Workers' Weekly On-Line
Volume 47 Number 2, February 11, 2017 ARCHIVE HOME JBCENTRE SUBSCRIBE

The Britain-US "Special Relationship" Must Be Brought to an End

At the end of January, Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech to the Republican Party conference in the US in which she outlined her understanding of what is often referred to as the "special relationship" between Britain and the US. May's speech was made in the context of Britain's imminent departure from the reactionary EU of the monopolies, and indicates that the ruling circles of Britain aim to move even closer to the reactionary course on which the US appears to have embarked under the presidency of Donald Trump.

It was clear from the first lines of May's speech that she would go out of her way not only to distort the nature of the relationship between Britain and the US but also the history and nature of the US itself. It was in this context that she spoke of the "textbook of freedom" being written in the US and that country carrying the "heavy responsibility" of leading the "free world". With overtones of presenting Anglo-American imperialism as jointly taking up the "white man's burden", May spoke of a special relationship "that has defined the modern world". She wished to present this relationship as the greatest defender of freedom and democracy, rather than its worst enemy.

According to May's rendering of history, it was Britain and the US that defeated fascism during the course of the Second World War, rather than the anti-fascist coalition of the world's peoples led by the Soviet Union. May seems to forget that the US and Britain were two of the main powers that financed and nurtured the emergence of fascism, hoping to use it against the peoples' struggles and especially against the Soviet Union. She was rather more accurate in her boast that Anglo-American imperialism played a leading role during the Cold War, but altogether premature in her assessment that Communism has been defeated.

The essence of May's reactionary speech was that Britain and the US have been responsible for all the essential machinery of the capital-centred world, the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and NATO, and that Anglo-American imperialism should continue to dominate these institutions and make sure that they adhere to their Anglocentric values. In this regard, May did not hesitate to quote from Churchill about the "joint inheritance of the English-speaking world" and sermonise about "freedom, liberty and the rights of man".

Moreover, May also identified herself with what she referred to as the underlying principles of the Trump administration and the "new era of American renewal". As she put it, a "newly emboldened confident America is good for the world". May was eager to show that her government is more than willing to share the burden of world leadership with the US and indeed has already taken steps to do so, by virtue of the extent of its spending on war preparations, including nuclear preparations, its warmongering activity in NATO, and its economic and military intervention throughout the world. The Prime Minister pointed out that, as a result of Britain's departure from the EU, it was in now in a unique position both to continue to be a major player within Europe but also strengthen its position as "Global Britain", with a more "internationalist role", "where we meet our responsibilities to our friends and allies, champion the international co-operation and partnerships that project our values around the world, and continue to act as one of the strongest and most forceful advocates for business, free markets and free trade anywhere around the globe". This appears to signal that May's government it set to strengthen its neo-colonial grip on the former empire, and on a warmongering course of even more intervention alongside the US and on its own account.

According to May, both Britain and the US are in the current circumstances undergoing a process of "renewal" and so what is required is that they also renew their "special relationship" and lead the world together against the "enemies of the West and our values". For May, such enemies include not only what she refers to as "Radical Islamists", but also China, Russia and others that might eventually eclipse the hegemony of Anglo-American imperialism and its allies, as well as those who adhere to any form of "extremism". In this regard May's speech was a call to arms, a reactionary warmongering speech threatening all those who do not accept the values of neo-liberal globalisation as championed by Anglo-American imperialism. It openly threatened Russia, Iran and other countries, demanded that NATO is ready for war, and that the UN acts as the organisation of the imperialist system of states with Anglo-American imperialism at its head.

In short, May is demanding that Britain tie itself more firmly to the coat-tails of the US, that it becomes an even closer trading, economic, political and military ally and that Anglo-American imperialism continues to lead the world on a reactionary and warmongering course. However, the people of Britain and the US have other interests. It is clear that the struggles for genuine sovereignty must be stepped up. The working class and all democratic people must create the conditions for an anti-war government and the demand must be raised that the "special relationship" be brought to an end!


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