Anglo-American Relations: The Special Relationship Marches On

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By Prof. Inderjeet Parmar | 01 August 2010


Even as British leaders, and the media, proclaim the imminent death of the ‘special relationship’ with the United States, they cannot seem to help backing America’s line in world affairs. Last week, when Prime Minister David Cameron was in Turkey, he rather ‘boldly’ (for a British leader), criticised Israeli policies in Gaza. He stated, rather obviously, that Gaza resembled a prison camp.

A day or two later, in India, Cameron found himself criticising the Pakistan authorities for supporting and exporting terrorism – again, claims controversial only because made by a British leader of a staunch ally/patron of the United States.

The previous week, of course, David Cameron, had been visiting President Obama in Washington, DC. Prior to that, Cameron had asked everyone to not obsess about the special relationship. During the election campaign, he had criticised New Labour’s Gordon Brown of “slavish” dependence on the United States. In turn, Obama has been, it is said, somewhat ‘cold’ towards Britain (and Europe), and rather warmer towards India and China, emerging powers rather than waning ones.

Interesting how Cameron’s criticisms of Israel and of Pakistan echo almost identical comments made by Obama, Clinton and other high officials in Washington, DC. And interesting too that Cameron seeks a ‘special relationship’ with India at precisely the moment that the United States elevates that country on its own global agenda.


Inderjeet Parmar is Professor of Government. He studied Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Sociology at the University of London. He obtained his doctorate at the University of Manchester. He joined the Department of Government as a lecturer in 1996. From 1991, he was lecturer in American Studies.

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