Washington believes that the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US is over, according to a secret briefing document seen by The Mail on Sunday. The memo for members of Congress states damningly that ‘the UK may not be viewed as centrally relevant to the United States in all of the issues and relations considered a priority on the US agenda’.
Dated April 2015 and drawn up to brief the Senate and House of Representatives on the impact of Britain’s General Election, the memo also warns that the UK faces turmoil if there is a hung parliament.
The document – prepared by the Congressional Research Service, an in-house intelligence body that gives confidential analysis to legislators – states that while Britain and the US are likely to ‘remain key economic partners’, a ‘reassessment of the special relationship may be in order… because its geopolitical setting has been changing’.
The memo, edited by Derek E Mix, the CRS’s chief European affairs analyst, says that the development of organisations such as the G20 group of major economies has led to a decline in the ‘influence and centrality of the relationship’.
To be fair, Britain hasn’t been militarily or economically worthy of the “special relationship” for a long time; there is almost nothing Britain could do to help the United States in a pinch. But the historic ties between the two anglophonic nations, the one the child of the other, used to be deemed worthy of respect. But not, of course, under Obama, whose resentment toward Britain was evident on day one of his disastrous presidency.
The ‘special relationship’ has been deployed by generations of politicians – most notably Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – to describe the close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relations between the two countries. It was first coined in a 1944 speech by Winston Churchill, when he said it was his ‘deepest conviction that unless Britain and the United States are joined in a special relationship… another destructive war will come to pass’. Increasingly, however, the relationship has come to be seen as one-sided, with British Prime Ministers more keen to flag up the alliance than US Presidents.
When David Cameron visited the White House in January, he insisted the President had said the special relationship was ‘stronger than it has ever been’.