The Politics of the British-American “Special Relationship”

In her speech delivered by British Prime Minister, Theresa May to the Republican Party on January 26 2017, she said;

“For the past century, Britain and America – and the unique and special relationship that exists between us – have taken the idea conceived by those “fifty-six rank-and-file, ordinary citizens”, as President Reagan called them, forward. And because we have done so, time and again it is the relationship between us that has defined the modern world.”

No doubt, America and Britain are equally responsible for the main problems that exist around the World today from global wealth inequality, to destroying other countries. Both play their role in deceiving the “Modern World” with false justifications and political manipulation of the masses. However, this “special relationship” that the UK venerates, has often been dominated by America. In light of this discussion, we examine the “special relationship” Britain created with America since the end of the Second World War.

The American Alliance

America emerged as the new superpower of the world from the wreckage of the Second World War, whilst the conflict had left Britain exhausted, effectively bankrupt and militarily overextended (there were British troops in over 40 countries in 1945). In these circumstances, the Labour government elected in July 1945, who were determined to maintain Britain’s position as a great imperialist power, had to fundamentally shift the philosophy of the British foreign policy in order to practically stay relevant in global politics. They considered it essential to continue Churchill’s wartime alliance with the US into peacetime, albeit of unequal strength. As events were to show, the British need for the Americans was to prove far greater than the Americans need for them.

Britain sells it soul to America

Britain allowed Americans to establish bases for B-29 bombers in Britain initiating a permanent establishment of foreign military bases on British soil. The Secretary of State, Ernest Bevin, acknowledged the gravity of this decision and said “Permanent peacetime bases involved quite new principles.” Chancellor of the Exchequer, Stafford Cripps also observed in October 1947, that “Britain must be regarded as the main base for the deployment of American power”. By 1950, the Americans were basing bombers carrying nuclear weapons in Britain. Next came the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) which was to become the most important international organisation through which the US controlled its allies and exercised its power.

Blood Price in Korea

Even though the Second World War ended, Britain took an unprecedented decision to continue conscription into peacetime. Soldiers were then used to fight American wars. Britain effectively paid a “blood price” to show their commitment to US foreign policy, so that it could be perceived to the world as on par with America as an international superpower. This came at the peak of the Korean War when the Communist North invaded the South in June 1950. As John Newsinger notes in his book, “The Blood Never Dried”, initially British chiefs were opposed to sending troops to Korea with British troops already overstretched and fears that involvement in the war would damage relations with Communist China. The Labour Government had recognised Mao Zedong’s regime in January 1950 and didn’t share the ferocity of American enmity towards it. Nevertheless, Britain despatched troops and ships to fight America’s war. The British ambassador in Washington, Oliver Franks, made it clear that “refusal to provide troops would harm Anglo-American relations.” The cabinet decided that “British land forces should be sent in order to consolidate Anglo-American friendship and to placate American public opinion.[1]

Britain – The Junior “Partner” in America’s Empire

Britain’s futile attempt at reasserting British power in 1956, invading Egypt in alliance with France and Israel was brutally cut short by American economic and political pressure, yet the British ruling class remained fully committed to restoring and maintaining an alliance with the Americans regardless of the post-war humiliation inflicted upon them by America. Whilst the French under President de Gaulle was actually to close down US bases in France and order the removal of all US forces from French soil, looking to Europe as a counter-balance to American power, Britain chose the path of junior “partnership” in America’s global empire. Britain was a deliberate obstacle to Europe becoming a counter-balance to the US, and this remains the situation today[2].

The Nuclear Axis

Under its blood sucking empire, Britain was able to pursue the global interests of the Capitalists; however, ever since WW2 only America had the military might to globe trot and so an American alliance has since been seen as a fundamental ruling class interest. Its opting out from the Eurozone and participation in the occupation of Iraq symbolises this resolution. Under the Macmillan government it was made clear that a partnership with American on whatever terms was the only option following its failure in the French alliance to occupy the Suez Canal. As Sir William Dickson, chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, declared: “We and the Americans are the only two powers with global interests.” Moreover, under Macmillan, Britain begged President Kennedy for the nuclear armed Polaris nuclear missile.  He emphasised British support during the Cuban crisis and described Castro to Kennedy as “your Nasser.[3]” Americans agreed to in 1963 marking a new phase of British submission. Interestingly, ministers disagreed developing nuclear weapons with America as it would create a nuclear axis of dependence with America and argued that they should develop them with France. Instead, the Polaris deal was concluded and as David Reynolds, a Professor of International history argued, “It locked Britain into a transatlantic nuclear dependence that has endured to the present day.[4]  This was the emblem of British subordination to America.

More Blood Price in Vietnam

It was clear that the American bombing campaign in Vietnam was not in the interest of Britain. In 1964, Harold Wilson was confronted with the transformation of a full scale war in Vietnam. Although Labour publicly supported America’s bloody colonial war, when Americans pressed for British troops to be despatched to Vietnam, Wilson vehemently refused. “Lyndon Johnson is begging me even to send a bagpipe band to Vietnam” was what Wilson told his cabinet in December 1964[5]. Similar to the 2003 Iraq War, there was a very strong anti-war feeling in Britain which was expressed unprecedentedly in October 1968 when a Vietnam Solidarity Campaign was able to stage a march of 100,000 people in London in support of the Vietcong. Michael Foot, a leader of the Labour left even warned Wilson that, if British troops set foot in Vietnam, “they would tear to pieces even the secure majority which they now have in the House”.  However, the British government fully supported America’s war which was estimated to have dropped over 8 million tons of explosives (roughly three times the weight of bombs dropped by all sides in WW2 and the explosive force was equal to 640 of the atom bombs used on Hiroshima) and with an estimated number of deaths above 3 million[6]. As well as providing regional intelligence, Britain supplied military hardware through back channels and offered paid training in jungle warfare to US special ops. An estimated 2000 British soldiers were also deployed on the ground in Vietnam. America needed moral legitimacy and military expertise for its war which Britain gave despite the public against it.

The “Special Relationship”

In November 1997 Blair told the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that when Britain and the United States “work together on the international scene there is little we cannot achieve. Our aim should be to deepen our relationship with the USA at all levels.” Throughout his entire career, Blair did America’s dirty work at every opportunity. In retaliation for Al Qaeda attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, Clinton ordered attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan. Cruise missiles destroyed a pharmaceutical factory that produced most of the country’s antibiotics, yet Blair defended the action. As John Kampfner, the chronicler of Blair’s wars, observes, “Blair was virtually alone in defending the action.” He quotes an anonymous member of Blair’s inner circle: “Everyone knew that what Clinton was doing was wrong—bombing that plant—but we also knew that supporting him was right”[7]. In 1998, when Clinton launched punitive air raids, Operation Desert Fox, British aircraft took part in the attacks that hit 250 targets. Under Blair, Britain also supported the government’s sanctions that have said to have killed half a million Iraqi children. This was before the estimated million killed in the 2003 invasion. Britain also fought under the banner of America in Yugoslavia and Kosovo. Blair continued to provide the ideological ammunition for America’s bombing campaigns invoking lies based on “humanitarian intervention” as a new “doctrine of the international community”.  The lies of WMD under Saddam was merely a drop in the ocean.

America uses Britain for European Influence

It was through the Marshall Plan and other mechanisms, that the US revived the European economy. The European Union serves American ideological and political objectives. Ideologically, American capitalists believe in free trade and want to see greater integration among the European economies, which is the world’s largest economic relationship accounting for one third of total goods and services trade and nearly half of global economic output[8]. Politically, however, America views European integration as a buttress for NATO. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO was to re-evaluate its reason or being. This reason became to act as the skeletal organiser of Western military muscle and offensively annex surrounding regions such as the Baltic, Nordic and Visegrad group so that America can have dominance over Eurasia[9]. Britain is used by America to actualise this ambition by exerting her influence over Europe. The “specialness” of Britain’s position is that it can be Europe’s voice in America, and America’s first cousin in Europe.

British Foreign Policy today

British supremacy ended many decades ago and what we witness of May’s enthusiasm towards the “special relationship” can be seen as an attempt to stay relevant in international politics under the auspices of America. The reality of Britain is that the power it flexes, is nothing but an expression of the deep inferiority complex Britain has in the world today.  Internationally it has been overtaken by dozens of countries in political, economic and military strength. Domestically, there is more wealth inequality than ever seen before, social decay, and more lack of trust between the people and the politicians than ever before. This has culminated in deep mistrust of the establishment with people voting for Brexit in the June 16 Referendum, largely in an “anti-establishment” vote. Far from gaining strength, Britain is the manifestation of an ideological failure.

British policy makers have accepted the nation’s weakness after WW2 and developed a policy of preservation rather than outright competition with the US. Britain has managed to achieve its interests through a policy of preserving its global ambitions by working with the US and the EU, whilst at the same time working to divert, alter, complicate and limit the aims of both. Although, Britain continues to compete with the US as seen in Libya, Yemen, Lebanon and Iran, it lacks the resources or the economy to achieve anything substantial. Britain plays its weakening hand with impressive political skill, however this is insufficient in becoming the world’s superpower.

As far as Muslims are concerned Britain and US share a mutual interest to prevent the re-establishment of the Khilafah and to keep the Ummah supressed and under the shackles of Western political hegemony. As a result of this, both nations continue to bomb Syria and support dictators in the Muslim world. Both have implemented similar Counter-extremism policy against Muslims domestically and work tirelessly to reform Islam such that the political ambitions of the Muslims are crushed and they remain subservient to the global capitalist architecture.    

[1] P Lowe, The Origins of the Korean War (London, 1986), p177.

[2] John Newsinger, The Blood Never Dried (London, 2006), p265

[3] R Aldrich, The Hidden Hand: Britain, America and Cold War Intelligence (London, 2001), p609.

[4] D Reynolds, Britannia Overruled (Harlow, 1991), p216.


[6] J Neale, The American War: Vietnam 1960-1975 (London, 2001), p62.

[7] J Kampfner, Blair’s Wars (London, 2004), pp16-17, 28.




Leave a Comment