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`Special relationship` with US is over: UK MPs

Last Updated: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 20:52

London: Britain must end its "special
relationship" with the US to end the perception that it was a
"subservient poodle," British MPs have recommended, saying
London should be willing to say "no" when its interests
diverge with that of Washington.

Britain`s special relationship with the US forged by
Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt in the second world
war no longer exists, says a committee of influential MPs.

Instead, America`s relationship with Britain is no more
special than with its other main allies, according to a report
by the House of Commons foreign affairs committee published on Sunday.

In an apparent rebuke to former British Prime Minister
Tony Blair and his relationship with President George W Bush,
the report says there are "many lessons" to be learnt from
Britain`s political approach towards the US over Iraq.

The report also warns that the perception of the UK after
the Iraq war as America`s "subservient poodle" has been highly
damaging to Britain`s reputation and interests around the

The MPs conclude that British prime ministers have to
learn to be less deferential to US presidents and be "willing
to say no" to America.

The report, entitled Global Security: UK-US Relations,
says Britain’s relationship with America is "extremely close
and valuable" in a number of areas, particularly intelligence

However, it adds that the use of the phrase special
relationship, in its historical sense, "is potentially
misleading and we recommend that its use should be avoided."

They said the term "special relationship" coined to
describe the country`s close ties with the US should no longer
be used because it fails to reflect a true picture of
relations between the two nations.

"The overuse of the phrase by some politicians and many
in the media serves simultaneously to devalue its meaning and
to raise unrealistic expectations about the benefits the
relationship can deliver to the UK," the committee said in
its report.

Churchill used the phrase shortly after World War II to
describe the shared cultural, political and historic ties that
helped defeat Nazi Germany, and the fears of the looming Cold

The committee suggested Britain should be more pragmatic
in UK-US relations, and accept it may not enjoy the same
sway on Washington as in the past.

Committee chairman Mike Gapes said: "We must be
realistic and accept that globalisation, structural changes
and shifts in geopolitical power will inevitably affect the
UK-US relationship.

"Over the longer-term, the UK is unlikely to be able to
influence the US to the extent it has in the past," Gapes


First Published: Sunday, March 28, 2010 - 20:52

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