Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Clinton praises special relationship.

Politicians do wrap themselves up in meaningless crap and nowhere is this truer than in British politicians bizarre need to prove that we have a "special relationship" with the United States.

British diplomats had played down the importance of whether Britain, France or Germany would be first to speak to the new administration but they were yesterday celebrating twin coups: Gordon Brown was the first European leader Obama called and Miliband became the first foreign minister to visit Clinton.

Clinton's praise sounded warmer than usual. "It is often said the United States and Britain have enjoyed a special relationship. It is certainly special in my mind and one that has proven very productive," she said. "Whoever is in the White House, whichever party in our country, this relationship really stands the test of time and I look forward to working with the foreign secretary."

Perhaps things will change under the Obama administration, but I seriously doubt it. Until now the United States has a "special relationship" with one country and one country only, and that is Israel.

The United Kingdom proves it has a "special relationship" with the US by going out on a limb with them to back every action which Israel takes, and by ignoring it's own citizens anger when it backs US policy which the citizenry is vehemently opposed to.

I'm sure I am not the only British citizen who finds our "special relationship" rather humiliating, especially when Blair was in office, when it honestly felt to me as if I was living in an American aircraft carrier parked just to the west of Europe.

So, Miliband can secretly cackle that he got the first meeting with Clinton, but I find our obsequiousness even to fellow progressives to be utterly embarrassing:

Miliband, speaking with reporters after the Clinton meeting, was at pains to appear even-handed between the Palestinians and the Israelis, saying that while the humanitarian situation was "very serious indeed", there was a need to combat arms smuggling from Egypt into Gaza.

There is a sequence at the end of the movie, "Love Actually" in which the British Prime Minister actually tells an American president what he really thinks. On the night when I saw it, and I suspect on every other night, this speech received a rapturous round of applause.

Richard Curtis was obviously tapping in to some part of the British psyche when he wrote that. We all find it embarrassing and we all realise that only in a movie would a British Prime Minister actually do that.


Cecilieaux said...

This is something Americans rarely hear. Having lived in England, however, I recognize how deeply bullied Brits often feel. (Not that Britain didn't do its share of bullying in its day, but nonetheless ...)

Kel said...

Oh, Britain did her share of it in her day. However, many of us are left wondering what we get out of this special relationship.

And when our Prime Minister appears as if he's behaving like a poodle towards a man many of us regard as a cretin, then it is simply embarrassing.