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Samizdata quote of the day

“I’d be seriously dubious about any “special relationship” with someone who habitually read all my emails, to be honest.”

- A quote I saw via Facebook.

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Rob

    It’s a myth. The USA has not supported Britain openly and militarily in any conflict since 1945 which did not directly involve their interests. They even invaded a crown colony without warning, for fuck’s sake.

    Let’s put this nonsense to bed. It’s embarassing.

  • Mr Ed

    Rob, Grenada was not a Crown Colony when it was invaded, it got independence in the 1970s, if that is the ‘crown colony’ you are referring to. It was invaded in 1983, and some New Jewel nutters kicked out of office and their crimes pursued, and some armed Cubans kicked out. It had nothing to do with the UK, the Queen of Grenada might be the same person as the Queen of the UK, but different legal people.

    The US DoD certainly supported the UK in the Falklands, the State Department was as much help to the UK as a cannonball to a swimmer.

    I would think that the current administration would be at best neutral over the Falklands at present, if not actively hostile.

  • Laird

    I would expect that neutrality over the Falklands is the best you could hope for from this administration.

  • Philip Scott Thomas

    I expect the best you could hope for from this administration is neutrality over the Maldives. :-)

  • Johnathan Pearce

    It is interesting to see some of the comments across the political spectrum. Andrew Alexander, an uber-right winger who hates the EU and all manner of foreign alliances, writes in the Daily Mail today how the US has, certainly since WW2, been an “enemy”, or at least a bloody nusisance, vis a vis the UK. (He denies that the Soviet Union meant the West harm, which involves some fairly heroic pieces of historical blindness, if not downright dishonesty, on his part).

    No doubt some of the criticism is merited, but as so often, it can miss the broader picture. The fact is that the UK has benefited in many ways from being on cordial terms with the US, of being a member of NATO, of having a country with America’s punch to be able to back us up on issues such as the Falklands, as eventually did happen in 1982, despite some initial bellyaching. While a few old-style State Dept. folk may still want Britain to be a deeply committed member of the European Union, I suspect a lot of that has faded.

    It is probably good that under Obama, a man who seems to hold a number of grudges against Britain, this relationship has cooled considerably, if only to remind the UK that we need to think more for ourselves, to bolster our own defences, to be less trusting on the ability of the US to come to our aid, etc. And it might also embolden policymakers in the UK to work harder at trying to build a genuine “Anglosphere” perspective friendship with other, likeminded powers, including the US, and on terms that make more sense.

    My father, a former RAF navigator and officer, points to Suez as the sign that the UK and US could be seriously at odds on foreign policy, and to some extent, on the whole issue of Britain having an independent nuclear deterrent created by British science and industry. But you know what? If you consider the post-war period as a whole, what strikes me by and large is the remarkable stability to the relationship. It has, unquestionably, frayed at the edges.

    A lot of this is about perception as much as anything though. Obama just comes across as a guy who does not like us very much. But he does not seem to like the US much either.

    It would also be good by the way if Brits stopped looking down their noses at Americans and fall for the usual cliches. I have been reading John Le Carre’s latest novel, a Delicate Truth, and some of his characterisations of the US are plain embarrassing.

  • Regional

    Groucho Marx is quoted as saying I wouldn’t belong to a club that would have me as a member.

  • The quote would be true of any relationship between humans. However, the relationship of the UK’s government to Mordor on the Potomac is more like that of a well-trained dog that obediently takes its place whenever its master snaps his fingers and says “heel, boy.”

  • Regional

    ‘Mordor is a black and bleak type of shadowland’ a very apt description of Washington but the Seppos have been a nation since 1776.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    JP, recall that in “The Spy Who Came In From the Cold,” John LeCarre had the East German populace outraged at the killing of a GDR border guard. A keen observer he is not.

    As far as alliances with the US are concerned, there are few things more chancy than depending on us: our government has not got much perseverence and after a bit of trouble tends to lose interest and wander away. Which is why Britain (and Israel!) are wise to keep their own nukes.

  • Clovis Sangrail

    The original quote is a very witty one. Shame that no-one’s really followed up on it.
    For what it’s worth, I think that the US-UK relationship has had a tenor at the level about what you’d expect between populations who are, on the whole, well-disposed to one another and that’s the BEST you can expect between nations.
    I know the standard argument that international relations are ( and should be) entirely based on self-interest. the difference in the Anglosphere is that, whilst still true, the implementation involves more accordance of a ” benefit of the doubt” than might be the case for other nations.

    If you look at the history, it’s, arguably, incredible that relations are so good.
    What we’ve really got going for us is a more than passing respect for the individual and a belief in “freedom”, whatever that means and however imperfect the respect for that concept.

    Great that we’ve got our own nukes in my opinion. Pity that we don’t have a more robust attitude to funding our armed forces (sorry, Perry) but despite all that, thank goodness for the (not-so) special relationship.

  • Regional

    In 1913 Britain and America were preparing to celebrate 100 years of Peace and ironically a British merchant bank financed the Louisiana Purchase by Benjamin Franklin for America in London negotiating a peace treaty and communications being what they were when he got home and asked how it went he replied pretty good and by the way we bought Louisiana preventing a war with France.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Regional, punctuation is our friend – although I realize it may not be so on your planet.

  • Smartphones are not punctuation-friendly…:-(

  • Regional

    To the Pecksniffian, periods and commas interrupt the flow the narrative if you want to be pedantic good for you.
    As for being on the planet I’ve been off it for years as there are too many aliens down here.

  • Eric

    The USA has not supported Britain openly and militarily in any conflict since 1945 which did not directly involve their interests.

    Except the Falklands, you mean, the UK’s most serious conflict since 1939. Not only did we speed up delivery of AIM-9L so it would be available for the conflict, but we offered the use of a US carrier (to be crewed by British sailors). Not sure how that would have worked in practice.

    US support for the UK seriously undermined our anti-communist efforts in South America. It was so much against our own interests that the Argentine government was convinced the most we could possibly do is remain neutral.

  • Laird

    Regional, it’s not being pedantic when the lack of punctuation obscures your meaning. Frankly, I have no idea what you were blathering about. Read that run-on sentence again: it makes absolutely no sense.

  • Mr Ed

    Eric, US DoD support is widely noted, attested to and appreciated, from over 1,000,000 lbs of Avtur per Blackbuck mission to Sidewinders.

    The anti-Communist efforts in Argentina included murdering a Swedish au pair Dagmar Hagelin, aged 17, kidnapping businessmen by military or police units for extortion, throwing people out of helicopters naked ino the River Plate, and sinking the ships of a major NATO ally, by the hand of a Junta described by US diplomats as drunks. The Junta invaded as a last throw of the dice as their economic lunacies came home to roost, but they had all but eliminated the Montoneros and other thugs, only to echo the economic nonsense of Peronism’s strands, and to let the weeds of their nationalistic socialist lunacy flourish in the future.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    Laird
    September 5, 2013 at 4:36 am
    Frankly, I have no idea what you were blathering about. Read that run-on sentence again: it makes absolutely no sense.

    Something about the zombie Franklin (d.1790) negotiating the Louisiana Purchase, I believe.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Johnathan, oddly enough something about the Suez incident just appeared in Zanzibar.