UK-US relations still special

The report on Anglo-American relations is a more balanced attempt to understand the nature of the “Special Relationship” than the screaming headlines suggest.

The House of Commons’ foreign affairs select committee report on Anglo-American relations is a more balanced attempt to understand the nature of the “Special Relationship” than the screaming headlines proclaiming the relationship “dead” otherwise indicate.

The committee warns that:

“The overuse of the phrase by some politicians and many in the media serves simultaneously to devalue its meaning and to raise unrealistic expectations about the benefits the relationship can deliver to the UK.”

However, the record of the Special Relationship’s strength in just the last 13 years is a remarkable one, with British foreign policy objectives in the Balkans, on international development and in the G-20 all being furthered by the in-built advantage British premiers have with American presidents.

As Foreign Affairs Select Committee chair Mike Gapes said:

“The UK and US have a close and valuable relationship not only in terms of intelligence and security but also in terms of our profound and historic cultural and trading links and commitment to freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

In terms of the future of maximizing UK influence over the US, Gapes added:

“We must be mindful of the FCO’s high reputation in the US which is currently under threat through unacceptable financial pressure from the Treasury. Having previously shed fat and muscle, the FCO’s US network is now being forced to cut into bone.

“Any additional cuts will diminish the FCO’s ability to exercise influence in the US and have a knock-on effect on the UK’s global standing.”

The report’s levelheaded conclusion that “the UK must continue to position itself closely alongside the US but there is a need to be less deferential and more willing to say no where our interests diverge” has already provoked a new storm of premature speculation as to the death of the ‘special relationship’ which closer examination of the report soon disproves.

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