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Are UK/US relations really so "special"?

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Aileen
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Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « on: December 05, 2010, 06:56 AM »
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The Special Relationship is a phrase used to describe the close political, diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States, following its use in a 1946 speech by British statesman Winston Churchill. While both the United Kingdom and the United States maintain close relationships with many others, the level of cooperation in economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing with each other has been described as "unparalleled" among major powers. The special relationship was most recently demonstrated by their mutual support for the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq.

Wikileaks reveal US diplomats' view of UK as ally
The leaked diplomatic cables from the US embassy in London show the reality of the American relationship with Britain.

"... The overall impression given by these telegrams is that Britain is regarded as a useful asset for the United States and that it must not be allowed to think otherwise ..."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11918156

While we do need the US as allies, Britain has sometimes been referred to derisively as "the 51st state", and for good reason.   British governments, in particular the last Labour government and now the Coalition, have mostly been eager to cosy up to the US, and the US has been only too happy to comply, but the relationship has more often than not favoured American interests.  It's time Britain got out from under.

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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #1 on: December 05, 2010, 08:09 AM »
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It is "special" and in my view will always remain so, irrespective of which politicians are in pole position.

Historically …  the relationship is 200 years old with the Brits establishing the 13 colonies which were the nucleus of what is now known as The United States of America; English was adopted as the common language, as were legal theories and lifestyle.

Today economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing is unparalleled.  Both countries are among the founders of the United Nations, NATO, World Trade Organisation and G8.

And apart from that, the peoples of both countries truly like each other, undoubtedly because of this shared background.   Various elements of the North American lifestyle have crept into the UK – not all for the best … think KFC  Smile… and no doubt will continue to do so.
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Ruthie
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 04:31 PM »
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I think the SR belongs to an era that is past.  We are now a member of the European Union and I'd like to see our governments more oriented towards that.  And the fulcrum of global power is shifting away from the US eastwards anyway.  Much as I enjoy visiting the US etc, I think it's recent political influence in the world has been largely negative cf Iraq.
I agree Aileen that Britain should get out from under but with no illusions that it is still a 'world power'.
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #3 on: December 05, 2010, 05:43 PM »
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I think the SR belongs to an era that is past.  We are now a member of the European Union and I'd like to see our governments more oriented towards that.  And the fulcrum of global power is shifting away from the US eastwards anyway.  Much as I enjoy visiting the US etc, I think it's recent political influence in the world has been largely negative cf Iraq.

Agree with this entirely. Americas global dominance is waning and the new centres of power will by the EU, India and China.

The EU is now the largest economy in the world and is both the largest importer and the largest exported. Forgoing the "special relationship" for greater ties with Europe is definitely the right thing to do.

* listens to hear Nigels spluttering *
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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 05:56 PM »
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And the fulcrum of global power
Americas global dominance is waning and the new centres of power will by the EU, India and China.


Thought we were talking about the special relationship rather than global power?

Also, think China is right on the verge of "owning" the US ...
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #5 on: December 05, 2010, 06:01 PM »
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Thought we were talking about the special relationship rather than global power?

Does the special relationship have any relevance if the US is not a global power? Better to be a big player in the EU than have a "special relationship" with a broken ex-superpower.
Also, think China is right on the verge of "owning" the US ...

Yep. At some point the other shoe will drop and it won't be pretty.
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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #6 on: December 05, 2010, 06:04 PM »
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Does the special relationship have any relevance if the US is not a global power? Better to be a big player in the EU than have a "special relationship" with a broken ex-superpower.
Yep. At some point the other shoe will drop and it won't be pretty.

I already stated my viewpoint, and I'm not going to flog a dead horse ...  Smile

Speaking of the EU (off topic) ... who's going to pay when these various EU countries fail?  Where's the money coming from?
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #7 on: December 05, 2010, 06:06 PM »
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That's what makes it a special relationship ... I already stated my viewpoint, and I'm not going to flog a dead horse ...

The special relationship only exists because it is advantageous to both parties. The Americans get an insider in the EU, and we get to pretend we are still a global power.

Quote
Speaking of the EU (off topic) ... who's going to pay when these various EU countries fail?  Where's the money coming from?

Qantitive easing. There's also the expectation that the IMF and EU grants will actually help to reassure private investors, who will put money in and, one suspects, make a ******* killing when the upswing starts.
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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #8 on: December 05, 2010, 06:08 PM »
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The special relationship only exists because it is advantageous to both parties. The Americans get an insider in the EU, and we get to pretend we are still a global power.

Qantitive easing. There's also the expectation that the IMF and EU grants will actually help to reassure private investors, who will put money in and, one suspects, make a f**king killing when the upswing starts.

  Believe that is what I said.

Do the Brits really think they are a global power ... don't think so.

Anyone who puts up money to bail out people/countries who have been spending money they don't have, deserve to make a killing!
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #9 on: December 05, 2010, 06:09 PM »
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Anyone who puts up money to bail out people/countries who have been spending money they don't have, deserve to make a killing!

In the case of Greece? Sure.

In the case of Ireland, which has largely been ****** over by the bank bailouts, not so much.
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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #10 on: December 05, 2010, 06:10 PM »
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If I'm going to lend someone money, I am quite definitely not going to do it for no return ... are you?
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #11 on: December 05, 2010, 06:12 PM »
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No. Though if I were a banker who had been bailed out, I'd probably feel a small twinge of guilt. Which I'd swiftly extinguish with some nice cocaine.
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Daisy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #12 on: December 05, 2010, 06:14 PM »
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Bankers don't have a conscience ...  otherwise they'd be something else.
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Tommy
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #13 on: December 06, 2010, 11:23 PM »
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The relationship is totally special. And it will most likely continue to be special.....probably not as special but who knows we shall see.

Anyone is the world should obviously want the US as an ally.... The US as an enemy is a scary thing to think of.
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Aileen
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Re: Are UK/US relations really so "special"? « Reply #14 on: December 07, 2010, 05:26 AM »
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The relationship is totally special. And it will most likely continue to be special.....probably not as special but who knows we shall see.

Anyone is the world should obviously want the US as an ally.... The US as an enemy is a scary thing to think of.
Of course the UK needs the US as an ally, but it should do so now on its own terms.

Britain came in very useful when Tony Blair agreed with George W Bush to, very questionably, put the boot into Iraq, with disastrous consequences, and Afghanistan has rapidly become another Vietnam.  The war against the Taliban is unwinnable - even the might of Russia in the 1980s couldn't bring that country to heel - yet Brown and Cameron were, and are, seemingly incapable of ordering the withdrawal of British troops from there now, after 9 years of largely unproductive conflict.  It's a huge waste of men and money, and since the Brown years, if not earlier, Britain hasn't even been able to afford to keep its troops properly equipped.

Harold Wilson, between 1964 and 1968, had the guts to repeatedly refuse Lyndon Johnson's requests to send troops to Vietnam, and US/UK relations sank to an all-time low, the US effectively throwing its toys out of the pram, but our relationship with America survived.  I see no reason now why British politicians still persist in clinging onto its coat-tails, and I get the impression that President Obama wouldn't be too worried if Britain lessened its grip.  America is no longer the all-powerful nation it was, it certainly has its own problems in abundance, and seems to be turning more towards China, whose world dominance is rapidly growing, as its chief ally.  Certainly relations between Obama/Brown and now Obama/Cameron seem to be somewhat cool, despite Cameron's obsequious overtures, only he does say that the special relationship will be "different" - a remark as yet unspecified.

Much as I detest the EU, I think that being a member is, for the moment at least, Britain's best option.  
[ Last edit by Aileen December 07, 2010, 07:41 AM ] IP Logged
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