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Whither thou, UK?
Posted by: McQ on Monday, July 23, 2007

Outspoken fomer ambassador to the UN John Bolton was interviewed by Sarah Baxter of the "TimesOnLine" recently. Whether or not you agree with Bolton on things, on one particular issue, I think he has a point. This is the 'question' which has yet to be clearly answered by the new Brown administration and the UK:
Bolton believes Britain must face the question: “Do you want to be an independent country or a county in a big Europe?” The way he tells it is guaranteed to offend our national pride, but you can’t say he hasn’t warned us. “If Britain wants to be subsumed into the European soup, the United States will have to react accordingly – and we will, make no mistake.”
Indeed, it probably will offend national pride and many will blow it off as more of the "cowboy rhetoric" for which the US is famous. But there is an important aspect to the question whether it offends or not. What is the direction the Brown government will take?

There has always been a "special relationship" between the US and the UK. Part of what has Bolton riled is the appointment of Malloch Brown to be his minister for Africa, Asia and the UN. As is obvious, Bolton and Malloch Brown are polar opposites and Bolton sees a message in his appointment:
“If Gordon Brown knew what he was doing when he appointed Mark Malloch Brown, it was a major signal that he wants a different relationship with the United States,” Bolton says. “If he didn’t know what he was doing, that’s not a good sign either. It symbolises that the British government is moving to the left.”
Will the "special relationship" survive Gordon Brown? Will the UK move more toward melding with Europe than maintaining a semblance of independence? Does the Brown government mean a more obvious move to the left for the UK? Inquiring minds want to know. Your comments are welcomed and, if you will, spend your time talking about those three questions and not the character or your opinion of John Bolton.

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Previous Comments to this Post 

Not impressed with the interview or analysis provided but I shall limit my comments to the questions asked :-)
Will the "special relationship" survive Gordon Brown?
Yes, it has been surviving George W. Bush nicely and many thought it would not. Remember it’s a two way street - will it survive Hillary, or Thompson, or Cameron?
Having said that, it will evolve, just has it always had. Common perception in the UK at the moment (rightly or wrongly) is that the relationship has devolved from a partnership during the cold war (Reagan and Thatcher high point) into a master and slave relationship (Bush and Blair). This is what generates much of the grumbling and ill will that is felt throughout the population (IMHO, FWIW). Whatever one’s view of the US, positive or not, an apparent beefing up of our stance to a more equal footing is likely to be received well and is therefore a smart political move on the home front. I doubt that the US is as worried about this as some have made out, and quite frankly why should they worry?
Will the UK move more toward melding with Europe than maintaining a semblance of independence?
This is a question with shades of "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" Bolton’s opinion of a European Union is quite clear and his questions are shaded by his personal bias. That’s fine, its how it should be.
Does the Brown government mean a more obvious move to the left for the UK?

Unclear, I think. I think terms of left and right are less meaningful today than they have been in the past but with that given some ’leftward’ shift is likely given Brown’s background and outlook compared with Blair. Having said that, although Blair was in some ways the heir to Thatcher he also believed fervently in the nanny state and intervening as and when he liked. It remains to be seen what Brown will do.
This comment from Bolton surprised me and made me think that he is not as on the ball as I have always thought he was:
Malloch Brown, he points out, was “simply saying the sort of thing he used to say lurking behind closed doors in the United Nations”,
This makes no sense to me because we have all heard Brown’s comments and especially his sparring with Bolton for several years - directly from the man. How that is behind closed doors puzzles me.

At the moment we are too busy bailing water in the midlands and south to really care what John Bolton thinks :-). Can we have some of the cash we sent you for Katrina relief back please?
Written By: Kav
Not impressed with the interview or analysis provided but I shall limit my comments to the questions asked :-)
Heh ... yeah, I understand, Kav ... that was why I’m trying to limit debate to the more general questions - with the interview and analysis as more of background than the focus of discussion.
Written By: McQ
If you assume that the economic wars of the immediate future are between natural (or not) trading blocks (NAFTA vs. EU vs. ASEAN vs. ???), I’ve wondered why there is not active competition between the blocks for major industrial nations that could conceivably become members of more than one block. Although clearly the UK has deep ties to the nations of the EU, one might argue that there is a more natural cultural fit to the nations of NAFTA (language, former colonies,similar beer preferences). Afer all there is just a slightly larger "channel" between us and them vs. Europe. I won’t pretend to understand the intricacies of international trade, but I wonder if it would not benefit the UK and the US, Canada, and Mexico to have the UK join our trading block rather than the EU? If so, why wouldn’t we find incentives for them to join our "team" rather than the EU?

[NOTE: For reasons unclear to me beside insufficient caffeination - I posted this comment earlier on the wrong post.]
Written By: mw
I have met a few British people who specifically said "I am European" and also one that claimed he would feel he had more in common with a Russian than an American.

Is that normal or are these guys these outliers (I know the Russophile must be.)

I think that Europe will slowly become more European and less "independent" mainly because the EU seems unstoppable for some reason. And even in the states people seem to like big nanny government more and more - the EU is the epitome of that.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I consider myself European and have a deep affection for aspects of our neighbours in Europe (though a dislike for other aspects). However, I am primarily British (and fiercely proud to be so) and secondarily English (and fiercely proud to be so). I know of and enjoy the ties with the US as I lived over there for a couple of years and for various reasons they were some of the best years of my life (so far). Culturally we are actually a lot more different than one might think, but it is often in the small things and details of the everyday life rather than the big things.

I am not sure how normal it is for folks to consider themselves as European and I admit that even though I consider myself to be one I have often fallen into the practice of talking about ’Europeans’ as a separate entity.
Written By: Kav
Europe can only succeed (the EU, that is) if subsidiarity is real. If power is truly exercised as close to the individual as possible, and supranational institutions limit themselves to things that must be handled at that level. Subsidiarity is an official doctrine of the EU, but it’s unclear how seriously the states and the Eurocracy will take it.
Written By: Scott Erb
It’s a common misconception that the UK is culturally closer to the US than France, Spain and Germany. Yes, we share a language, but our political structures and legal systems are very different, and without listing differences I think what it boils down to is this : the UK is a mature economy country with high population density that has for generations had to organise itself in order to accommodate all its people sufficiently harmoniously for the country to function, whereas the US still retains a frontier country mindset, even now experiencing a goldrush every few years. Americans don’t really think of themselves as a united nation of people all pulling together towards a common goal, more a bunch of people that happen to be in the same place united by a desire to achieve personal goals. This will remain so until there are so many Americans that they have no choice but to keep everyone happy to a certain degree.
Written By: Blewyn
URL: http://
"Americans don’t really think of themselves as a united nation of people all pulling together towards a common goal, more a bunch of people that happen to be in the same place united by a desire to achieve personal goals."

You are confusing the open-borders/immigration-reform crowd with the rest of us.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Live help Chat call center support services software for websites helpdesk providing 24x7 live chat live help support services ane email management services.
Written By: Live Chat

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