Why Biden endangering the Special Relationship is a really, really bad idea
Britain might be a jumped up, unimportant European state, but it’s used as an example for what an alliance with the US means
Okay, yes. I have a vested interest in the US not screwing Britain over. I’m British, and I quite enjoy not being on the wrong side of a superpower. But, even if I wasn’t, I’d be advising Biden to tread very, very carefully on his ‘Fuck You’ attitude to the UK.
Britain might be a tragic, pathetic splatter of what it used to be, and objectively about as powerful as Norway or Italy, but we are also America’s strongest allies. We are America’s bootlickers. Every stupid, ridiculous war you’ve got involved in, we’ve backed you. Every policy you’ve wanted to employ internationally, we’ve backed you. Every absurd agreement you’ve made with foreign powers, we’ve backed you. We hand over every political prisoner, every request for deportation, and every state secret. We spy on your behalf, we tattle on your behalf, and we put our foot on the line with Russia, China and Iran on your behalf. Our soldiers, diplomats, and even citizens have died on behalf of Americans, and continue to do so. Remember when Russia used us as a sandpit for their new biochemical weapons and we had to shut down an entire English city, and 3 civilians were hospitalised? And America did fuck all? Yeah, that was entirely because we side with the US. If we had sided with Russia, that would have never happened.
And when you fuck over Britain, sneer at us, and ignore our pleas for a slightly more reciprocal ‘special relationship’, you show the rest of the world what being a friend and ally to the US means. I’ll break down how ‘unspecial’ the ‘Special Relationship’ is right now:
An American can come stay in the UK for six months, without lifting a finger. No visa, no forms, nothing. Why? Because we agreed, in the 1980s, that Americans were our pals. Meanwhile, a British person has exactly the same ‘special privileges’ to enter the UK as a random person from Malaysia or Ghana. We have to spend $80 on an ‘ESTA’, in which we file for a temporary visa to allow entry to the US. Then we are interrogated by the delightful TSA employees for 15 minutes to 5 hours on why we are entering the US, and whether we plan on staying illegally and going to try and claim welfare. This is baffling when you’re in your business suit in New York on your way to a conference, but there we go. It’s hostile, and it’s horrible. We’re also in the same lottery system (HB-1) as a window cleaner from Croatia for a job as a doctor. It’s all very weird. I get not wanting to look ‘racist’ by having a special visa for Britain but we’re an integrated, very diverse country with a huge and thriving minority population. Given how much Britain contributes to American art, music, culture, theatre and film, it’s bizarre.
More recently (this week) Biden denied British people entry to the US in case we had the Delta variant…that is already rampant in the US and accounts for 70% of cases. Yes, even vaccinated Brits. Meanwhile, Americans are welcome in our country and don’t even need to quarantine. Thanks Biden. I feel so appreciated by America.
2. Financial Support and Trade
Again, special relationship my knickers. Britain is desperate to be a better trading partner with the US, but was told they were are “the back of the queue” after Brexit. Normally, if there wasn’t a history between two countries, this wouldn’t be a problem. If Bulgaria decided to break away from the EU to trade with the UK, I doubt they’d get a very warm reception. But Britain has sacrificed a lot- and I mean a lot- to trade with the US, despite decades of sanctions and fraught relationships with enemy states that had no beef with us personally, but hated America. There’s a convincing argument that Britain wouldn’t be dealing with jihadism now if we hadn’t sided with the US in Iraq after 9/11. Sending us to the back of the line on deals was a massive ‘fuck you’ after a lot of sacrifice, and it stung a lot of British people who have traditionally looked up to the US.
3. Defence and Security
I’ve touched on this with the Iraq thing (Iraq was never a threat to us before we invaded because YOU asked us to back you) but it extends way, way beyond that. We’ve had your back on everything from Syria to Libya, even when it caused the largest protests ever seen from our own people. We send you prisoners whenever you request them for trial, even when it challenges our own alliances. We’ve spent billions of dollars getting involved in wars to keep American citizens safe. We hand over information and security details over to the CIA and FBI daily, not because we expect anything in return, but because Britain takes their alliance with the US seriously. And in return…
…the US won’t even deport the wife of a diplomat who did a hit and run on a British teenager because she ‘might not get a fair trial’. In Britain. In the 2020s. Today. This was humiliating to us, and enraged Britain to be treated like we were North Korea or Chad. The family of the teenage boy who was murdered were shocked and appalled. We all were. It wasn’t a good look.
So why does any of this matter?
When you’re dismissive, rude, or downright insulting to your allies, you risk losing them. You risk losing that support, that information, and that security. But even if you don’t care whether Britain informs you of a planned terrorist attack or new bioweapon, think about how it looks to countries who are wary of being in an alliance with you. Countries that actually do have an important strategic or valuable role for the US. Countries that might look and say, ‘Look how America treats Britain, despite all their bootlicking. What’s in it for us?’.
And then there’s a darker, more urgent issue. The whispering in Britain about ‘why’ we support a superpower who treats us with so much contempt and indifference is louder than ever. Why should we spend all this money and embarrass ourselves fawning over a country and president that hates us? A president who seemingly thinks Britain is still as backwards and hostile to the Irish people as we were fifty years ago? A president who openly expresses his contempt for Britain? Is that even…something we want? Why is it that we don’t make up with Russia, or form a strong alliance to China? Would they treat us better? Would it stop their cyber attacks and interference if we did?
What’s in it for us?
I’m always going to be Pro-American, which is why I’m warning you. I love America, and I forgive your politically slutty behaviour and cheating with countries that have a bit more oil than we do. But please pass the message on to Biden: