Can The Special Relationship Survive Trump? The View From Both Sides Of The Atlantic

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President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May at the NATO Summit in Brussels on Wednesday.

Brexit makes Theresa May look even more dependent on Trump

LONDON – Many couples have a favourite song, something that reminds them of when they first got serious. For British Prime Ministers and American Presidents, their common tune dates back to 1946 and the lyrics were written by Winston Churchill. In a speech in Fulton, Missouri, that presaged the coming Cold War, he said the United States and Great Britain had a “special relationship” that was essential for keeping the global peace.

Ahead of Donald Trump’s first working visit to the UK, Theresa May said in a statement that “There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the US”. Yet the Trump era has made many in Britain, and not just those on the Left, wonder whether it is now time for a conscious uncoupling.

Away from the soaring rhetoric about a shared language and values, the UK and US’s close ties really stem of course from their military and intelligence links. What May calls “our longest and deepest defence and security relationship” is cemented daily through the two countries’ joint working of their armed forces and intelligence agencies.

We have a common pool of Trident nuclear missiles and nuclear reactors for warships and submarines. Britain is the second largest operator of America’s new F35 fast jet programme, locking us into a system that is designed for the next 40 years. Our troops and airmen work closely round the clock in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, as do our spies, cyber warfare specialists and special forces.

Yet on a broader political and cultural level, the “special relationship” also relies on a personal chemistry between the occupants of the White House and Downing Street, as well as sensitivities about the fact that the US is clearly the dominant partner. Churchill and Roosevelt forged friendship in the Second World War, Macmillan and Kennedy overcame political differences, Thatcher and Reagan literally danced together on a trip to Washington.

I remember being among the press pack at Camp David in 2001 when George W Bush revealed to a stunned press corps that he and Tony Blair used the same Colgate toothpaste. Blair quipped: “They are going to wonder how you know that, George.” That was before the Twin Towers attack, and everything that followed, but many Britons still cringe at Blair’s approach. The perils of getting too up close and personal with a President were summed up …read more

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Tec

      

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