Sex, lies and the special relationship Sex, lies and the special relationship

In recent months, the bizarre behaviour of Donald Trump has left many in the UK worried about the connection with Britain’s “closest ally” (, 29 November). As a Canadian, I find it odd to hear that the US is considered by Britons to be their closest ally. In the great wars of the last century, Americans initially profited from neutrality, delaying entry for three years, until 1917 and 1942; and in the case of the second world war they only committed to the war when they were directly attacked. (In 1941 then Senator Truman even proposed to aid Germany if the Russians appeared to be winning in the East.) Canada and Australia, in contrast, immediately entered both wars alongside Britain. Of more recent vintage, Canadians and Australians fought alongside allied forces in Afghanistan. But we didn’t drag the UK into the Iraq debacle. If you want to know who your true allies are, ask who was there for you when you were in need, and who dragged you into a foolish, unjustified war on false pretences.

I share Jonathan Freedland’s keenness to ditch the “special relationship” (, 2 December), which, as he says, the US does not view as we do and about which the UK is unrealistic.

However, it might not be straightforward to end it. Just as the Brexit negotiations are exposing how much national independence the UK lost in the civil sphere by being in the EU, so ending the close US-UK link would reveal just how dependent the UK is on the US in the military sphere, for procurement for and conventional defence. Placing the relationship on a more hard-headed basis would take time.

You can’t assume that most of what Trump says is the truth, writes Jonathan Freedland, “as you would for a normal occupant of that office”. Has Freedland forgotten Bill Clinton’s public statement in 1998: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”? Or the lies and deception told by President George W Bush to justify the invasion of in 2003? Or, indeed, the 2012 New York Times report that noted President Obama had “embraced a disputed method for counting civilian casualties” of US drone strikes that “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants”?

Source : theguardian[dot]com