Does Britain have a special relationship with the USA? No.

Jackart says yes (my emphasis):

I think the snubbing of Gordon Brown is just that – evidence that no-one likes the mealy mouthed, dishonest, slippery, incompetent reverse midas who currently resides in Number 10 Dowing St. The fact that BHO is willing to spend half an hour and Lunch with the one-eved joy vacuum indicates that he loves the UK, and is willing to put up with such a ghastly experience to send a message to a Briatin, who is lumped with the Useless fucker for the next 438 days, that we’re still an important ally.

The fact Cyclops is there at all, shows the special relationship is alive and well.

I disagree. Neither the government nor the people of the USA regard the relationship with Britain as one of its most important ones. We can demonstrate by using Google to count the number of hits that various search terms get on change.ogv (the Obama/Biden transition site) and whitehouse.gov. Note that for some entities multiple search terms have been used so “Britain/UK” refers to whichever gets them ost hits out of the search terms “Britain”, “UK” or “Britain OR UK”. Note that whitehouse.gov is written by the US government (a lot of pages data back to Bush), while much of the content on change.gov was written by citizens.

So I’ve done this for a number of countries. I chose the top 10 by GDP, GDP at PPP, population and land area, plus a few I thought would get lots of hits. Here’s the results:

Country whitehouse.gov change.gov both
Iraq 5760 23500 29260
Israel 823 4400 5223
Afghanistan 2070 1120 3190
China 1010 1710 2720
EU/Europe/European Union 1070 1430 2500
Mexico 1140 1020 2160
Russia 1260 506 1766
Canada 839 906 1745
Germany 1020 661 1681
Japan 773 795 1568
Iran 765 712 1477
India 665 740 1405
Pakistan 679 295 974
France 492 420 912
Britain/UK 311 439 750
Australia 371 232 603
Saudi Arabia 411 156 567
Brazil 206 200 406
Argentina 289 80 369
Italy 276 89 365
Indonesia 209 138 347
Sudan 249 92 341
Spain 201 95 296
Kazakhstan 202 10 212
Nigeria 130 63 193
Bangladesh 68 28 96

So there you have it — the USA thinks its relations with Britain are less important than those with France, Pakistan, India, Iran, Japan, Germany, Canada, Russia, Mexico, Europe, China, Afghanistan, Israel and Iraq.

We’re still more important than Australia, Saudi Arabia, Brazil and Argentina, mind.

This entry was posted in Australia, Britain, China, Europe, foreign policy, France, Germany, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South West Asia, USA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Does Britain have a special relationship with the USA? No.

  1. Polaris says:

    Absolutely correct, it’s interesting to read the European press – all of them refer to their own countries “Special Relationships”. It’s kinda like the US hope none of their allies talk as they might suss the game – American selling indulgences…

  2. toranosuke says:

    Yes, there are a number of countries such as Iran, Iraq, and China which for lack of a better word I’ll call “problem countries”, which get discussed a lot, and which therefore will come up with a lot of hits. Our relationships with these countries is important because they are such volatile places, that need to be watched and controlled, etc.

    We do not have friendly relations with Iran or North Korea – far from it – and it is for that reason that there are constant discussions about what to do with these countries, how to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons, prevent them from acting in a hostile manner and unbalancing their respective regions, etc. Thus, these countries will yield a lot of hits. Much the same goes for Mexico – it yields a lot of hits on these kinds of sites because of immigration issues and concerns over the stability of Mexico’s government, not because we’re especially good friends with Mexico. Scan the headlines of any US newspaper and you’ll find the same – places where there are problems, where there is violence, make the headlines.

    Essentially, you’re mixing up “relations” (as in any and all relations) with “special relationships”, i.e. those countries with which we are most friendly. I don’t have any special evidence to share with you, but I feel very strongly, and I imagine most Americans feel quite strongly, that the UK is one of our closest allies. Most Americans will forget about Japan, I’d imagine, and of course views on Israel are divided. To be honest, I can’t think of a single country that I feel people could possibly think of as being a closer, stronger, older ally than the UK.

  3. Richard T says:

    It comes close to turning my stomach to listen to the politicians prating about the special relationship – the Tories are arguably worse than Labour; just listen to little Willie or Liam Fox. The relationship is one of give and take – we give they take and quite rationally on their part. If a medium size state wishes to subordinate its national interests to you, no US government is going to look the gift horse in the mouth. It is difficult to see where the advantage lies to Britain; nothing much in trade; damn all in our reputation globally and we’re saddled with an enormous defence budget as aprt of the absurd pretension of punching above our weight in the world. It’s certainly arguable that over the Blair years the closeness of ties with the USA has poisoned our public life with Ministers lying to Parliament about rendition, torture, weapons of mass destruction and the rest. The lying seems to have become habitual – look at the case for the 3rd runway at Heathrow where it’s quite clear that there is no case under the green legislation but sleight of hand and downright untruths have forced it through.

    The corrective for the fantasy is to read memoirs of US politicians and look in the index at the relative number of mentions of Britain as compared to other comparable states. They are relatively few.

  4. Jackart says:

    It was more a dig at the “slippery one-eyed joy vacuum”, rather than a statement of whether or not I actually think the US and the UK have a special relationship.

    I do think there is one, but not in the way the Politicians think. But that is the subject for another post.

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  6. cabalamat says:

    Toranosuke: I don’t have any special evidence to share with you, but I feel very strongly, and I imagine most Americans feel quite strongly, that the UK is one of our closest allies. […] To be honest, I can’t think of a single country that I feel people could possibly think of as being a closer, stronger, older ally than the UK.

    Jackart: I do think there is one, but not in the way the Politicians think.

    I think we have to differentiate between politicians and the general public. To the US public, when they think of countries similar to the USA, they are going to think of countries that are English-speaking, democratic, and rich. That pretty much means Britain, Canada and Australia. Canada of course shares a border with the USA, and the USA used to be a British colony, so it’s likely that the average American will have more in common culturally with people from those countries, than with people from the rest of the world.

  7. Con says:

    I want to assure you all that “the people” of America , at least those of us in an ever shrinking minority who can still find England on a map, do regard our relationship with England as special indeed.
    We regard our relationship with other countries, such as France, as special as well but in a “Jerry’s Kids” sort of special way. LOL

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