Sunday Times—It’s over: MPs say the special relationship with US is dead

Posted by Kendall Harmon

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.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UK

16 Comments
Posted March 28, 2010 at 2:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. William P. Sulik wrote:

Change.

March 28, 5:28 pm | [comment link]
2. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

I believe.

March 28, 6:12 pm | [comment link]
3. AnglicanFirst wrote:

One Parliament with a majority of a single party has made a declaration that applies to all Britons.

Amazing.

March 28, 7:29 pm | [comment link]
4. AndrewA wrote:

I thought that Obama would make the world love us again?  Maybe he should have given them some better DVD’s.

Oh well, this is the New Labour that wants to make them subserviant to the French anyway, through the European Union.

March 28, 8:04 pm | [comment link]
5. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

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.

Really?  Is that so?
Britain’s relationship with its MPs isn’t doing so well either.

March 28, 8:11 pm | [comment link]
6. driver8 wrote:

this is the New Labour that wants to make them subserviant to the French

If it meant better bakeries and patisseries in England it may be a deal worth making.

March 28, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
7. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

#6
Ok, that was laugh-out-loud funny!  If I had been drinking a soda when I read that, I would now have a burning fizzy nose.  I hope you are satisfied with yourself!

March 28, 8:35 pm | [comment link]
8. A Senior Priest wrote:

It might also have something to do with Mrs Clinton’s refusing to back the UK over the Falklands. Funny… BHO seems to want to cut off the only to genuine allies we’ve got… the UK and Israel. Perhaps that has something to do with his upbringing.

March 28, 9:45 pm | [comment link]
9. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#8 ASP
We received wonderful support from the US at the time of the Falklands, without which we could probably not have brought the affair to the conclusion which resulted.  Many of us are grateful for this and other occasions when the Special Relationship has proved very real indeed.

March 28, 10:11 pm | [comment link]
10. Sick & Tired of Nuance wrote:

#9 Pageantmaster

As a former Cold Warrior, it makes my heart sick to see the leadership of our two nations so casually throw away the shared history and kinship we have and deep love so many of us have for our friends in the UK.  I know that it is hard to keep in mind, but please try to remember that the United States is deeply polarized right now, and at least half the people of our nation are extremely unhappy with our current leadership and the direction of our nation.  The actions of our representatives don’t necessarily actually represent the feelings and will of the people.

I sincerely hope that the relationship of the US and the UK will endure this temporary…blight, and recover to flourish after 2012.  Pray for us.  Never give up.

March 28, 11:24 pm | [comment link]
11. Jim the Puritan wrote:

In my mind, this has to be largely due to the Obama Administration’s shameful refusal to support Britain with regard to the Falklands.  Nothing has made me more angry about Obama than the fact his government chose to side with the fellow socialist government of Argentina and its renewed specious claims to the Falklands, instead of supporting our oldest ally which has supported the U.S. through thick and thin in the War Against Terror. 

How many British military personnel have died supporting this country since 2001?  And this is the way we respond.  Sometimes I’m very ashamed of our country.  I personally will always be thankful for Britain as a friend of this country.

March 29, 1:51 am | [comment link]
12. RichardKew wrote:

I heard about this vacuous statement on the news as I was driving to an 8.00 Communion service at a little church in the English Fens. The more I thought about it the angrier I found myself getting. I needed a lot of grace to lead the congregation in the familiar words of the 1662 Prayer Book service! As an Anglo-American I found it pitiful, reflecting the Little Englander mentality that seems to prevail in Britain these days, and the flavor of anti-Americanism of the chattering classes and self-appointed elite.

March 29, 5:27 am | [comment link]
13. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

#10 S&ToN;
Thanks - I will.  I have noticed with a new administration, that quite often it starts unsure about a relationship with Britain.  Often however the tone is set from the top.  I remember it happening with Ronald Reagan, who was initially somewhat wary, explained by people at the time as in part due to his Irish American ancestry.  It was also true of Clinton, notwithstanding time spent at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar [or perhaps because of it!].  It was fascinating to watch the relationships warm.  To everyone’s surprise Reagan and Thatcher ended up getting on very well.  It was even more extraordinary to see a relationship with Blair and Clinton develop and even more extraordinary to see that transferred to George W. Bush.  GWB’s father was always pretty friendly.  I am not sure Obama has warmed to Gordon Brown, but that is understandable, we haven’t warmed to Brown either.  However, Obama’s visit here was generally regarded as a success.

But mostly, relationships are built among peoples, and whatever the chattering classses say [as Richard Kew notes], as far as I can see we remain friends.  But like all friendships, they require cultivation and watering, and cannot be taken for granted.

I suspect that friendship will survive new presidencies, and committees of MP’s, many of whom will not be around in six weeks time.  It may be interesting to see how President Obama and David Cameron get on.

March 29, 5:53 am | [comment link]
14. Pageantmaster [Katie bought Welby] wrote:

Mind you, you never know what is going to prove to be a a flashpoint!

March 29, 6:06 am | [comment link]
15. Ross wrote:

#4, #8, #10, and #11—while I won’t deny that recent postures by the current administration may likely have contributed to this statement, if you “read it all” then almost everything they cite as a contributing factor happened under GWB.  They seem to be mostly upset that the U.S. was perceived to have ordered Great Britian around and taken her for granted during the early stages of the Iraq War—hence the “subservient poodle” comment.

March 29, 12:53 pm | [comment link]
16. Jim the Puritan wrote:

This is what the Obama Administration’s diplomatic stupidity has gotten us, siding with a fellow socialist government rather than Britain:

“Argentina demands turnover of Falklands”
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/04/03/Argentina-demands-turnover-of-Falklands/UPI-11061270318638/

Argentina must believe this time we will refuse to support Britain, thus making it extremely difficult to Britain to resupply troops they may have to send in to protect British sovereignty.

April 3, 4:03 pm | [comment link]
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