For all the media talk, I never thought the relationship between Britain and America was unique. Surely if Britain has a special relationship with any North American country it is Canada not America. Canada even has our Queen as head of state and if you look through history the Canadian relationship has always been steadfast, from the 1812 War when they sided with us through to the First and Second World Wars, where they fought by our sides from the very start as part of the commonwealth forces.
Similarly Australia and New Zealand have always enjoyed a far more special relationship with Britain than the Americans. Indeed India, the jewel in the Crown of our Empire and a nation steadily increasing in power and influence on the global stage, has always had a unique and endearing relationship with Britain.
I don't recall playing the Americans at cricket or rugby, or enjoying the same jovial banter with them over sport in the way we do with say the Ozzies over the Ashes.
To be honest relations between Britain and America have at times been strained since the end of World War 2.
America's demands had to be met after World War 2 in order that they loaned us money to prevent imminent bankruptcy. The withdraw from Empire being one of these demands, as well as the partition of Palestine and a recognised jewish state of Israel, something Britain warned against, but as a nation bankrupted by war we had little say in the matter.
The relationship between Harold Wilson and Lyndon Johnson was also a particuarly low point in post war relations, with Harold Wilson refusing to send British forces to Vietnam. Indeed it is roumoured that the two men were barely on speaking terms.
Harold Wilson, Lyndon Johnson and the Vietnam War, 1964-68
The fact that the Americans also did little to stop Irish Terrorist fund raising within their country until after 9/11, saw many commentators question this new 'War on Terror'. Indeed where had the Americans been during Britain's war on terror and did they not realise that terrorist states from the middle east including Libya and Iraq had close links with Irish terrorist organisations.
Rod Liddle: We're their allies - so why aren't they ours? | World news | The Guardian
How France helped us win Falklands war, by John Nott - Telegraph
More recently Hillary Clinton's visit to Argentina and the American state departments 'kick in the treeth' to Britain over the Falklands was particuarly galling. Indeed on the very day she demanded that Britain negotiate with Argentina over the Falklands, two British soldiers were killed in Helmand province in Afghanistan. Although during the last Falklands War according to the then Defence Secretary John Nott it was the French who helped us any way, whilst America and the State Department dragged it's feet not wanting to get involved.
Obama Administration Backs Argentina Over U.K. on Falkland Dispute - FoxNews.com
Falkland Islands: The Special Relationship is now starting to seem very one-sided - Telegraph
Hillary Clinton slaps Britain in the face over the Falklands Telegraph Blogs
This more recent kick in the teeth from the Obama Administration has had some British commentators suggesting that Britain withdraws it's 9.000 troops from Afghanistan and redeploys them to the South Atlantic in defence of the Falklands. The Americans State Department could then go to their South American friends to see if they would make up the numbers in Afghanistan and send their young lads to the front line to risk death, injury and disfigurement instead.
To be honest Clinton's intervention at a time when Britain was seeing heavy casualities in the US led War on Terror was particularly repulsive and also a slight to the 255 British Servicemen who died in the 1982 Falklands conflict. Britain having seen the sacrifice and bloodshed of over 600 of it's young men and women since the so called war on terror began, with many thousands more British Service personnel injured and horrible maimed. The war on terror has also cost Britain in financial terms over $30 Billion, a figure which is still accumulating, with new military action in Libya, following Britain's 40,000 strong force in Iraq and 10,000 strong force in Afghanistan. It is little wonder that after spending all this money, at a time of what is now global financial crisis (ironically caused by US Sub-Prime Mortage Crisis) that we are now having to impose military cuts and curb Defence spending, causing Robert Gates and the US to be critical of us and other European nations in the same boat.
BBC News - Cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan tops Â£20bn
As for France being Americas greatest ally, I seem to recall France sending all the American military forces packing from the country back in the 1960's, as well as France refusing to back America's War on Terror in Iraq. I also remember all those 'cheese eating surrender monkey' jibes in the American media.
Barack Obama declares France biggest ally in blow to Special Relationship with Britain | Mail Online
Barack Obama calls France America's strongest ally. The president gives Britain the boot again Telegraph Blogs
The American Spectator : Cruising for Trouble
Britain is home to numerous American bases, including the very secretive Menwith Hill , the largest NSA and NRA base outside of the US. Indeed the NSA and GCHQ have had a very close working relationship over the years (UK-USA Agreement), as do other British and American Intelligence Agencies. Even though Britain didn't become embroiled in the Vietnam War we fed the Americans intelligence via our secret listening posts on Hong Kong, we also let the Americans use strategic bases throughout the world such as Cyprus, Gibralter, Ascension Island and Diego Garcia.
UKUSA Agreement - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAF Menwith Hill - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
RAF Fylingdales - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Britain is also home to Fylingdales, which has been giving the Americans warning of nuclear ballistic missile attack since the 1950's. Whilst USAF bases in Britain such as Lakenheath, Mildenhall, Fairford and the now defunct base at Upper Heyford, were used by the Americans to bomb Libya from in the 1980's, to bomb Kosovo from in the 1990's, to bomb Iraq from during the Bush Administrations so called 'Shock and Awe' campaign in 2002/3. Indeed the rumbling of the USAF B-52's as they took off for Iraq became something that the locals in the small Gloucestershire Cotswold village of Fairford became used to.
Perhaps not getting involved in Vietnam was Britain's best bit of post war policy, and given America's ruthless self serving foriegn policy perhaps it is time Britain looked more closely at this so called special relationship, which seems to be very one sided (even in terms of extradition treaties) and take a leaf out of Harold Wilsons book and tell the American Government 'NO' for once, ironically that is what the French, Americas greatest ally often does.
The French don't just say 'non' when it comes to American Military Internention, the basing of American forces in France or indeed when it comes to US Foriegn Policy, they also sat 'non' when it comes to the extradition of French citizens to America (such as Roman Polanski), unlike the British who signed a very one sided extradition treaty with America, allowing America to extradite at will from the UK.
Time to show just how flawed the US-UK extradition treaty really is - Telegraph
David Blunkett's startling admission on UK-US extradition treaty | Mail Online
In terms of the French, Britain is now building a far closer Defence and Security relationship with them, and perhaps given Americas devided loyalty and ruthless self serving state department, it would be wise for Britain to continue to build closer relations with our European neighbours, as well as those countries we share a geniune special relationship within the Commonwealth.