Remember this? Harold Wilson once said that “a week is a long time in politics”, a decade then must be a lifetime. Ten years ago the United States and Great Britain could not have been closer, united by the events of 9/11 and the close friendship between Tony Blair and George W. Bush; the closest relationship between two leaders since the days of Thatcher and Reagan. However, today the picture is very different and we seem to be experiencing a sustained rough patch in our relationship.
There’s no smoke without fire and this came from Barack Obama, he told the French President Nicolas Sarkozy that France was America’s biggest ally, he’s exact words were “We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy and the French people.” This of course was a serious snub not only to David Cameron but also Britain as a whole. Mr Obama, has obviously forgotten about the 528 British soldiers that have died in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention the strong partnership Britain and America shared during the Second World War against the tyranny of Nazi Germany while France were occupied.
What however, motivated Obama to come out with such bizarre comments? In my opinion there is no logic in his words, Britain is America’s strongest ally, lets remind Mr Obama of the facts shall we. Britain currently has almost 10,000 troops serving in Helmand Province while the French have under 4000. Moreover, the French refused to support America when it invaded Iraq, wow, they really are strong allies! I think Mr Obama is trying to distance himself from the legacy of George W. Bush, a dangerous move. A strong ally is there when you need them, a strong ally supports you when all others turn against you, France has proven time and time again that it is not up for the job. Mr Obama and the United States may find that next time they invade a country France might do what they always do, backdown, and Britain might not want to know.
Personally I love America, always have, so I hope this is not a permanent change, instead merely one which will go come 2012 with Obama. There’s still spark in the Special Relationship, we just need an American President who appreciates what Britain really means to the United States.