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Special Relationship 2

Written By: - Date published: 8:41 am, January 27th, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: iraq, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags: , , , ,

I suppose it makes sense. Two countries that are at war against themselves internally and cutting themselves off from the world internationally are likely to end up leaning on each other for mutual support:

Theresa May to seek special deal with Trump in White House visit

Theresa May will shrug off concerns about Donald Trump’s presidency and pledge to rekindle the special relationship as she begins a two-day charm offensive that will see her become the first world leader to meet the new US president.

MPs, including some in May’s own party, have expressed anxiety about Trump’s stance on a range of issues, including protectionism and torture. Global trade experts have warned that Britain may gain little from a bilateral trade deal with Washington.

But the prime minister will deliver a warm message about the two countries working closely together when she addresses senior Republicans at the party’s annual retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday, before she meets Trump in the White House for face-to-face talks on Friday. …

It will stroke Trump’s ego, so of course he will leap at the opportunity for validation. And to be fair “a warm message about the two countries working closely together” doesn’t sound bad. But then we get to:

[May:] “So as we rediscover our confidence together – as you renew your nation just as we renew ours – we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to renew the special relationship for this new age. We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.”

A special relationship. Renewing their nations. The responsibility to lead together again.

Because it worked so well last time.

58 comments on “Special Relationship 2”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Yes, it’s worrying.

    But, isn’t this special relationship #3?

    The first was Thatcher-Reagan? Although, this wikipedia article puts Reagan-Thatcher as in the middle of a long term series of special relationships throughout the 20th century.

    So maybe it tends on how old I/we are. I certainly remember the Reagan-Thatcher relationship being talked of as THE “special relationship” at the time.

    This NY Times article focuses on the Reagan-Thatcher special relationship.

    What the British like to think of as the “special relationship” between the United States and Britain flowered under Mrs. Thatcher. She offered sound advice and urged resolution on a president anxious to do the right thing. Her example taught her successor, Tony Blair, that to increase his influence in the world he must befriend first Bill Clinton, then George W. Bush. That was fine when, as in Kosovo, Mr. Blair and Mr. Clinton agreed on the same approach. When Mr. Bush became intent on invading Iraq, Mr. Blair’s opinions on the occupation of Iraq were dismissed and yet he, too, fell in line, a serious blemish on his tenure.

    To me it always seemed that Thatcher latched onto the Reagan admin because she was nostalgic for the great days of the British Empire. Consequently she wanted in on the US imperial power.

    That NY Times article makes something of a subliminal erotic relationship between Thatcher & Reagan. I can’t imagine that the prim upperclass-style of May includes any personal liking for (or attraction to) the misogynistic buffoon Trump.

    But it’s all about power. And the lonely Brexit UK, now has a yearning for some powerful allies. So it’s back to the old Anglophile 5 Eyes bonds.

    We might need to reconsider whether we want to remain as part of this icky club.

    • r0b 1.1

      But, isn’t this special relationship #3?

      Mmm – good point!

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Well no. It goes back further than that:

        • Psycho Milt 1.1.1.1

          That relationship was very “special” – the USA agreed to help Britain fight fascism by providing food, weapons and ammunition, to the extent that Britain could pay for it in hard currency (very hard currency, ie gold bullion). Once the gold was all gone and Britain was bankrupt, they were willing to provide the odd obsolete WW1 destroyer in exchange for British imperial possessions useful as military bases. It beats me why the British government keeps hankering after renewing that kind of “special” relationship – maybe it’s like women who always love the guy who’s going to treat them badly?

          • Morrissey 1.1.1.1.1

            the USA agreed to help Britain fight fascism

            Of course, after the war the USA agreed to help Britain—and France—fight against democracy.

          • Nic the NZer 1.1.1.1.2

            If you look at the actual Lend Lease terms the US was extremely generous. The US essentially dropped its Neutrallity in its material support for the USSR and Britain, as both had exhausted gold supplies to settle around 1941 already. While Allies were paying their own way congress considered the US neutral.
            The main reason the UK ended up with out standing loans (fully repaid in 2006) was because it wanted to maintain supplies following the war. The loan cost about 10% of the value of supplies at the time.

            • greywarshark 1.1.1.1.2.1

              That’s interesting Nic the NZer. I have always been interested in the Lend Lease and knew that Britain was still paying it off. I had assumed that the rate was high and that they had been crippled by it but without any research. You say it was advantageous for them to take their time.

              I wonder what the interest rate was? I think I saw that NZ is paying 7% on something which seems very high for a ‘sovereign’ country.
              Maybe my eyes played up.

              • Nic the NZer

                https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-American_loan

                Its described above. The interest rate was 2%.

                NZ could still be repaying pre GFC bonds at above 7% because the interest rate environment maintained by the RBNZ was high at the time these were issued. Issueing bonds to match govt expenditure is mostly a form of corporate welfare for financial institutions, in particular supporting the private retirement savings industry. Its not a requirement for NZ govt to spend or function however.

            • Psycho Milt 1.1.1.1.2.2

              Sure, in 1940 the USA bankrupted the only country (including its imperial possessions) still fighting the Nazis by demanding payment in gold for everything supplied, but it was very generous with the loan terms it offered once the gold had run out and there weren’t any more military bases to be extracted as payment. That’s the kind of “special relationship” that exists between the USA and the UK, and British governments that forget it are incompetent ones.

    • “That NY Times article makes something of a subliminal erotic relationship between Thatcher & Reagan.”

      Recommended listening:

      Dead Kennedys – Kinky sex makes the world go round.

  2. saveNZ 2

    Great the UK and USA has a warm and peaceful relationship, less great when it evolves into dropping millions of bombs on innocent civilians, getting paranoid and turning into a control freak, about your own citizens who you seem to need to survey without transparency and in short think ‘you know best’ on every issue and bend the facts to make it so. (WMD in Iraq).

  3. Wayne 3

    I appreciate that Standardnistas don’t like Five Eyes, and the relationships that underpin it.

    But it worth recollecting it is Australia, Canada, NZ the UK and the US. Our closest relationship by far is with Australia. We have a traditional relationship with the UK, and this is going to strengthen as a result of Brexit. NZer’s always have a fond relationship with Canadians. Over the last 8 years there has been an improved relationship with the US.

    One of the outcomes of Brexit and Trump, is that the Anglosphere nations are likely to get closer, especially through trade. A number of US conservative commentators see this as an inevitable outcome, particularly since Trump has stepped back fromTPP and seemingly Mexico. Part of Trumps concern seems to be that the economic differences are too great, allowing lower wage countries to undercut higher wage countries (e.g. Mexico and the US)

    It would be crazy in these circumstances that we start to distance ourselves from the group of nations with whom we have our closest cultural, economic and security relationships. Particularly if they are about to get closer.

    • Stunned Mullet 3.1

      But what about the white liberal guilt ?

      Surely it’s too much to bear !

    • Pat 3.2

      “We have a traditional relationship with the UK, and this is going to strengthen as a result of Brexit. NZer’s always have a fond relationship with Canadians. Over the last 8 years there has been an improved relationship with the US.”

      Ever the optimist eh Wayne? And these fond relationships have served us how historically? Didn’t make any difference when the UK decided to join the EEC, hasn’t helped with Canadian ag subsidies…..fondness has little to do with geopolitics and has even less place in economic ambition…are all our politicians as naive as you choose to present Wayne?

      • Wayne 3.2.1

        Pat,

        We actually got a very good deal with the UK when they went into the EEC. That is why we still export some butter and cheese to the UK. As they leave the EU they want a FTA with NZ, our agricultural exports being part of the reason.

        On Canada yes, they are protectionists. TPP was intended to reduce that a bit, along with access to the US market. But TPP as it applies to the US and Canada is dead.

        A “Five Eyes” FTA would probably be a better substitute, so it involve economies with relatively similar levels of per capita income, plus the obvious cultural similarities.

        It is easy to think about all the bad things about Trump, but perhaps it is time to also think of the opportunities.

        • Pat 3.2.1.1

          “We actually got a very good deal with the UK when they went into the EEC. That is why we still export some butter and cheese to the UK. As they leave the EU they want a FTA with NZ, our agricultural exports being part of the reason.”

          We got “A'” deal….how “good” is open to debate….the point however is that the UKs ‘fondness’ for NZ (and its tens of thousands war dead) didn’t override their perceived political and economic self interest….and Canada and the TPPA….do you really want to go there?

          A 5 eyes FTA…with a US 30 day arbitrary policing?yeah ,right

          As you say , it IS very easy to observe all the bad things about Trump….I’d be delighted for you to point out all the (realistic) uplifting opportunities offered by the orange buffoon and his lunatic cabinet

          • Tricledrown 3.2.1.1.1

            Agriculture May be off the list when EU subsidies are withdrawn.
            The UK will not subsidise its agriculture to compete against us.
            Likewise Trump dumped the TPPA for one reason the electoral college.
            I have said all along to you and others that the US will never open it’s markets to free access for agriculture.
            Because of those 3or 4 states.
            Trump played his cards right and trumped Hillary.
            Only when those states depopulate will agriculture be given tariff free access.

        • Morrissey 3.2.1.2

          It is easy to think about all the bad things about Trump, but perhaps it is time to also think of the opportunities.

          ?????

          You’re not in cabinet any more, Dr. Mapp. That means you’re not obliged to keep spouting crap like that.

    • saveNZ 3.3

      On the flip side Wayne, do we really want everyone’s personal details being held by 5 Eyes with Trump and May at the helm – what happens when Mexico says I’m not paying for the F++king Wall? Not to mention the possibilities of leaks and hacks of 5 eyes.

      Is Trump going to Bomb Mexico (or anyone else) and should NZ support that to hopefully sell some butter or milk powder? I think governments should try to get along with everyone including Russia, China, EU and so forth but hope our government does not become an enabler for things that are morally wrong. The US and UK abandoned many of it’s citizens years ago. It is a slippery slope. Millions marched against Tony Blair going into Iraq, and many people in the UK always knew it was going to be a disaster. Now we have ISIS created and people with legitimate hate and gripes against the West, massive refugees that should never have happened while no doubt the defence budget is siphoning off money left right and centre and keeping the war of terror discourse alive.

      Intelligence can be used for peace – that’s not the way the governments are using 5 eyes, quite the opposite – for personal control and to gain advantages over others including their own citizens who might disagree with them.

      • Wayne 3.3.1

        Save NZ

        Trump is not going to bomb Mexico. In fact he seems to want to reduce the US presence overseas. I would have thought you would have liked that.

        • Tricledrown 3.3.1.1

          That’s what Obama said to .
          Trump wants to annihlate Isis bomb them into oblivion.
          He has also said he is going to increase spending on the military.
          So how are the 2 compatible..

      • Carolyn_nth 3.3.2

        Trump is probably going to reduce aid to Mexico and claim that will pay for the Wall. Trump has said something about getting the payment for the Wall indirectly.

        So then Trump will claim his promise to get Mexico to pay for the Wall has been fulfilled.

    • Anne 3.4

      Over the last 8 years there has been an improved relationship with the US.

      Where have you BEEN in the past few weeks Wayne? It’s gone mate! Oh yes, English will mumble on about what great mates we are, and he’s already sent his side-kick McClay to grovel at The Trump’s feet with a lick and a promise we’ll be good boys (note girls don’t count any more), but that won’t change a thing. Chamberlain found that out nearly 80 years ago!

      America is going to the dogs and you better get used to it.

      • Macro 3.4.1

        And it’s going to go to the dogs very quickly I reckon. This 20% tax on Mexican imports is a buggers muddle if ever there was one. The man is proving to be a raving lunatic. If he is left to go on with these crazy half cocked policies without any thought to the international consequences the USA will soon become a pariah state.

    • Gabby 3.5

      What can we offer the yankers in return for surveillance equipment?

    • reason 3.6

      Waynes never seen an illegal usa war that he hasn’t wanted to involve NZ in … for a trade deal.

      Wayne was a belligerent foghorn …. shouting bush and blair lies …. as he and yellow guts Key brayed for our armed services to kill some Iraqis ….

      National was in Govt when we joined in the illegal invasion of Vietnam ….

      I believe a National government voted in support of Pol Pot when he and was part of the Government in abstinence that was recognized in the U.N

      when the usa was supporting them with money. weapons, training …. and a seat at the u.n http://bennorton.com/wikileaks-us-supported-the-khmer-rouge-for-stability-like-the-middle-east-today/

      http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/politics/2014/04/how-thatcher-gave-pol-pot-hand

  4. Heather Grimwood 4

    Makes me think again that to live in a republic in the sense of neither being beholden to military or other ties, nor feeling aggression or paranoia, is the ultimate utopia. For me this would show a self-sufficient ‘adult’ state.

  5. Anne 5

    Theresa May could withhold intelligence sharing with the USA if Trump’s CIA adopt torture techniques:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-donald-trump-us-visit-a7548136.html

    So, does that make it the four eyes 4EYES relationship?

  6. Skeptic 6

    I think both Leaders are ignorant of History. The “special relationship” between the US & UK began in 1941 when Churchill met Roosevelt on the HMS Prince of Wales and set up the forerunner to NATO. Intelligence and technology sharing was the first concrete result with Britain sharing “Tube Alloys” (nuclear research – UK was far ahead of US then) and “Ultra” (cryptography and the breaking of German enigma machine) and “Ruff Duff” (called Radar by Americans) and jet engine technology. America shared cavity magnetron (microwave), Purple decryption (Japanese codes) and contributed lend-lease. After the War this became UKUSA sharing “echelon” (electronic surveillance) between UK, US, Canada, Aust & NZ (see Nicky Hager’s book). During the Reagan years this co-operation was expanded somewhat to meet threats from USSR – pre-Gorbachev. It was, to all intents and purposes, misused by Bush/Blair during and after 2003, expending almost all the monetary surpluses gathered by Thatcher & Clinton and plunging both countries into several trillion dollar debts – thus triggering the banking crises/national economic crises in US, UK & EU. What ever else May may be, I don’t think she’ll be a big fan of “alternative facts” – I think that being committed to seeing Brexit through, she’s seeing how far she can push a trade deal with the US – and if Trump can be trusted.

    • Phil 6.1

      I think both Leaders are ignorant of History. The “special relationship” between the US & UK began in 1941 when Churchill met Roosevelt

      The ‘special relationship’ between the two nations could arguably be said to begin in 1783. 😛

      Even so, there’s a stronger case to be made that even 1941 is far too late for the start of close ties between the US and the UK. Before WWI, the US was only a middling power, with little to no global reach or influence. It was only by dint of bankrolling the allied powers against Germany and Austria-Hungary that the US became a true global player and something resembling an equal partner with the UK. .

      • Skeptic 6.1.1

        I’m pretty sure the article meant the formal special relationship in the modern political & historical sense, which most academics agree, was started in 1941. After 1782 (Treaty of Paris) America was focused on westward expansion, which coupled with the Monroe Doctrine, Teddy Roosevelt’s Pacific “sphere of influence” and isolationism, meant any political alliance was out of the question until FDR had won his 4th term.

  7. Sabine 7

    bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-donald-trump-nhs-us-trade-deal-brexit-torture-a7548156.html

    Asked whether health services might form a part of a potential deal, she said: “We’re at the start of the process of talking about a trade deal. We’re both very clear that we want a trade deal.

    “It will be in the interests of the UK from my point of view, that’s what I’m going to be taking in, into the trade discussions that take place in due course.

    “Obviously he will have the interests of the US. I believe we can come to an agreement that is in the interests of both.”

  8. Incognito 8

    From the Guardian article:

    But May has judged there is more to be gained by striking up what Downing Street sources called a “grown up” relationship with the new president than by remaining aloof.[my bold]

    The Nanny and the Petulant Child more like it.

    Since May is visiting the US a little excursion to the Hadrian Wall is out of the question.

    But on a serious note, it’s a shame to almost without exception economic imperatives trump [no pun] all other considerations.

    Lastly, I have great difficulty interpreting the words “renew” and “new” in May’s rhetoric; one’s imagination can easily lead one into ‘the wrong corner’ if one is not careful.

  9. Morrissey 9

    That special relationship in action….

  10. joe90 10

    Oh this is just fucking peachy, trussed up…..

    Donald Trump says he will handle trade deal with @theresa_may himself because he doesn't have a commerce secretaryhttps://t.co/4TXyviCNmM pic.twitter.com/8H6PfMjuqT— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) January 26, 2017

    …and delivered.

    Theresa May has left the door open for the greater involvement of US corporations in British healthcare as she arrives in America to lay the groundwork for a future trade deal.

    Ms May would only say that she was committed to a health service that is free at the point of delivery, but made no comment on whether the NHS would be off the table in any future talks.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/theresa-may-donald-trump-nhs-us-trade-deal-brexit-torture-a7548156.html

  11. greywarshark 11

    Just to help us remain pragmatic about politics, political figures – people and stats – and democracy. Requires an approach, a little cynical, a little idealistic, and always hopeful but resigned. Some cynical quotations from Cassell Publishing.

    Democracy is an abuse of statistics. Jorge Luis Borges quoted in Prisoner without a name…
    Jacobo Timerman 1981

    Democracy consists of choosing your dictators, after they’ve told you what it is you think you want to hear.
    Alan Coren, in the Daily Mail 1975

    Democracy: in which you say what you like and do what you’re told.
    Gerald Barry
    (Probably this man who sounds as if he was a pretty good sort.)
    Sir Gerald Barry (20 November 1898 – 21 November 1968) was a British newspaper editor and organiser of the Festival of Britain that attracted highly favourable national attention in 1951. Barry was long-time newspaper editor with left-leaning, middle-brow views, he was energetic and optimistic, with an eye for what would be popular, and had a knack on how to motivate others.Wikipedia

    In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and peace and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock!
    Orson Welles and Graham Greene, screenplay for The Third Man 1949

    • Peter ChCh 11.1

      To be fair, the Swiss also developed money laundering to an art form. Along with the concept of taking the stolen proceeds of ethnic and religiius cleansing and then stealing it themselves. And also lets not forget their contribution to assisting Nazi war criminals to evade justice. Yeah, the Swiss ‘peace, brotherly love and democracy’ was built upon the misery of others outside of Switzerland, guess thats what they learned over those 500 years.

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        Peter ChCh
        Your points aie right, and redundant. The remark was a quip, not to be taken seriously, not to be analysed.

        I have just been reading about how England broke Wales which had been relatively free and self governing for eight hundred years. What a heartbreak for their leader who had been trying to unify and get a peaceful country without fear of war. At the age of 60 he finally has a child, his wife having been held for three years by the English as a hostage to force him to obey their wishes, his wife dies from the childbirth, he is fighting in another six months and is lured to his death, and the English kidnap the child at the age of a year and put her into an isolated nunnery where she stays till death at 37. Her relations are hunted down by the English, and their women are put into convents for life also, and the leader’s brother is hanged, drawn and quartered. Poor Wales. Prince Charles is the latest Prince of Wales.

        Every country has its black spots that can’t be washed away. Switzerland has been reliably secretive about money. Key learned from that and has tried to set us up similarly, and appears to have turned us into Dodge City.
        So don’t be too quick to heave half a brick.

        And when asked to show concern and make a protest against demeaning apartheid in South Africa by ostracising South African rugby players, NZ men acted with fury, and decades later many still moan that they were not able to watch their favourite sport. If we had Nazis on our doorstep we would probably have caved in faster than Switzerland. We have done a few grand things in our haphazard way, but it’s not a sure thing mate.

  12. One Two 12

    ‘Special’ = Plebs will not understand the words and their coded meanings

  13. AB 13

    Trump doesn’t really do relationships special or otherwise. Probably just grab her by the …

    • No chance. She’s not young enough to be his granddaughter, for a start…

      • Anne 13.1.1

        Btw, thanks to PM, Andre, AB and others for the humorous comments. It helps to lighten the repressive Trump-inspired gloom that has enveloped much of the world in recent weeks.

  14. simonm 14

    A reminiscence from a previous “special relationship”.

    http://hungryblues.net/2004/06/11/remembering-reagan/

  15. joe90 16

    Charming.

    (video)

    "There goes that relationship."Trump smirks and scoffs when a BBC reporter takes him to task about torture, abortion and banning Muslims: pic.twitter.com/bl42L3Luoy— Fusion (@Fusion) January 27, 2017

    https://twitter.com/i/web/status/825068505812844545

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