chapter
25 Pages

Introduction

WithSTEVE MARSH, ALAN P. DOBSON

A considerable literature has accumulated on Anglo-American relations over the last seventy years and none of the ‘scribblers’ in this volume would claim to be a Gibbon, so what justifi es this work and what does it achieve? The immediate trigger for the enterprise is twofold. First, with several notable exceptions,2 there is a surprising lack of book-length treatments of Anglo-American relations that focus on the post-Cold War period and it seems most fi tting to remedy that, particularly in the immediate aftermath of the seventieth anniversary of the Destroyers for Bases Deal of September 1940, which symbolises the onset of the modern Special Relationship. Second, Anglo-American relations have been drawn by events more squarely into the public eye during the twenty-fi rst century than at arguably any other time since the Suez Crisis. Political and emotional fallout from the controversial post-9/11 Bush-Blair tandem and military intervention in Iraq has spawned an intense period of British soul-searching about the relationship with their American cousins. An ICM poll for The Guardian in 2006 revealed 63 per cent of respondents felt Blair had steered Britain too close to the USA;3 that same year a poll by Populus for The Times indicated that 65 per cent believed Britain’s future lay more with Europe than America. Four years later there remained a palpable sense of British annoyance and grief at Britain’s apparent lack of infl uence in Washington. A YouGov poll in May 2010 revealed that 85 per cent of respondents thought the UK had little or no infl uence on American policies and that 62 per cent believed America failed to consider British interests. Anticipation of an ‘Obama bounce’ also appeared misplaced with 74 per cent of respondents believing that since the Obama administration assumed offi ce Britain’s relationship with the USA had stayed the same or had deteriorated.4