Reassessing the ‘Special Relationship’

brown_obamaThough not strictly Middle East related, last year I co-authored an academic article in International Affairs with Lord William Wallace of Saltaire, the Liberal Democrat spokesman for Foreign Affairs in the UK’s House of Lords, which has recently attracted the attention of the UK Parliament.

Our article, ‘Reassessing the Special Relationship’, argues that Britain’s attachment to ‘the special relationship’ with the United States is a costly illusion that is not mirrored across the Atlantic and that the security elements of the relationship do not carry over into other areas of foreign policy.  Britain would be well served to finally engage in significant debate about the nature of its relationship with the United States, with a view to freeing itself from an outdated mindset.

The article clearly struck a chord with UK policymakers, as the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee cite the article no less than fifteen times in their report on UK-US Relations which concluded that “The use of the phrase ‘the special relationship’ in its historical sense, to describe the totality of the ever-evolving UK-US relationship, is potentially misleading, and we recommend that its use should be avoided.”

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