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On air at 1100GMT: Is the US UK relationship essential?

Chloe Tilley Chloe Tilley | 10:00 UK time, Tuesday, 24 May 2011


They say it is no longer a special relationship but an essential one. David Cameron and Barack Obama have written a joint article in the British press saying,

"It is a perfect alignment of what we both need and what we both believe. And the reason it remains strong is because it delivers time and again. Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship - for us and for the world"

But is it essential?

Writing for the BBC Steve Clemons from the New America Foundation says Obama has been keen to play down any kind of special relationship with Britain since taking office...

"Mr Obama has been incrementally de-emphasising the UK-US relationship as the place to start in the international community, not because Mr Obama doesn't like or appreciate the Brits but because the world is changing and he needs other key stakeholders to feel the love too."

The BBC's North America Editor Mark Mardell talks here about the White House's acknowledgment of how sensitive some people in Britain are about the relationship

But there are those, who believe that the special relationship is no more and much of that is down to strong signals from President Obama. From snubbing Gordon Brown when he was Prime Minister and refusing to met him back in September 2009 to ....

"During Britain's stand-off with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, the Obama administration has been at best neutral, at worst pro-­Argentine. And throughout the Gulf of Mexico oil spill last year, the American President was keen to emphasise the British provenance of BP, the chief ­perpetrator, and to make it pay"

Charlesm186 tweeted
"Never met an American who thinks the USA - UK relationship is special - this exists only in the UK media's mind."

Ben Chu tweeted
"BBC's Nick Robinson keeps saying Obama doesn't GET special relationship. Has not considered that it's Britain that doesn't get it. There isn't one"

Is the idea of any two nations having a special relationship, at the exclusion of others, an out dated concept? Do you welcome the "essential relationship" or think with it comes with an expectation to follow each other's policies?

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