The Special Relationship

This morning, a BBC interviewer asked a Labour Party spokesperson whethehr, in the event that Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, he would reaffirm the 'Special Relationship' with the US. No coherent reply was forthcoming. What is the reason for this lingering obsession of the UK political classes with a relationship which, if it still exists at all, is that of Patron and Client (in the Roman meaning of the words)? Any dealings with Trump's administration will be on a strictly transactional basis, and the UK has nothing to offer the US except a source of easy pickings.

Comments

  • Really the special relationship relates to an intelligence sharing agreement, rather that some warm fuzzy thing.
  • And possibly the use of space on our soil for US military forces, should push come to shove?
  • I had thought it was to do with a highly specific agreement around intelligence that began during WWII.
  • Well, that and the later sharing of certain nuclear weapons related information/infrastructure.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    I think the "special relationship" will survive Trump. At least the parts based on mutual self-interest. Should it happen, Corbyn-Trump would be a very different relationship than Blair-Bush. Specially unfriendly I would have thought.

    Trump's idiotic conversation with Farage is just another example of his ignorance and arrogance.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Barnabas62 wrote: »
    I think the "special relationship" will survive Trump. At least the parts based on mutual self-interest. Should it happen, Corbyn-Trump would be a very different relationship than Blair-Bush. Specially unfriendly I would have thought.

    Trump's idiotic conversation with Farage is just another example of his ignorance and arrogance.

    Exactly.

    The special relationship is between countries, not leaders.

    Corbyn would be respectful but distant with tRump. Who in their right mind would be otherwise?

  • Bearing in mind Trump's interview on LBC where, to quote the BBC website "... the president said Mr Corbyn would be "so bad" as prime minister and that Mr Johnson was "the exact right guy for the times"." I'm not surprised Corbyn didn't have a good answer.
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50258139
  • edited November 1
    What is UK's alleged special relationship based on in terms of today's situation? It certainly isn't trade. UK is 7th behind China, Canada, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Germany. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_largest_trading_partners_of_the_United_States

    Intelligence sharing is common among the "Five Eyes", Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Is UK more special than any of these others?

    So if this thing exists, what's it based upon?
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    A special relationship born of rebellion.
  • and exploitation.
  • There's a lot of talk about this and a lot of it is nonsense. Essentially it comes down the three parts. AFAICS:

    1. The intelligence and military. As alluded to above there is the Five Eyes for cooperation and the US also has close cooperation with others including Israel for example but the UK/US intelligence communities are closer than any two other nations. That inevitably means that because National Security is inter-meshed to some extent, that there is a close relationship at the governmental level for some things. On the military side, there remains a lot of joint operations and cross-over. (Remember that whilst the UK's standing army is quite small compared to some (i.e. Turkey), in terms of equipment (and spending) the UK is essentially the second biggest player in NATO. (To put that in context the US spends more than the rest put together, IIRC).

    2. The Cultural. The US is truly a polyglot culture. I don't have the stats to hand but it is become less and less white with rising numbers of Hispanics and black Americans. If you look at the white community, only a minority would consider British (or English) to be the main heritage with groups from all over Europe - especially Ireland. However that doesn't change the fact that there's 300+ years of history here and to some extent, England is considered The Old Country by the Yanks* and Brits think of Americans as our slightly crazy and slightly too loud cousins. There is a lot of the US legal system and even constitution that derives from English law. You know, a lot of Americans quite like the Queen - wouldn't want a monarch themselves you know but like the idea that England (sic) has one...

    3. The Geopolitical.
    Aside from the Intelligence cooperation (1) this is mostly a myth and mostly something that works well in the British political environment. Long before Trump this was very much a transaction relationship - i.e. where interests aligned then there was good cooperation, where they didn't both countries quietly ignored the other. In the UK, it's a good thing to talk about but I don't think most Americans really care beyond the vague emotional cultural attachment (2). In terms of trade policy the UK is very much aligned with the rest of Europe (because of the EU!) and whilst Brexit would mean this could change, the predatory nature of big business in the US suggests trading arrangements that most Brits don't actually want.

    Some truth. A lot of myth. A useful thing for British leaders to talk about.

    AFZ

    *I am aware that "Yankee" is considered offensive by many from the USA who are not from the South but to most Brits 'Yank' just means American... perhaps another example of how the relationship is not as close as people think...
  • I don't think anyone would be offended by Yankee except maybe Southerners. It's not just a British usage- for instance, "yanqui" is used south of the border for any US citizen. As I recall, in WWII Germans referred to the Sherman tank (among other colorful nicknames) as the "Yankee Cooker" owing to its propensity to burn the crew alive when hit.
  • Leave our boyfriend alone Britain, you slattern.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Ahh, Allen, you totally ignored the fastest growing group in the United States--the Asians. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/26/u-s-hispanic-and-asian-populations-growing-but-for-different-reasons/
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    I don't think anyone would be offended by Yankee except maybe Southerners. ...
    I'm a Midwesterner. I am not a Yankee. Yankees are a special (and especially snobbish) breed, and I don't care to be associated with them.

  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Ahh, Allen, you totally ignored the fastest growing group in the United States--the Asians. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/06/26/u-s-hispanic-and-asian-populations-growing-but-for-different-reasons/

    Sorry... not ignoring at all... as I said, the proportion of people in the USA who actually have British heritage is shrinking... :wink:
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    I don't think anyone would be offended by Yankee except maybe Southerners. ...
    I'm a Midwesterner. I am not a Yankee. Yankees are a special (and especially snobbish) breed, and I don't care to be associated with them.

    Precisely. But most Brits would refer to anyone from anywhere in the US as a 'Yank'

    I wonder how the changes in ethic make up are affected US cultural identity. But then that's clearly a huge and important discussion anyway.

    This all brings me back to the intelligence/military cooperation with is the only part of the 'special relationship' that has any objective reality to it.

    AFZ
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    A Yank is someone from the US; a Yankee from the old northern states. At least that's how the descriptions were used here when I were but a lad. Neither seems much in use these days.
  • Sorry Ross, from a British point of view you're a Yankee. But being a Valkyrie trumps that, of course!
  • or a septic, if you want to let your WW2 jealousy show.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    A Yank is someone from the US; a Yankee from the old northern states. At least that's how the descriptions were used here when I were but a lad. Neither seems much in use these days.
    An old entry in Language Log includes this jokey definition:
    For foreigners, a "yankee" is an American.
    For American southerners, a "yankee" is a northerner.
    For northerners, a "yankee" is somebody from New England.
    For New Englanders, a "yankee" is somebody from Vermont.
    For Vermonters, a "yankee" is somebody who eats apple pie for breakfast.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited November 2
    For some reason, I (a southern Uklander) have indeed always associated the word 'Yankee' with somebody from New England...but not necessarily just from Vermont, a most beautiful state though it be, AIUI.
    Alas, over here at the moment, the 'Special Relationship' seems to be regarded as the *ahem* rapport between the Potus, and the would-be Potcuk (President of the Currently United Kingdom), to wit, B*ris J**nson...
  • RussRuss Shipmate
    I thought the British see so many US-made TV shows and movies that the US doesn't count as "foreign".
  • Russ wrote: »
    I thought the British see so many US-made TV shows and movies that the US doesn't count as "foreign".

    Oh but it does. Foreign and weird.
  • Russ wrote: »
    I thought the British see so many US-made TV shows and movies that the US doesn't count as "foreign".

    Oh but it does. Foreign and weird.
    Britain sees enough US Telly to have a broad understanding of US culture. The US sees enough British Telly to think small towns are very dangerous and baking is the national sport.

  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Alas, over here at the moment, the 'Special Relationship' seems to be regarded as the *ahem* rapport between the Potus, and the would-be Potcuk (President of the Currently United Kingdom), to wit, B*ris J**nson...
    Sadly for Bs Johnson, Potus seems to still only have eyes for that Nigel.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    Russ wrote: »
    I thought the British see so many US-made TV shows and movies that the US doesn't count as "foreign".

    Oh but it does. Foreign and weird.
    Britain sees enough US Telly to have a broad understanding of US culture. The US sees enough British Telly to think small towns are very dangerous and baking is the national sport.

    If only we armed our small town cooks....
  • Dafyd wrote: »
    Sadly for Bs Johnson, Potus seems to still only have eyes for that Nigel.

    "We only want what's best for him".
  • I'd forgotten that song. Cheers. The video alone was worth it. Truly Dr Who special effects.

    I'm warning you Britain, stay away from the United States. He's ours.
  • Bleurrrggghhh!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Sorry Ross, from a British point of view you're a Yankee. But being a Valkyrie trumps that, of course!
    I should hope so.


  • Not to mention your personal magnificence of course!
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, Hell Host
    Vielen dank.
Sign In or Register to comment.