28 March 2010

Special relationship

'Nations do not have eternal friends', said Lord Palmerston. 'They have eternal interests'.

That it has been in Britain's interest to cozy up to the Americans has been evident since Suez. What has been in it for the Americans has been less easy to say, especially during the period when the pro-Soviet Wilson and the sourly anti-American Heath alternated in power.

What has been clear since Bill Clinton mocked the 'special relationship' is that for the last 20-odd years the specialness has been all one-way, culminating in Blair's tail-wagging around Dubya in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq.

That Brown has been treated with calculated contempt by Obama is akin to someone trying to shake off an unwanted lover who won't take the hint. Naked need is repellent, and often drives the needed to behave cruelly.

Britain's rulers don't even have the bottle to defend the national interest. What possible use are they as allies?


  1. I don't think it quite reaches to contempt, Hugh. Obama's big-ticket item recently has been how to save his own presidency by showing some meaningful executive action. So far the wingnuts have painted him as just one more 'socialist' idealogue with pretensions to grandeur. No neeed to give them more ammunition by cozying up to Gordon.

  2. I'm not blaming Barry O'Bama, who has much, much bigger fish to fry. If Brown had behaved with any dignity, the issue would not have arisen.