of a useless wanker?

Wouldn't it depend who you ask? He's an amazing survivor who appeared to save the British banking system from collapse, and depending who you read his policies have resulted in better health and education outcomes for Britain's poorest 20% over the past decade.

It's no sure thing Cameron will get in - the next election may result in a hung parliament and a minority government.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:13 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Kiwis jumped ship years ago...

You know we'd be back in a heartbeat, if you'd just promise us you won't bring those kinky nukes around any more.
posted by WhackyparseThis at 11:17 PM on March 28, 2010


Ah, see, that they let us pretend we own our own nuclear deterent has always been part of the attraction for the brits.
posted by Artw at 11:21 PM on March 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


The supposed special relationship is about as significant as the opinion of the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
posted by Phanx at 11:31 PM on March 28, 2010


Well, Obama making Gordon Brown look like a useless wanker probably didn't really help there.

Whenever a relationship breaks up, there is always one person who is going to be the feeb. They don't necessarily want to get back together, but they are still deriving their self worth from their previous proximity and hate that it's ended and are jealous of the other person's new friends.

In this case it was Brown leaving five messages on Obama's answerphone and still not getting the actual message. He should have been staunch after the first failure and waited for Obama to contact him. Now he just looks desperate.

I'm torn, much as I despise Cameron, Brown really is a bit of a git. I'd never want the tories to win, but labour seems to do better when coming in rather than when incumbent
posted by Sparx at 11:40 PM on March 28, 2010


That said: Brown should totally go to america, avoid Obama, and go on Letterman, getting Mitchell and Webb to write the top ten list. Because if you leave it to Letterman's writers you end up with this. And nobody wants that.
posted by Sparx at 11:47 PM on March 28, 2010


I just invented an awesome Chat Roulette game. Fucking get a load of this shit!

(Video of them playing this game IRL.)
posted by slimepuppy at 12:16 AM on March 29, 2010


I'll never understand politics. All of this fuss over a phrase coined decades ago when the world was a totally different place. If anyone thinks that the US and UK wouldn't instantly be standing beside the other, if the stuff truly hit the fan, they'd have to ignore an enormous amount of recent history.

Heck, just go back to the Falklands war. ISTR that the US government tried pretty unconvincingly to appear relatively neutral, but that fell apart rather quickly, unless I'm grossly mistaken. However, as I said, I don't get politics. Plus, I was a dumb 16 year old kid at the time. Not much has changed for me since then, other than that I've aged, now that I think about it.

I do remember being thrilled at that conflict, though. I would've displayed a Union Jack if I'd had one. Personally, I really like the Brits, and I've no plans on changing that viewpoint any time soon, FWIW.
posted by InsertNiftyNameHere at 12:24 AM on March 29, 2010


What did America do for us during Falklands? It was something slightly different from "fuck all" but not a lot wasn't it?
posted by Artw at 12:27 AM on March 29, 2010


The UK government is only about twenty years behind Hitchens.

(It's a good book, incidentally.)

It took Gallipoli and Crete to wean the ANZACs off thinking that Britain loved them; I guess it took Iraq and the GFC for the Brits to realise the same about the USA.
posted by rodgerd at 12:39 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll never understand politics. All of this fuss over a phrase coined decades ago when the world was a totally different place. If anyone thinks that the US and UK wouldn't instantly be standing beside the other, if the stuff truly hit the fan, they'd have to ignore an enormous amount of recent history.

It's the use of the phrase as an easy cover for foreign policy decisions that bothers most. Prime Ministers in the past have been able to engage in pretty stupid endeavors under the guise of "the special relationship". If this condemnation of that phrase at least gets citizens/commentators/politicians to be less credulous and more critical, it will be a step forward. Of course, lots of people already thought the idea of a special relationship was risible, but this should strengthen them at least a little.

Hopefully the "Anglosphere" will die a death and we can get on with being part of Europe again.
posted by Sova at 12:52 AM on March 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Atw: the U.S. provided logistical support.
posted by delmoi at 12:53 AM on March 29, 2010


Well I'm confused.

I spend the better part of a decade thinking the "special relationship" is wank; a joke that we Brits just don't get; an excuse for America to keep nukes on our soil. Then, a month ago Jon Stewart mentions it on The Daily Show. I had started thinking that maybe it did exist, and that Blair really did reign Bush in to the extent that he didn't decide to go to war with Iran.

And now. Now everyone is saying it's over.

I always thought it a shame that Brown and Obama didn't appear to get on so well. They're both much more serious politicians that Blair or Bush ever were, and you get the feeling that they both actually care. I suppose that Democrats have always been wary of Westminster though.

Falklands: Maybe the US will get behind us more on this now there's a sniff of oil in the region.

Brown: I really like Brown, and as Aspergers as he appears, I think that he's clawing vote share back by appearing to just get on with the job. I think the admissions of errors, and his temper have actually endeared him to the public. Cameron doesn't get this, but there is a feeling that things are OK at the moment, and it's nice to be able to look at a leader and know he's not coated in slime. (I probably won't vote Labour - but only because I really don't rate my local MP - Linda Riordan)

COME BACK ALICE. WE LOVE YOU.
*ahem*

He is lucky as well. His party almost imploded when known Blairites Hoon and Hewitt tried to oust him. Now look at them. How on earth can the conservatives safely spin either the lobbying allegations or his unpopularity now.
posted by seanyboy at 12:53 AM on March 29, 2010


the US government tried pretty unconvincingly to appear relatively neutral

They convinced me. Actually, 'neutral' would overstate it; there was a lot of talk of hemispheric solidarity and I quite thought the US government was limbering up to call in Mrs T and tell her that if she persisted they were going to have to consider denying her crummy improvised fleet access to the South Atlantic in the general cause of world peace and anti-colonialism. That would have been more in tune with the general tenor of postwar transatlantic relations. It seemed then as if it was only American public opinion which prevented the government following its natural inclinations by giving priority to friendly relations with General Galtieri.

'Special relationship' is just a journalist's phrase that they pull out when a US president visits. When the French President visits, they start talking about the 'entente cordiale'; when the Portuguese President visits they start talking about 'our oldest ally' (Remember Aljubarrota!).
posted by Phanx at 1:37 AM on March 29, 2010


I'm pretty sure the UK is the USA's moped.
posted by srboisvert at 2:02 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


We wouldn't be having this discussion if Billy Bob Thorton hadn't hit on Hugh Grant's servant. What an ass, right?

Yes, I turn to Love Actually in moments like this and reflect on its prescience.

Press Conference Reporter: Mr. President, has it been a good visit?
The President: Very satisfactory indeed. We got what we came for, and our special relationship is still very special.
Press Conference Reporter: Prime Minister?
Prime Minister: I love that word "relationship." Covers all manner of sins, doesn't it? I fear that this has become a bad relationship; a relationship based on the President taking exactly what he wants and casually ignoring all those things that really matter to, erm... Britain. We may be a small country, but we're a great one, too. The country of Shakespeare, Churchill, the Beatles, Sean Connery, Harry Potter. David Beckham's right foot. David Beckham's left foot, come to that. And a friend who bullies us is no longer a friend. And since bullies only respond to strength, from now onward I will be prepared to be much stronger. And the President should be prepared for that.
--

Who didn't see this coming, really?
posted by empyrean at 2:29 AM on March 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


Uhhhhh, good timing, UK. Who wants to be lumped in with a country that has a president the world actually likes? Really, it's a political masterstroke.

That's really beginning to fade over here by the way, "likes more than the last one" I'll grant you, but even President Obama is not immune to the sheer level of cynicism about politics of people in the UK and Ireland at the minute.

This will probably be welcomed by people here, but nobody will believe that it would change how the UK really operates. Say one thing, do another. That tends to be the way of things.
posted by knapah at 2:42 AM on March 29, 2010


What did America do for us during Falklands? It was something slightly different from "fuck all" but not a lot wasn't it?

They let our military aircraft use the airstrip on our South Atlantic colony Ascension Island, which (by treaty) has been under exclusive US control.

From what I understand, the terms of getting US support in WW2 involved the liquidation of the British Empire; Britain was allowed to keep a few shreds, with a tacit understanding that they would be made available to the US for strategic purposes. Hence Diego Garcia and the dispossession of the Chagos islanders, and US control over Ascension.
posted by acb at 3:44 AM on March 29, 2010


I'm pretty sure the UK is the USA's moped.

We do only need two strokes.
posted by vbfg at 4:06 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a minor derail, the BBC News article up there points out something I never realised - Winston Churchill coined both of the phrases "special relationship" and "Iron Curtain", and he did it in the same speech. The dude was a catchphrase-making machine.
posted by ZsigE at 4:13 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


...the power of the Democratic party.

I'm just here to snarkily smirk at this phrase.
posted by DU at 4:52 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a great documentary series on the BBC at the moment, The Great Offices Of State. The last episode was on The Foreign Office and it really brought home how Suez really screwed up out relationship with the US. But it also hinted that we have been able to punch above our weight for a long time due to the intelligence we have provided. Though this has been declining in recent years due to under investment in The Foreign Office starting with, you've guessed it, that Thatcher woman, when she ignored all attempts by the Foreign Office of a negotiated settlement over the Falklands.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:26 AM on March 29, 2010


Special relationship, my arse. Britain is like the beaten wife of a rich lothario with a mean streak. As long as we do as we're told and turn a blind eye those times when we catch him with another partner, our sugar-daddy will buy us some nice jewelery and treat us to a nice meal. Step out of line and it won't be long until we're clinically and brutally apprised of the realities of the relationship. At the end of WWII, one of the goals of the Marshall Plan was to bind an indebted Europe to US ends. Bretton Woods had the breaking of the UK monopoly on trade with the Empire as one of it's specific goals.
The Suez Crisis was the first public demonstration of the new order in which the UK would not be permitted to take overseas military action without, at a minimum, the implicit consent of the US. The casual disregard of UK opinion on Grenada and the lacklustre response during the Falklands War were further indications of the new statis quo.
Britain of the early 20th century was an obstacle to the achievement of the US's manifest destiny, but after two world wars was in no state to oppose it. Successive governments have chosen to deal with this by pretending that we were in agreement with the plan all along, and that we could still do whatever we want. Now the situation is a little different, as the UK becomes more bound to the EU in terms of foreign policy. It's going to be interesting to see how that works out - it would be nice to have foreign policy that did not call for armed or economic invasion at the first sign of defiance, but I won't hold my breath
posted by Jakey at 7:12 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


What did America do for us during Falklands?

Well let's be honest, did you really think you'd need help in the Falklands?
posted by electroboy at 7:18 AM on March 29, 2010


Well let's be honest, did you really think you'd need help in the Falklands?

Many did, and we certainly couldn't do the same thing now. In a straight fight with no logistics necessary, yes. But the logistics are necessary.
posted by vbfg at 7:52 AM on March 29, 2010


What did America do for us during Falklands?

The US provided a lot of intelligence information, including access to spy satellite photos, about Argentine ship and aircraft positions. That's pretty useful.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:01 AM on March 29, 2010


This is what happens when you send generalist reporters to cover stories which need a political specialist. This ‘story’ comes from a press notice issued yesterday by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

The Select Committees exist to scrutinise Government policy, they emphatically do not make it. Had this come from a Minister of the Crown it might have carried some weight but even then, it would have been meaningless. We’re at most 6 weeks from a general election and the likely replacement of whomever sounded off to that effect.

The other side of the election the composition of this Committee is likely to change radically. Fabian Hamilton (Lab, Leeds NE), Andrew Mckinlay (Lab, Thurrock) and Greg Pope (Lab, Hyndburn) are all likely to lose their seats. New Labour loyalist dud, Gisela Stewart (Lab, Birmingham Edgbaston) is a dead duck. The Committee as constituted in the next parliament would be highly unlikely to want to put its name to a report such as this, given that it will be dominated by Tories who instinctively cleave to Washington. Expect this trend to be exacerbated by pressure on Cameron’s right flank with regard to Europe exerted by the likes of Dan Hannan.

The incoming Conservative Foreign Secretary is likely to be William (Jefferson - a clue?) Hague, a McKinsey alumnus, an instinctive Atlanticist who is likely to want to work closely with the State Department. As far as Brits are concerned, we’re going to continue being the sock puppet of the Americans for some time to come. Plus ca change, plus le meme chose.

My sense is that Suez was the end of the Special Relationship, as traditionally defined – Washington as Rome to London’s Greece but as dhartung rightly suggests the development of the EU as a world player rather than a set of trading arrangements has marginalised London’s importance to the US.

It's no sure thing Cameron will get in - the next election may result in a hung parliament and a minority government.

My sense is that this is highly unlikely. The poll of polls tracker consistently gives the Conservatives enough of a swing to have a small but workable majority notwithstanding the hideous electoral mathematics which they’re going to need to have to overcome. Note also the '92 effect' where polling failed to reflect real intentions because people were ashamed to admit to a stranger that they were going to vote Tory. Clearly CCHQ is alive to this as their 'I've never voted Tory' campaign speaks directly to this issue. Now, quantifying this factor - there's the rub.

America has traditionally had a stronger relationship with the Conservatives than Labour from which – with some justification – it viewed with suspicion regarding links to communism. Post 97, the Blair-Clinton axis seemed to cement a Lab/Dems; Con/Reps alignment but of course all this went out the window after 9/11.

The pronouncement from FASC yesterday changes nothing; all we’re going to get in the near future is more of the same. From a policy point of view, were the Conservatives not already committed to son-of-Trident nuclear weapons, Britain's declining influence in Washington makes the maintenance of an independent deterrent all the more important in maintaining the UK's permanent seat at the Security Council.
posted by dmt at 8:01 AM on March 29, 2010 [3 favorites]


One more nail in the coffin of American empire. Even if it's just an acknowledgement that UK interests are no longer tied that closely to the US with the demise of the Cold War, it's a good thing.

ETA: Even if dmt's comments are on the money (which I don't know about but it wouldn't surprise me), the fact that the statement is getting play is still a sign of the decline of the perceived power of empire.
posted by immlass at 8:06 AM on March 29, 2010


Britain is like the beaten wife of a rich lothario with a mean streak.

I suppose one could make a worse analogy. If it were one's goal.
posted by srboisvert at 8:08 AM on March 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


What I never understood about the "special relationship" is why the UK got it, and Canada and Mexico didn't.

That whole Girl Next Door thing never works out.
posted by Doohickie at 9:41 AM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


What did America do for us during Falklands?

Well, for starters, we ignored our own Monroe Doctrine and let the British take on Argentina not only without interference, but with tacit approval and covert assistance.

The US provided a lot of intelligence information, including access to spy satellite photos, about Argentine ship and aircraft positions. That's pretty useful.

One of the turning points in the war was the sinking of the ARA General Belgrano. What most don't know is that the ship used to be called the USS Phoenix. In fact, most of the Argentine navy was composed of ships and material from the United States.

You can bet the British had the complete rundown of every ship, every weapons component, etc. The only surprise of the conflict was the effectiveness of the Exocet missile, and for that, you can blame the French.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:07 AM on March 29, 2010


So does this mean that Felix Leiter isn't going to show up to save James Bond at crucial moments? Just wait. Bond without CIA backup will fare no better than Luke would without R2.
posted by Babblesort at 10:27 AM on March 29, 2010


British Governments have been well aware of both the duplicity and the utility of the special relationship. It's a fantasy to imagine it was a product of romanticism - it was 100% realpolitik at a time when the UK's star was falling, the US rising and Europe was somewhere offshore.
posted by A189Nut at 10:37 AM on March 29, 2010


This whole thread would read better with "You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'" playing softly in the background.
posted by saulgoodman at 12:32 PM on March 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know I'm an idiot, but I'll never understand why most Brits would rather we be America's poodle than an equal partner in a strong EU.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 1:39 PM on April 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Scary foreign languages.

Some pretty nasty wars that make any we've had with America look pretty tame.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on April 1, 2010


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