Obama gets round to telling the truth about the unspecial relationship | Politics | The Guardian
Barack Obama, David Cameron, to discuss BP colleagues," relations between the respective leaders means the phrase "special relationship" In a leader column the newspaper says Obama's attacks are "rank hypocrisy,". David Cameron's former director of strategy has said Cameron thought But their special relationship deteriorated and by Obama was . role of a newspaper was accurate reporting, insisting that “facts are sacred. David Cameron privately believed that Barack Obama was one of the Cameron initially enjoyed a friendly repartee, but their relationship was.
David Cameron and Barack Obama in Washington.
Cameron, Obama and that special relationship | Alexander Chancellor | Opinion | The Guardian
It is a concept in which British leaders usually claim passionately to believe despite mounting evidence of its unreality, at least in the sense that the British have understood it. That our two countries enjoy close relations on many levels is self-evident. But what the British mean by "special" in this context is "unique", a relationship closer, stronger, and more important than that between the US and any other nation.
America is under no such illusion, which is why only a couple of weeks ago Barack Obama was saying to Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington: Britain, on the other hand, has only one special relationship, like the faithful spouse of a philanderer. No wonder we scrutinise every word and gesture of our partner, in hope of confirmation that we still rank first in his affections.
It is to David Cameron's great credit that he has tried to free us from this emotional dependence. In the article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal on the eve of his first visit to Washington as prime minister, he used the words "special relationship" three times, but mainly to condemn our unhealthy obsession with it. He did not say so explicitly, but he was effectively trying to bury the romantic concept of specialness in our partnership with the US.
He said the relationship was "entirely natural" and survived not because of "historical ties or blind loyalty" but because it "serves our national interests".
Cameron went on to promote the idea of an open marriage, giving carte blanche to both countries to form whatever other partnerships they wanted. It was quite right, he said, that the US should strengthen its ties with rising powers such as China, and that Britain should do the same with India. He even seemed to want Britain's relationship with India to be no less special than its one with the US.
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With his emphasis on realism, Cameron also recognised that Britain was "the junior partner" in the relationship, though at the same time "a strong, self-confident country" in other words, a country that should be less cringingly insecure in its attitude to the relationship.
To describe Britain today as the junior partner was hardly controversial, but the prime minister made a surprising gaffe when he said on Sky News this week that it had also been "the junior partner in when we were fighting the Nazis". Barack, too, tried to maintain the pretence that his presence in the UK was a total coincidence by saying how much he had enjoyed being driven to lunch by the Dook of Edinboro and how he had actually been playing table tennis with Dave against some nine-year olds.
Thankfully, Barack remembered his manners and Dave let out a sigh of relief. The special relationship did still count for something.
Obama gets round to telling the truth about the unspecial relationship
Then the money shot. Ahm not, er, here to, er, fix any, er, votes, er. Ahm, er, here to, er, give you, er, some, er, infor…er…mayshun.
The UK was just too small and insignificant for him to be bothered with. The trouble with talking in so many parentheses is that you eventually get round to telling the truth about how unspecial the special relationship really is, and Barack felt obliged to rein back a bit and try to respecialise the special relationship. So much so that he had moved his bust from the Oval Office to his bedside table so he could stroke it every night before bed. By now Dave was looking a bit agitated.
The president had said what he was meant to say, and more, but he was now going on a bit.