By Arthur I. Cyr
While U.S. President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 State of the Union address garnered much greater media attention, the joint press conference the previous week with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron was revealing �X and perhaps more important. The State of the Union speech can be summed up as the now-standard highly partisan Washington exercise, with Obama combining cheer-leading and credit-taking for Democratic policies with righteous preaching at the Republican sinners on the other side of the aisle. The Jan. 16 session before Washington media by the leaders of two traditional allies underscored the established cooperation. They emphasized the importance of tough nuclear negotiations with Iran.
In other words, hard international realities were faced head-on. There was an honest effort to explain the high stakes involved, and also the great difficulty of negotiating a viable durable agreement with Tehran �X no cheerleading here. Cameron spent time contacting members of the Senate to try to mitigate pressures to impose more sanctions on Iran. The absence of any strong backlash reflects the unusually close nature of this alliance. Britain’s famed fictional sleuth Sherlock Holmes brilliantly solved one particularly vexing mystery by focusing on a dog that did not bark. The crucial evidence was not something that was present, but rather absent. Likewise, the ��special relationship�� between Britain and the U.S., forged during the frustrating and terrible years of World War II, has endured down to the present despite sometimes severe strains. The evolution of the Anglo-American special relationship highlights important events of that global total war, and the Cold War and post-Cold War era that have followed. David Cameron’s predecessor Tony Blair paid a high political price for his faithful support of the administration of George W. Bush in the invasion of Iraq. Yet Blair survived politically, and led his Labour Party to another general election victory. More important, the Anglo-American military alliance, and the durable wider NATO structure, was at no point seriously threatened.