President Joe Biden is about to make his first face-to-face meeting overseas, and as you doubtless know it’s with the UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, at the G7 Summit in Cornwall. This may have come as a surprise to those who thought that Biden’s thoughts on the Northern Irish and Brexit situations would lead him to meet a leader from the EU or the Pacific region first. Don’t forget Biden’s reaction to a BBC reporter’s request for “a word”… “The BBC? I'm Irish.”
The relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom has always been complicated. It’s involved several periods of conflict, and more in which we've supported each other in times of war and other difficulties. Many on both sides of the Atlantic believe that it’s unique and strong, but Boris (who no doubt is one of them) does not want the phrase ‘Special Relationship’ to be used, especially during the G7, as it could make the UK look ‘needy’.
Even the former British ambassador to the United States, Sir Christopher Meyer, has written in the Daily Mail that in Britain “the idea of the Special Relationship has turned into an idealised vision of UK/US relations, a rhetorical device, which generates unrealistic expectations of what it can deliver”. However he goes on to say, “The US is our closest partner and ally.”
Our bonds, our similarities and our history are certainly different to those between the United States and any other country. Perhaps we should just drop the capital letters and say that yes, the US and UK do enjoy a relationship that’s special.
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