posted on Mar, 28 2010 @ 07:57 AM
The "special relationship" was always mainly about British pride. This was important in Churchill's time, when he wanted to believe that the UK
were still at least equal partners in the war. After that, the feeling was that if we could not be equal partners, we could at least be "best
friends" with the people who were on top. This makes it a little humiliating if the concept is being pushed from the British side and apparently
snubbed from the Anerican side.
Obviously the main factor was the sense that we were "on the same side" in international affairs. This began much earlier than World War One, and
can be seen at the time of the Spanish-American war; "Under the common inspiration [of the American writer Mahan] the British and American navies
became at this time all but a band of brothers, and when the German Admiral...took up a threatening attitude to the American Admiral Dewey at the
battle of Manila Bay, the British commander led the German to suppose that if he fought the American, he would have to fight the British also."
(J.A.Spender, "Fifty Years of Europe",1933).
We were "on the same side" in the Cold War, with opportunities, I suppose, for co-operation behind the scenes, sharing of intelligence etc. So the
end of the Cold War, and the growing involvement of Britain in Europe went a long way towards undermining that sense of common purpose.
The other factor was the sense of common origin (which may be stronger on the British side if we're less conscious of what the US has absorbed from
other countries). A good parallel might be the ancient relationship between the city-state of Tyre, and the great empire of Carthage, which began as a
colony of Tyre. Herodotus tells the story that the king of the Persians had thoughts about attacking Carthage, but the people of Tyre prevented him.
They were his vassals at the time, and he could not do the job without their fleet. I find it very difficult to believe that British armed forces
would willingly attack American ones, even under the orders of a European President. I'm not sure this factor will completely disappear until we're
all absorbed by the Russians.