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Is the US and UK relationship still special?

08:38 UK time, Sunday, 28 March 2010

The UK government needs to be "less deferential" towards the US and more willing to say no to Washington, a group of MPs has said. Do you agree?

The Commons Foreign Affairs committee said although Britain and the US still had close ties, the UK's influence had "diminished" as its economic and military power had waned.

The committee said the phrase "the special relationship" did not reflect the "modern" Anglo-American relationship and could raise unrealistic expectations about the benefits it can deliver to the UK.

Do you think a special relationship still exists between the two countries? Is the UK too deferential to the US government? How is the UK/US relationship perceived in your country?

Comments

Page 1 of 8

  • Comment number 1.

    It's still special. The UK still unfailingly obeys every order their US masters gives them, and the US still thinks the UK is nothing more than a quaint holiday destination, also suitable for siting weaponry.

  • Comment number 2.

    No, the three main Pro-EU parties are casting their glances across the English Channel now rather than the Atlantic Ocean.
    This is just a build up to dissolving NATO and the formation of a European Defence Force.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    The 'special relationship' generally seems to mean the UK doing as it's told and acting as America's lapdog.

    If it means we will no longer follow America around the world participating in wars that have nothing to do with us, I would consider it a good thing for the 'special relationship' to be over.

  • Comment number 5.

    The US is a special place and key to western security but the cringing use of the term 'the special relationship' by British politicians far exceeds any reciprocal feeling. It makes me squirm with embarrassment and seems to make US Presidents squirm.

    This is one of the best outputs from a committee for a long time.

  • Comment number 6.

    Our relationship with US Governments has been demeaning and recently resulted in our involvement in foreign wars of very doubtful legality and purpose. This supine support, which makes us look like a vassal state, will gain us no credit in Washington, particularly with the current Administration's demonstrated lack of support for UK interests. US Governments always pursue their own national interests to the exclusion of all others. It is time to treat the US on a par with any other friendly democracy and look after our own interests.

    I expect the friendliness of the two populations will continue.

  • Comment number 7.

    UK and US should be mutually deferential. There are many reasons: Firstly in an unfriendly world we need each other. Secondly because we speak the same language we can communicate more effectively. Thirdly we have a far better understanding of each others psche than we could ever have with any of our enemies in the EU.

    Other contributers may like to extend this list.

  • Comment number 8.

    Let's be honest was it ever actually special or do we value the protection we believe they might give us if we needed it? I'm not saying that's neccessarily the case, but I do think we are afraid of being without the apparent protection of a super power.

  • Comment number 9.

    This practice of brown-nosing the schoolyard bully is humiliating to our nation, and should end immediately. We are big enough to stand on our own two feet.

  • Comment number 10.

    Is the US and UK relationship still special? No. The UK must never again be seen as America's Poodle.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Was it ever Special, or is it only special in the eyes UK Governments
    and Politicians, The only Prime Minster to tell the US to take up SeX and Travel Harold Wilson was then the target of CIA smear capaign.

  • Comment number 13.

    I thought England controlled the U.S.A?

  • Comment number 14.

    Blair, Brown and Bo still enjoy that very special relationship with Mr Obama.

  • Comment number 15.

    The only country with a special relationship with the USA is Israel right or wrong they garner support, Obama was noticeably luke warm over Argentinean threats to the Falklands sovereignty if they had a special relationship it was never as portrayed America charged a high price for its help in the world wars including ending sterling as the currency of the world.
    All this country has had is the down side from troop deaths recently to our forces being killed by the IRA from weapons the USA would not sell to us for testing but two were shipped to the IRA hardly the actions of a friend let alone one with whom you supposedly have a special relationship there is nothing special about a servant Master relationship!

  • Comment number 16.

    This 'special relationship' phrase has always made my skin crawl and has made the UK politicians that uttered it look weak. When it comes to international interests the only thing that matters is money. Any politician that presents any kind of sentimental rhetoric, speaking of nation states like they're people, is not to be trusted.

  • Comment number 17.

    I always remember how the US responded when we went to war in the Falklands. They gave us their best wishes. Funny but I understand that is what they did in 1939.

  • Comment number 18.

    The reason UK governments have done their best to talk up the special relationship and to be the US's super ally is so that they can pretend to still have the world leadership position, that their predecessors had at the end of WW2. They also depend on the US for the maintenance of their nuclear deterrent, which they feel justifies the UK's position as a permanent member of the security council.

    The UK has paid a heavy price in blood and treasure for being the US's number one ally during Bush junior's presidency. President Obama, after 40 years during which the US largely ignored its obligation under the NPT to get rid of its nuclear weapons, seems about to start doing so. So now is the time to redefine the relationship.

    Although UK citizens have many things in common with the US, we also have more in common with Europeans in some areas. Torture is an example, where the US attitude seemed to be that the US state need only bother about the human rights of US citizens. Another was Bush junior's disregard for US obligations under the UN Charter. The attitude of many Americans to the acceptance of collective responsibility for the provision of health care, has also underlined an important difference.

  • Comment number 19.

    I believe Hugh Grant said this very thing a few years ago when he was Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 20.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 21.

    The Special Relationship has always been a myth.

    The Americans found a simple way for us to pay for their support in WW2. They sent in a bill that we only just finished paying 2 years ago. In reality they view us as an ex-imperial power that needed to be dismantled and after WW2 it was. It should not be a surprise that we tend to do what the Americans say, they are the bigger power with the greater influence.

    The only real tie is a similar oipinion on most overseas issues and we both speak English. Because it is still a dominant power we have to pay attention to it but our real future has apparently been decided to be in Europe. Future important powers are China and India.

  • Comment number 22.

    WWII - during and after certainly created a 'special' 'financial' relationship with America that's for sure. America charged Britain £billions for it's involvement in WWII.

    The special relationship has always been about financial cost of wars:
    Until recent years, Britain has been paying 2% of GDP to pay the massive 'INVOICE' America charged Britain for 'support' against Hitler.

    Britain paid £billions to America for American military intervention and to American corporate arms companies.
    British naval and merchant seamen died to protect American conveys to deliver American 'way' products for the 'comfort' of American troops to Britain.
    Pearl Harbour instigated a wake-up call for America too?

    To this day America is calling on Britain to support their wars? The debt to America - financially and morally - is now a one-way street for America? Britain has paid it's debts and so-called debts constantly - in every way you can imagine - enough is enough?


  • Comment number 23.

    It's special for the Americans in the sense that they can have any one of us extradited to the US and we cannot have any American extradited to the UK.

    It's special for the Americans in the sense that they can tell our government to send our sons and daughters to far-off lands to fight wars for America.

    It's special for the American government as New Labour has sold our country to the Americans and puts America before the United Kingdom.

    Finally, it's special for members of the British government as, once they have milked our country and the British taxpayers for as much as they can and they finally get booted out of government for sleaze and corruption, America is the country they will turn to in order to make more millions. It was no coincidence that Tony Blair was liked more in America than he was in the UK.

  • Comment number 24.

    The 'special relationship' has always been a polite fiction, one that Suez exposed in the 1950s. The truth was further reinforced during the Cuban missile crisis when the US Government was making plans that involved the distruction of Britain by Soviet missiles while keeping these plans secret from MacMillan.

    The UK has been in a decline as a world force for decades and so latches on to the US in order to gather some crumbs from the table. In doing so, we have exposed ourselves as a target -"riding pillion" on US foreign policy as a Chatham House study put it in 2005.

    For the US we serve as a figleaf. Even our token participation and support for essentially unilateral US actions (such as the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq) allows them to create the fiction of multilateralism. By siding with the US Government over Iraq, we allowed the Bush regime to tell its population that the US wasn't isolated (which in terms of actual world opinion, it was). We helped enable that attrocity and we will feel the consequences for decades to come. The quid pro quo, which Blair smugly claimed demonstrated our 'influence', was progress on the Israel-Palestine conflict. This turned immediately to ash when Bush did nothing. "Yo Blair", indeed.

    Craven subservience to US interests makes us part of that much used media phrase "the international community" -which is merely a codename for the US and anyone who supports them.

  • Comment number 25.

    How sad - like a child in the playground saying 'I'm not your friend any more'. The American people that I personally deal with are the nicest people you could wish to meet. No bunch of lefties is going to change that. This is just a sop to Europe and Islam.

  • Comment number 26.

    It is time our weak willed Labour government stopped bending over for the US. The Labour party has sold us out in every way it could to the US and even involved us in two needless wars, sacrificing the lives of British soldiers for its benefit (so Blair could get a green card to live in the US, which I see he is using well). Labour has tried to make the UK rely on the US and has even made the BBC so pro US its starting to be like CNN. Its time to stop all this and for the UK to be the UK again.

  • Comment number 27.

    It is not special to the UK at the moment. Recent history shows international relations vary with the character and strength of the respective leaders.
    There was a time when our relationship with Russia was more `amicable´, in the days of Harold Wilson and strong trades unions. When Margaret Thatcher was in power the USA/UK relationship was decidedly different than now. Presently Chancellor Angela Merkel can impose her will from strength of character.
    I watch PMQ´s with dismay,thinking `where, o where,are the leaders of today and tomorrow ?´. I watch the repetitive questions and the negative answers. the smirks and ignorant manners displayed and am filled with sadness that those who profess to save the world cannot even show a modicum of dignity. I listen to the planted questions and think `are these persons really worth the salaries they receive?´.
    And I know that none of those I see could forge a special relationship for, with each new leader, relationships have to be renewed.

  • Comment number 28.

    17. At 12:19pm on 28 Mar 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    ""I always remember how the US responded when we went to war in the Falklands. They gave us their best wishes. Funny but I understand that is what they did in 1939.""

    I also believe they may have offered us a Aircraft Carrier, which we sensibly in hind site we turned down. It has to be said it may have saved more British Lives, lost due to the Bravery of Argentinian Air Force.

  • Comment number 29.

    The only "special" relationship I would like the US administration to focus on right now would be the one with its people.

  • Comment number 30.

    I attempted to use the BBC email application to say this but that sadly was not working. The main sentiment of this article aside I strongly resent the wording "He had been inspired by the countries' shared struggle against Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union". There are sadly ignorant people who may read things like this and begin to put the Soviet Union on the same side as Nazi Germany during world War 2. They were not and the tens of millions left dead in the cities and battlefields of the USSR are testament to the huge sacrifice that the russians made along with everybody else to defeat the vileness of Nazi Germany. Such history should not be forgotten nor given the chance to be misconstrued through poor writing in a news article by an institution from which many glean knowledge and have their views shaped.

  • Comment number 31.

    The US has always done what is best for them, isn't and never was any special relationship.

  • Comment number 32.

    The US only want special relationships when they get what they want, eg allies in Iraq/Afghanistan, missile shield etc.

    The US is a foreign country with their own selfish agenda and should be treated as such. When push comes to shove, ask Tony or Gordon, will Mr President really be there for us?

  • Comment number 33.

    Yes it's true - America and Americans laugh at Britain - the sad third child stuck between America and Europe?

    Yes, British leaders are easily manipulated to join in another war that America starts without British troops having the right kit, choppers etc., etc.? Whoopee!

    Do American people know the real facts - can they please complain to UK Ministry of Defence who fail British Troops who die on the ground for lack of choppers, taliban explosive vulnerable transport and basic body armour and inadequate ambulance and medical support on the ground?

  • Comment number 34.

    Rather than being seen hanging on to America's coat-tails Great Britain has thrown its lot in with Europe. Slowly but surely a divide between us and USA has been widening and once Blair was gone and his mate Bush was out of the picture Brown has taken a few steps back.
    Is this better for this country? I very much doubt it. While we should be more robust in our dealings with the Americans I trust them a whole lot more than I trust those who would be the United States of Europe.
    History has taught us to mistrust our closest neighbours and true to form we are side-lined when it comes to the EU.
    America might like to throw its weight about and act like the world's policeman but I feel safer with them as an ally than a foe. I am not sure that Britain is given much respect from either Europe or America but that is more our problem than theirs.
    Its a hard lesson to learn but we are no longer the super power we once were and are treated accordingly by the rest of the world.

  • Comment number 35.

    # 4. At 12:05pm on 28 Mar 2010, Mrs Vee wrote:

    //If it means we will no longer follow America around the world participating in wars that have nothing to do with us, I would consider it a good thing for the 'special relationship' to be over.
    //

    -What wars have we participated in that have 'nothing to do with us'?

    Removing Saddam Hussein had everything to do with us, along with every other human being on the planet.

    Removing the Taliban - ditto.

    Removing Hitler - ditto.

    It's a shame we didn't remove Stalin as well, but hey, we can't do everything for the world ALL the time.

  • Comment number 36.

    When the chips are down, we generally have common strategic and military interests, this is the basis of the special relationship.

    However, it is embarrassing when people keep going on about it. In most circumstances we are competitors and history shows the U.S. always exacts a price for its support.

  • Comment number 37.

    Governments must represent the people that elected them. The UK Government should always act in accordance with what it perceives as best for the people of the United Kingdom.
    There should never be a reason for deferentiality (with any other country). Rather, the issue should be:
    What is the best decision to take for the people of the UK.
    A "no" doesn't have to be brash; it can be as simple as: "No, the action that you propose contravenes the will of the UK People; further, it's far beneath their dignity or current moral standing...But thanks for asking."
    The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has said a mouthful; certainly I agree: Britain and the US have had close ties (sometimes to close). Whereas I disagree that the UK's influence has "diminished" due to Britain's lessening economic strength or its waning military power. Rather, the factor of diminshment is this: the American world-view never associates friendship with world dominance or imperalism. The Amercan world-view is throw-away, as in - use, abuse and throw away.
    If this world-view matches the world-view of the UK than stay on & cling tight...but if the American world-view doesn't match the world-view of the UK, get far away & stay there.

  • Comment number 38.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 39.

    The special relationship finished when WW2 ended, unless you are talking about the poodles leash that the U.K. wore during the latter half of the 20th C. with pride. We have nothing that really binds us to the U.S. except a common language. You can say commerce etc. but other countries have that relationship. Who do you think the U.S. would rather trade with the U.K. or China. To the U.K. the U.S. is a land of wonder and innovation. To the U.S the U.K. is a land to plunder at will as long as it suits the interest of the U.S. We should have broken free from U.S. influence years ago. I am glad we perhaps beginning to see a new future where we decide our own destiny and not be led to places and events that are not in our interest. Our history is one to be proud of,the U.K. has in the past made great strides in the progress of invention and humanity which we have given freely to the U.S. only to then pay the U.S. for those same great acheivements

  • Comment number 40.

    I certainly hope so! I LOVE America! I hope the relationship lasts forever. xxxxxxx

  • Comment number 41.

    I've never met, or heard, anyone who could explain what the 'special relationship' actually was. Something to do with us being forced to buy all their rubbish TV programmes, maybe?

  • Comment number 42.

    It`s time this country (UK) stopped following the Yanks into every pointless war and backyard scuffle.

    The US/UK special relationship is nothing more than fairy dust.

  • Comment number 43.

    There is a very special relationship between the BRITISH & the AMERICANS. It has nothing to do with politics. It is a thing called ROCK'N ROLL. The French, Chinese and all the other people of this world can't Rock'n roll like the British & Americans can. The world has known much economic wealth from R & R. Think of the amount of PARTY we have known all because of this SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP. The Beatles, Stones Jimi Hendrix, and so many more. The world is a better place because of this relationship. "Rock'n and a Rollin. Lets Party!!!!!

  • Comment number 44.

    The US/UK relationship has always been maintained by war during and since WWII?

    British troops die through lack of equipment and poor standard issue protection and body armor they, personally, have to pay for from their basic salary of around $9k?

    British troops also are dying due to basic land rovers - less safe than an American family 4x4?

    As for choppers for airlift to medical care - virtually non-existent. British Ministry of Defence could buy American choppers 'off the shelf', but refuse to do so - why is that?

    Would appeal to all families of American Military personnel to lobby, and/or complain to Britain's Ministry of Defence to better protect British troops who fight side by side with American troops, with the right suff, but without the right equipment!

  • Comment number 45.

    The 'Special Relationship' may have some reasonance in the past, but now it is only a reason for our armed forces to put their lives on the line to fill the pockets of American big business.

  • Comment number 46.

    Of coarse we have a special relationship with the USA. We are blood brothers. Although that relationship will ebb and flow and the current US administration does not appear to be too interested in the bond. This coupled with a bunch of lefties in government making hay of this with this 'report'. We will always be brothers in arms and will continue our relationship inspite of small set backs which, with the passage of time, will appear like blips. God Bless the USA and UK

  • Comment number 47.

    The links this country has with the US are based on a shared history, language and a similar system of government. World events, especially in the 20th century, have had us working together as allies, based on a shared self-interest. In other areas, we are rivals, but such rivalry has been short of confrontation or conflict. However, the demography of the US is changing in a way that could sever these links. We are members of an economic and trading zone that is in competition with the US, putting a strain on our relations that I believe is no longer special - if it ever really was. That said, there is a fund of good will between us, and long may that continue.

  • Comment number 48.

    As far as the Americans are concerned the "special relationship" has never really existed.

    Their view is basically this: "When the British are useful, they are useful. When they are not we couldn't care less about them".

    But unfortunately our British politicians have a tendency to look for glowing comments from the US as they think it boosts their profile on the world stage. Perhaps it does - for them - but it does nothing whatsoever for the British people.

    The UK is often seen as helpful to the US by offering moral and intellectual support on foreign affairs (e.g. the Iraq war), but lets face it - when do the Americans ever help us on anything?

    Everything is ALWAYS on their terms.

  • Comment number 49.

    The USA uses the UK as a condom to avoid catching anything nasty from the UN while commiting war crimes.
    The UK wants to be best friends with whoever currently owns the empire, (today the USA, - tomorrow, who knows?).
    I don't see anything special about a "partnership" based on murder, greed, war, lies, and blatant hypocrisy.

  • Comment number 50.


    Special? When the USA drags Britain into so many wars, and leaves so many of our young men dead or maimed?

    What happens when Britain would like help with issues like the Falklands? The USA says Good Luck and get on with it we're not risking our young men for you.

    Time Britain told the USA to fight their own wars and stopped dancing to their tune.

  • Comment number 51.

    Get the Democrats and their hair-brained, non-agenda out of there, and maybe the U.S. and U.K will be able to speak with each other again. Enough said on that.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Special' anything to me should be treated with extreme caution. I bought a van once, Special of the Week it was, which turned out to be a tarted up, blown over ex-accident damaged dustbin. I also purposely avoid any 'Chef's Special' on the menu as it is invariably contains all the leftover ingredients which are approaching a more appropriate method of disposal. Come to think of it, perhaps 'Special' IS exactly the right word to describe the relationship we have with our Trans Atlantic masters.

  • Comment number 53.

    For anyone who wishes to cite America's support during WW2 I would highlight the following facts:

    - Britain entered the war in Sep 1939, America afetr Dec 1941. So they weren't too concerned about their "special buddies" for over two years. Only the Japanese bombs got them invovled.

    - After the war the Marshall Plan saw the US throwing money at Germany and other countries to rebuild their infrastructure etc. But they simply sent us a massive bill. Everything was a "loan" to the UK - and billions of pounds later we paid it off in 2008. Thanks very much....

    American entered the war for its own reasons and own ends, and then used the aftermath to boost their global standing while the UK was bankrupt.

    It is absurd to assume the "special relationship" has ever been a two way thing.

  • Comment number 54.

    The "special relationship" went down the tubes after Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagon ceased to be active. It was the "special relationship" concept which took Tony Blair into the Iraq War despite George W Bush sending out wrong messages and information to encourage the co-operation of the UK. Harold Wilson had the right idea when he refused to get Britain involved in the Vietnam War and history shows this was the right decision. Britain is no longer a major world power despite what the politicians may tell us. We are not at the centre of Europe and our relationship with the USA is one of amusement to the Americans. The United States Government has other fish to fry with China and Russia and Britain comes well below this in importance as far as they are concerned.

  • Comment number 55.

    The USA and the UK are two nations divided by a common language.

    Rather than attempting to retain any semblance of a 'special relationship' with the US, the UK should instead take to heart Napoleon's comment about "A nation of shopkeepers" and set itself up as a nodal point for world trade: where else can the Commonwealth, the European Union AND the United States meet, feel welcome, and trade their goods? The UK can have its feet in many camps, and ought to play its cards right and take advantage of that instead of trying to be just the USA's best friend, or just another bit of Europe or just the centre of the Commonwealth.

  • Comment number 56.

    woof woof heel boy !!!!!!!!!! the blind leading those with sight

  • Comment number 57.

    I baffles me as to why we try to maintain our 'special' ties with America. Europe is a far more important concern for us, and we should be concentrating our efforts on that. Namely trying to get better value for the vast sums of money we give to the EU, for precious little in return.

    America is a waning force in the world. Over the coming decades, we will have other, bigger and more significant fish to fry.

  • Comment number 58.

    Considering we blew the bugle in 1939 and it wasn't actually heard by the Americans until 1942 I'm not sure the relationship was ever that 'special' from the US perspective.

  • Comment number 59.

    "alterhistory wrote:
    Anyone who spouts the nonsense about every single thing that Israel does being "disproportionate", as the Committee does, is not to be taken seriously"

    You are at the wrong site. Israel is not a subject here.

  • Comment number 60.

    "-What wars have we participated in that have 'nothing to do with us'?

    Removing Saddam Hussein had everything to do with us, along with every other human being on the planet.

    Removing the Taliban - ditto.

    Removing Hitler - ditto.

    It's a shame we didn't remove Stalin as well, but hey, we can't do everything for the world ALL the time."


    Before you start saying that these wars are justified, I think you should serve with soldiers and experience what they experience. Do you think that British soldiers getting killed in Iraq so that the US can get cheap oil from them is worth while. Do you forget who influenced Saddam Hussein's getting into power? Do you know who started the Iranian Nuclear program? The US, and now the US wants other nations including us to get involved in cleaning up messes it has created. The US wanted the wars it started, let it have them, just don't get our lads and lasses killed for their needless wars.

  • Comment number 61.

    When Bush was in power Tony was kissing up - this wasn't a special relationship, it was a dominatrix game with Tony Blair being the willing subject.

    Now that both of them are gone and common sense has entered the Whitehouse we have a chance to reinstate our world position as well as address this 'rlationship' all for the better.

    Brown and Obama are a good combo, for us and the world.

    IMHO as a good standard i would like to see the UK and the US spearhead moves to force Israel into peace and to force them leave occupied territories.

  • Comment number 62.

    I've often thought that support for the U.S. is the price we pay for our nuclear deterrent--"Rent-a-Rocket" as MacMillan called it; the French have always been totally independent in this area and accordingly can act and speak as they see fit.It would be much to our mutual advantage if we pooled our military resources with the French.There will always be unique aspects to our link with the U.S. but we mustn't over-sentimentalise this; we were, after all, the colonial power they expelled to gain their freedom and they don't forget this.

  • Comment number 63.

    I agree with 48 & 53. Loftgroov in what he says.

    I don't know if, when the American Government want the British to get involved, they come up with "You owe us, you wouldn't have won WWII without us, so you should now return the favour" line, but there definately seems to be something that makes the British Government agree to 'help' them every time.

    Is the British Government to scared to say NO, because the Americans will then say no to us if we need them anytime by saying "why should we help you, you didn't help us when we asked".

    It's time this country's Government and powers that be, turned around and said, "NO, we don't want a war with a country or we don't agree with what you are saying, let's all sit down and work something out".

  • Comment number 64.

    There's been nothing 'special' about the relationship since Harold Wilson told Johnson that we wouldn't follow the US into Vietnam. The UK exists nowadays to serve the strategic interests of the USA, nothing more.

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    The US has a number of special relationships with countries, depending upon their value to the US and the key issues of the moment. The UK has a unique place in this pantheon owing to the enduring nature of the bond. We lose this at our peril, as this unique place allows us to share the information which gives the UK government insights into the world, and therefore influence which we would not have without it. This is a serious business demeaned and risked by some of the playground similes used in this forum. If you want to make the world a better place, you need to know the depth and breadth of the badness within it, and work on those hidden levers and that means access. Marches, slogans and platitudes are transient and ultimately meaningless.

  • Comment number 67.

    Anyone who still thinks that "the special relationship" still exists should take a hard look at the beginning and middle of the cold war era. The doctrine of the US military at the time was " the UK was expendable should the USSR invade Western Europe. The old "domino theory" of collapsing states with the channel and the UK as the last expendable asset.
    The Americans would sacrifice anything to prevent a war on their own soil.
    The next question is when did the Americans every without strings attached give the UK any help? Don't even consider "lend lease" that fiasco cost the UK not only in overly expensive repayments which only recently finished, but it also cost the UK in military bases around the world. Then of course there was the fiasco of the '60's, the nuclear deterrent paid for by UK taxpayers and based on UK soil which could only be fired using 2 keys, one US one UK some much for the special relationship. We need to part company with the US and Israel or be drawn into yet another war in the Middle East for the sake of US ego.
    The only checks and balances in the current world situation is China, a bit too big for America to bully or threaten and capable of destroying completely the US economy without going to war. The inscrutable Chinese are playing the "long game" America with little understanding or respect of different cultures plays the short "fast buck" game and then wonders like a very immature child why the rest of the world thoroughly dislike Americans. A senior military officer once said that the average US soldier fires an average of 70 rounds to kill a single enemy, an Australian 14 and the SAS 2. They all achieve the same objective accept
    the collateral damage to buildings, vehicles and property caused by the Americans outweighs any benefits such as winning over the civilian population. Then of course there's friendly fire at which the American military really excell. Their motto must be "if it moves shoot it, if it isn't moving bomb it".
    The future of the UK is not as a lap dog of the US, we need to get back our pride and our belief in our country. We are no longer world leaders, we no longer have an Empire, but we do have skills, knowledge and expertise that can make us into a valuable member of the European community. We also have to stop relying on oil. Most of the wars that the US has been party to have had oil on the agenda, and we have rushed to support the American's divine right to have access to cheap petrol.
    No American president has had the guts to raise the price of gasolene to realistic commercial levels because the American people are too greedy and stupid to accept a necessary change to their driving habits.
    Do we also want to continue to have a single one way extradition treaty
    with the US? A treaty which protects US citizens from extradition and prosecution in the UK, but demands and in most cases gets, full extradition and prosecution of UK citizens in the US. All this hidden behind the cloak of "prevention of terrorism". The US should really look at istself as regarding terror and terrorism. But I suppose shooting kids at school by idiots who have the right to bare arms, doesn't count as terrorism; and, do we really want to be associated with a bunch of thugs who consider "water boarding" to be an acceptable method of getting evidence? Is it any wonder that the majority of people in the civilised world show more than mild distaste towards Americans?
    Don't be fooled by Obama either, just look at how his own party including
    senators attempted to block his health bill. The big insurance companies, the US banks, the overpaid medical profession, all of them tried fear tactics, financial lies, bad publicity courtesy of Fox news to try and get this bill stopped. So just like the bankers bonuses in the UK, its business as usual in the US.With friends like the US who the hell needs enemies?

  • Comment number 68.

    I think someone should point out to these MP's the fact that the English Channel is a great deal wider than the Atlantic.

  • Comment number 69.

    'All posts are pre-moderated. What does this mean?'


    A deep-rooted fear of free speech

  • Comment number 70.

    Since WW1 the ties are special. We (US) saved you in WW1, WW2, Falklands war, but you the British snubbed us in the Vietnam war, we forgave you.

    The relationships were, are and will be special. We need you and you need us. Remember how the US saved your economy(the Sterling problems), was it in the 60's or 70's don't remember exactly. We'll always have disagreement but overwhole the ties are important, mutual and beneficial to both.

    Don't forget that every time since WW1 when you got in trouble (war, economic) WE OFFERED HELP.

    Look on the cooperation now regarding the war on terror between the two countries.

    If there was no STRONG USA, Europe (and the UK) long ago would have been under the Germans, or the Soviet Union.

    To you all that cast doubts, pick & choose what you like and dislike YOU HAVE TO LOOK TO LOOK ON THE OVERWHOLE PICTURE OF OUR RELATIONSHIPS !!!

  • Comment number 71.

    Excellent news. We can get on with the real business of pursuing strategic and military alliances with our European partners, particularly France.

    We need to sort out the UN Security Council too, so that Britain and France's permanent seats become EU seats, and it is expanded to include Brazil and India.

    Britain is a great country with a magnificent history but we need to rethink our place in the world for the 21st century.

  • Comment number 72.

    "If it means we will no longer follow America around the world participating in wars that have nothing to do with us, I would consider it a good thing for the 'special relationship' to be over."

    Well Mrs. Vee, does this mean the US erroneously entered 2 European wars to prevent the defeat of the UK? Your comment would seem to confirm that.

  • Comment number 73.

    We are physically, culturally and socially part of Europe and have little in common with the USA. We should drop any pretence of a special relationship with a country that was formed through a war against us, was slow to support us in two world wars and failed to support us at all in the Falklands.

  • Comment number 74.

    Good . Now at last we can speak rationally about Israel/Palestine , without the hammer of US Zionist interests threatening us .
    Zionist refugees taking over Israel have done a great wrong that needs to be put right . The countries of origin of the immigrant Zionists should be involved .
    On the other hand we do not want to see innocent descendants of the original Zionist settlers , dispossessed either . They know no other home. Whether or not Israel has a ' right ' to exist depends on your religion . That it does exist is a fact . UK should press UN department for Refugees to design a solution , since both Zionists and Palestinians are refugees , now up to the sixth generation . And we do not want to see a massacre .
    Now we will be able to discuss the situation from a humanitarian position.

  • Comment number 75.

    Britain and US relationship seems special as we have a common history. The US grew out from the thirteen colonies, so have a similar sense of what is right. As Britain losses itself in the EU, the relationship will become less special as Britain becomes more Europeanised.

  • Comment number 76.

    At 12:19pm on 28 Mar 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    ""I always remember how the US responded when we went to war in the Falklands. They gave us their best wishes. Funny but I understand that is what they did in 1939.""

    They also gave us head to head missiles that allowed us to trash the Argentinians in the air! As we were outnumbered in the sky 5 to 1 they came in quite handy.

  • Comment number 77.

    Our future lies with the EU . The US has become the most dangerous nation in the world . Also , our military should become independent of them ASAP .

  • Comment number 78.

    Our political relationship with the US has simply allowed us a little more time to cling to the notion that we are a global power. Perhaps we have been reluctant to end the special relationship because such a move would reveal the truth - that today we are just another small european nation, no better nor worse than any other.
    I'm glad Pres. Obama has distanced himself from us. It kind of sets us free to do what we need to do - define ourselves as a modern nation in 2010 and to work more effectively with the EU, our most important pantners in the decades to come.

  • Comment number 79.

    @ Readsomehistory.

    We did not need your help in WW1 or really in WW2. We would have won eventually it would have taken us longer, and left us with an empire.

    With regards to the special relationship. So no longer will we be an american poodle but a european dumping ground for imigrants, criminals, toxic waste and rubbish?

    I think I will learn either french or german. go there for a better quality of life before they decide to ban UK citizens from entering the european mainland

  • Comment number 80.

    Do you think a special relationship still exists between the two countries?
    NOPE - it never has existed, other than a "give and take" arrangement - we give and they take.

    Is the UK too deferential to the US government?
    YES

    Anyone got some rusty destroyers going at stupidly high prices in an hour of need?

    Interestingly, now that the UK appears to be looking for a change in relations, it looks like the US will have to find some other lapdog country to justify their illegal invasions and oil-grabs.

  • Comment number 81.

    We should maintain the same relationship with the Americans as we do with othr friendly countries. To date, the special relationship has seen this country following every whim of the Americans. Successive British Governments have always been at the beck and call from across the Atlantic, culminating in Tony Blairs 'poodle like' enthusiasm to join in the Iraqi invasion. It is a undeniable fact that the Uk is no longer a world power, and that the only way that senior politicians (especialy Tony Blair) can stand on the world stage is for them to have a 'big brother' to provide the muscle that they do not have themselves.

  • Comment number 82.

    I agree 100% with the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee that it's time to stop speaking of "a special relationship " with USA. I believe that UK's relationship with USA has caused great harm to UK. Our present
    economic ills stem directly from the financial manoeuvres of Wall Street . UK support of USA foreign policy in the Middle East led to UK involvement in the tragic invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. The stupid term "special relationship", dates back to World War Two when USA finally took part because the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. USA made a packet at the end of that war by charging UK horrendous interest on the financial aid that they gave UK under the Marshall Plan. Yes, it's high time that UK stopped acting as USA's poodle. More than that - remember the old adage " never sup with the devil unless you have a very long spoon."

  • Comment number 83.

    Oh yes, the "special relationship". America says "jump", our craven politicians say "how high?". As long as Britain continues to allow occupying American forces on its soil we can never consider ourselves to be completely in control of our own destiny.

    The rest of the world views us as America's poodle. This is positively damaging to our international reputation and, as we have seen in recent years, puts us at immense and unnecessary risk from terrorism. Time to cut the ties.

  • Comment number 84.

    Now too ,freedom to strengthen our bonds with the Commonwealth countries , which will be the high fliers of the next generation .

  • Comment number 85.

    The nature of the relationship between the UK and the US should remain subject to the wishes and desires of the people of each of the nations and is far deeper than some "politically fashionable" diktat by self serving committees of politicians (on either side of the Atlantic).

  • Comment number 86.

    The relationship between the UK and the USA is 'special' for a number of varying reasons, and it is symptomatic of the current pessimistic atmosphere in Britain at the moment that such a relationship is being brought into question.

    Churchill coined the phrase, not only to signal the world-war and post-war alliance that would develop into the "West" in the Cold War, but because both countries had and have a "natural affinity of interests", both historical and cultural. Forget the military and the economy for a moment; the relationship is first and foremost about the British and American peoples, which is unconditional and very special. American culture dominates as its output is far larger, but within America, there is considerable taste for British culture, be it fashion (Alexander McQueen), music (Beatles, Rolling Stones), actors (Batman is British at the moment) and much, much more.

    Britain receives, on average, 40% of US investment in the EU: that is far more than any other member state. The common language of course helps, and the UK often acts as the mouthpiece to Europe for the Americans , often when the latter is bewildered by the lack of someone who represents Europe to talk to. Indeed, Harold MacMillan wanted to join the EEC in the 1960s as part of a transatlantic policy. Although militarily, the UK is not what it was, the US still cannot act unilaterally and prefers to build up coalitions. It is because of this that the relationship is still special, with the US finding the UK to be reliable and dependable, especially in Afghanistan.

    It is in the UK's interest to be this close to the last super-power in the world. On her own the UK is still a world leader. The UK still fields, despite media assertions to the contrary, one of the most technologically advanced and best trained armed forces in the world. It is also one of only five countries in the world to be recognised as a nuclear power. As well as being the world's sixth biggest economy, its capital, London, is (with New York and Hong Kong) the world's largest financial centre. It also has some of the best Higher Education centres in the world. There is no way, unless a government let it happen, that the UK should decline in world status and why its unique and influential relationship with the world's only super-power should end.

  • Comment number 87.

    "The Commons Foreign Affairs committee said although Britain and the US still had close ties, the UK's influence had "diminished" as its economic and military power had waned."


    After 13 years of incompetence, tax and waste, social engineering and misrule, it is good to see that the Commons Foreign Affairs committee recognising the extent of the damage Labour has done.

    Instead of throwing in the towel and acquiescing to our further decline, why don't these parliamentarians focus on getting off their backsides and start rebuilding the country again! What are we paying these idiots for!!

    As a CEO, I have to fight tooth and nail to push my company forward no matter what the adversities and set backs. If I don't, I will be fired - and rightly so.

    It would be good to see our public servants committed to their country in the same way. But no, most of them are focused on feathering their own nests and taking as much from the taxpayer as possible rather than serving their country and the public. For them there is little or no downside for failure, little or no accountability, and the prospect of early retirement and a nice fat pension.

    Hopefully we will be rid of Labour at the next election. There should then be a massive clear-out of their apparatchiks in the public sector. Over the last 13 years Labour has stuffed our institutions with their own kind - unaccountable self-serving executives, who always know best, and have little or no sense of duty or responsibility to those that pay their wages - i.e. the public.

    There needs to be a sea change in this country before it's too late. There are too many people in the country tied up in administrative / bureaucratic / policy-making / committee / quango roles who contribute little or nothing of value to the economy. There are also far too many people who have never generated revenues, let alone profits, and yet expect benefits and privileges showered liberally on them as some God-given right.

    If Labour are elected for another four years, it will be the last straw for me!

    I am not going to continue to put up with an ever-increasing burden of red tape and regulation, increased liabilities, and increased employee rights, while at the same time being expected to pay more taxes.

    I will be emigrating and will take most of my company with me. And I know dozens of entrepreneurs who feel the same.

  • Comment number 88.

    The only country the USA has a special relationship with is itself. Britains future lay within a united Europe, begining with adopting the Euro as our currency ASAP.

  • Comment number 89.

    Is the UK and US relationship still special, this quite a question, like many of you, I do tend to squirm at this phrase - 'A Special Relationship', In many ways we have stronger ties to America than mainland Europe, although this may just be born from the original ties of the last war.
    I definately think there is a bond between the two countries - though I wouldn't describe it as a special relationship - more so now the two 'B's' have gone - the Bush and Blair the warmongers.
    There are a lot of Political differences between America and England, but you must also remember we all owe a great debt of gratitude to the American people following VE day and VJ day albeit some nearly sixty five years ago, we were freed of a tyranny that had it not been for the Americans we might have succombed too.
    We enjoy Freedom of speech, or we did until the Blair/Brown era, that would have been just a dream had the Nazi's won the war.

    But, we must all look to the future as Germany, as well as America are now our Allies and have been for over half a century. We have other problems rising in the form of Iran and the Somali Pirates. We must also look to the General Election to see what direction This Country may go in.

  • Comment number 90.

    The relationship of the UK with the USA has changed slowly over the years. There is little doubt that without the military support of the USA, from a late start in 1942, Europe was preserved for Democracy. The 'Soviet Threat', so aided by the USA's Ignorance of World Politics, was contained by a US presence. FOR that we are thankful.
    But that was in the past. The future of the UK must be with Europe, a forwards looking part of the world. The USA has military power, but in spite of 60 years of 'special relationship' still does not, and probably cannot understand that Military weapons are only part of power.
    AS for the future, in one generation the USA will fragment from its own internal pressures.

  • Comment number 91.

    The UK is a vassal like the rest of us.

    The recent news is that Inter-banking system information (SWIFT), including OUR bank information - even within the country, is given directly to the CIA and Mossad. It shows that we are all "suspects" & "guilty" (but I don't know of what!), to the US. We lesser mortels are not to be "trusted".

    The "special" relationship is that you must now show everything you have in your underpants.

  • Comment number 92.


    This is a misleading and irresponsible headline by the BBC. One's first interpretation is of a serious rift of between the USA and the UK, when if fact it's only about an over used lingustic interpretation of the relationship.

    Amature reporting...be careful

  • Comment number 93.

    ""70. At 2:03pm on 28 Mar 2010, Davis Miller wrote:
    Since WW1 the ties are special. We (US) saved you in WW1, WW2, Falklands war, but you the British snubbed us in the Vietnam war, we forgave you.""

    It is Highly dubious if you the US could have beaten Germany and Japan
    together, on your own. Nazi Germany basically beat themselves by incredibly stupid decisions made by there leaders thankfully. And in case you don't remember we beat the German Airforce without any Miltary help from you.

  • Comment number 94.

    I'm afraid it was always a little one sided, at least in the past we were respected, now we have no repect. The great offices of state are not inhabited with great people. Well, perhaps when the UK is fiannly no more, and our empire is a histrical fact, just like the Vikings, Romans, Greeks, etc, and thw rold has moved on then we might re surface once more, but not some time soon, what goes around comes around, and we have had a succession of wrecking governments, and hey guess what they have wrecked our standing in the word, and any influance in what was a special relationship. I mean just look at waht makes the headlines , some crass storiesa bout how well our young Mr. M gets on with MRs C, is that what our special relationship has come to, yep.

  • Comment number 95.

    "The UK government needs to be "less deferential" towards the US and more willing to say no to Washington, a group of MPs has said."


    What a stupid thing for MPs to say! Nothing good can come of such a statement!

    I suspect is Labour MPs who want to appease their rabidly racist anti-American supporters!


  • Comment number 96.

    The so-called "special relationship" is merely a one-way set up whereby the UK is paying to keep up the appearances of being a grand imperial power. Its ending will be the greatest change in foreign policy since England under Henry VIII broke with Rome.

  • Comment number 97.

    Not sure we noticed any of the benefits of this 'special relationship' - maybe we should be looking for a new buddy - I suggest everybody starts learning Chinese!

  • Comment number 98.

    68. At 1:55pm on 28 Mar 2010, TSBradshaw wrote:
    """I think someone should point out to these MP's the fact that the English Channel is a great deal wider than the Atlantic.""

    That fact purely exits in your mind and in the mind of other xenophobes.

  • Comment number 99.

    America has been out of control for decades and we have gone along with it since Thatcher ... Its about time we got out of it ... The last decade has been a disgrace ... I'm ashamed to be British ... The big mistake for us was not going wholeheartedly into Europe in the first place ... Now it has made it even more difficult
    Obama is a joy after Bush, but America still believes it rules Earth ... And it doesn't
    Its time we dropped these Labour/Conservative American poodle politics and tried something new
    Let America quietly settle into its real position in the world and stop backing it as the superpower ... Something no country is

  • Comment number 100.

    It's a good job it was special during WW2. Let's not fool ourselves, without the US and our 'special relationship' we would be vulnerable. The Russian jets that frequently invade our air space are fully aware that if there really was some kind of a confrontation, the US would be with us. Like it or not; that's the truth.

 

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