U.K. and U.S. Can Repair Relationship

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jumpinjarhead, Sep 10, 2009.

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  1. Irwin Stelzer: U.K. and U.S. Can Repair Relationship

    Source: Telegraph (UK) (9-9-09)

    [Irwin Stelzer is the director of the centre for economics policy studies at the Hudson Institute, and editor of the book Neoconservatism.]

    So Scotland Yard is complaining that its overly "edgy" American counterparts almost blew the arrest of the terrorists convicted this week of plotting to blow up several transatlantic flights, by moving prematurely to have one of them arrested in Pakistan. It just shows, say those who deny there is a "special relationship" between the US and the UK, how America ignores the advice of its partner. Not so: the key point is that our countries' security services worked in (imperfect) harmony for several months, and to a successful conclusion. Thousands of lives were spared.

    Last week's anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War also produced unkind words about the special relationship. The indictment of America for treating that relationship as a one-way street, one in which America demands much of Britain in return for little, is not new. After the war, when President Truman abruptly ended Lend-Lease, Britain was forced to negotiate a loan that, despite the best efforts of its brilliant negotiator, John Maynard Keynes, many viewed as onerous. Worse even than that, in some eyes, was what they saw as Dwight Eisenhower's scuppering what would have been a successful effort to unseat Nasser after he nationalised the Suez canal.

    Fast-forward to more recent times and we have the Iraq war, into which special-relationship deniers say Tony Blair led the nation merely "to get up the a––– of the White House and stay there", as your then-ambassador, Christopher Meyer, so elegantly described his instructions.

    You get the idea: the special relationship is a myth, useful when Winston Churchill wanted to induce Franklin Roosevelt to come to his aid, but increasingly a delusion that results in a British foreign policy that serves American interests.

    But consider this. Truman's decision was in considerable part due to America's unwillingness to fund Britain's emerging welfare state, or to make it easier for Britain to maintain its empire, with the associated barriers to American exports. And Eisenhower's position on Suez might have done less to end that adventure than what Harold Macmillan's biographer, Charles Williams, asserts was Macmillan's misrepresentation to the Cabinet of the allegedly dire state of your nation's finances.

    All that is the stuff of historians' arguments. This mere journalist is more impressed with realities on the ground. Ask yourself this: is there any nation that has comparable access to the corridors of power in America: the White House, Congress, the Pentagon? By virtue of a common language; Britain's selection of extraordinarily capable ambassadors to represent it; the appreciation of Americans for Britain's heroic effort to hold off the Nazis while we dithered; and your support in two wars in Iraq and willingness so far to carry a disproportionately large part of the burden of the fighting in Afghanistan, Britain punches so much above its weight in America that to call our relationship with it other than special would be to ignore reality...

  2. Despite what some say, I still think we're pretty close to the Yanks and couldn't see who could replace them as an ally, no other potential superpower has such similar political or cultural values, India maybe but theres still a very chip on the shoulder attitude toward us from the subcontinent, combined with them having massive social problems still to resolve, and Europe is politically divided and militarily inneffectual, China is still an oligarchic single-party state and we have little in common with them, Russia was our rival long before the Cold War and is again now, so these issues, combined with the simple geographic factor of both being on the North Atlantic combine to assure some sort of UK-US strategic partnership...
  3. I can only think of one country to whom the US makes its own interests subservient and can even get away with attacking USN ships without any comeback. And it ain't the UK.
  4. The US is also a Pacific power - as is Russia. Five times more trade now crosses the Pacific that the Atlantic. The world's 3 biggest economies all face the Pacific. The focus of the global economy and world affairs is inexorably moving toward the Pacific. Japan will be a far more important strategic ally for the US than the UK in the 21st cent.
  5. Is it good we are allied with the Yanks, yes it is.

    But i dont trust America. Much like we shouldn't trust any other power on Earth. All states are out for themselves. Its the first law of International Relations.

    America wil protect her interests and we will protect ours. Example: stabbing us in the back during the Suez Crisis.

    Its a marriage of covenience.
  6. Alsacien

    Alsacien LE Moderator

    The US needs the UK to help keep a sense of the broader perspective, the UK needs the US 'cos its big and the UK is not any more.

    American w@nkers struggle more because they don't know they are w@nkers, and if they did, they still would not understand they are w@nkers because they don't know what a w@nker is.
    British w@nkers on the other hand generally know they are w@nkers, and fully understanding what a w@nker is, choose to remain a w@nker by not accepting the reality of the situation.

    Does that sum it up?
  7. erm...I think I follow you. :D
  8. Gave up on Irwin S. because of his continual rants about low-energy lightbulbs.
  9. Ord_Sgt

    Ord_Sgt RIP

    I do like it :D
  10. Where we never seem to have a sober debate isn't 'can', but 'should'? What British interest is going to be served by continuing to be a largely uncritical lackey instead of a steadfastly honest friend?
  11. Probably true, but how does that make them less valuable to us as allies?
  12. It doesn't make them less valuable to us, it makes us less valuable to them.
  13. Not strictly true. I don't think Britain has been following the interests of Britain since Thatcher, or perhaps before. Even in the the Second World War we fought for the greater good rather than ourselves, and it left us penniless and starving while others got richer and fatter.

    Which is why we're in the toilet waiting for the yanks/EU to flush.
  14. How? Look at Japan's pacifist constitution, and the results of the recent elections there, a far less pro-US party has come to power, Japan is important economically but is still a long way from having any military influence, Japans role as a strategic partner for the US can only be very limited without major domestic political change in Japan...
  15. I suspect Japanese forces (even if hidebound by a pacifist constitution) would be rather more useful to Uncle Sam than UK forces in any future standoff with China.

    JMSDF is somewhat larger than the RN these days as well.