chapter  2
30 Pages

‘Affection is the cement which binds us’: Understanding the cultural sinews of the Anglo-American special relationship


In 1976, the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Anne Armstrong, addressed a British audience at Westminster Abbey and argued that, ‘as we examine the unprecedented and enduring relationship between Britain and the United States, it is clear that affection is the cement which binds us.’1 She also spoke of emotional connections and affi nities that were unique to the culture of the Anglo-American special relationship, and admitted that this was all highly unusual in the pragmatic fi eld of international relations. Such ideas about the distinctive nature of the alliance’s operational dynamic, which were by no means limited to Ambassador Armstrong, point to aspects of the special relationship that must be fully understood if we are to effectively analyze its past, present, and future.