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Are Yanks and Brits going their separate ways?

Patrick Buchanan on

Sir Kim's cable, which caused his resignation, was not of that caliber. Yet the "special relationship" between the United States and Great Britain is no longer what it was during the 20th century.

Back in the 19th century, there was no special relationship, but almost a special hostility. The U.S. declared war on Great Britain in 1812, and the British arrived in 1814 to burn down the Capitol and the White House and all the major public buildings in the city.

Gen. Andrew Jackson settled accounts in New Orleans in 1815.

During the war of 1861-1865, the British tilted to the Confederacy and built the legendary raider CSS Alabama that wrought devastation on Union shipping before being sunk off Cherbourg in 1864.

We almost went to war with Britain in 1895, when Grover Cleveland and Secretary of State Richard Olney brashly intruded in a border dispute between British Guiana and Venezuela, and Lord Salisbury told us to butt out. "I rather hope that the fight will come soon," yelped Theodore Roosevelt.

Cooler heads prevailed and Britain's Arthur Balfour said the time would come when a statesman even greater than Monroe "will lay down the doctrine that between English-speaking peoples, war is impossible."

So it came to be in the 20th century.

In 1917 and 1941, America came to the rescue of a Britain which had declared war, first on the Kaiser's Germany, and then on Hitler's. During 45 years of the Cold War, America had no stronger or more reliable ally.

But the world has changed in the post-Cold War era, and even more for Britain than for the United States.

Among London's elites today, many see their future in the EU. U.S. trade with Britain is far less than U.S. trade with Canada, Mexico, China or Japan. Britain's economy is a diminished share of the world economy. The British Empire upon which the sun never set, holding a fifth of the world's territory and people, has been history for over half a century. The U.S. population is now five times that of Great Britain. And London is as much a Third World city as it is an English city.

Scores of thousands of Americans and Brits are no longer standing together on the Elbe river across from the Red Army, an army that no longer exists, as the Soviet Empire and the Soviet Union no longer exist.

Yet, in terms of language, culture, ethnicity, history, geography, America has no more natural ally across the sea. And the unfortunate circumstances of Sir Kim's departure do not cancel out that American interest.

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Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.

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