Teacher's Ramblings

A potpourri of education, politics, family matters, and current events.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

England and the US-An Unequal Alliance

I've been wondering about this myself. I support GW, I did in 2000 and do presently.

I have had problems with the administration's policies from time to time however. I admit that by the late summer of 2001, I've written about this before, I was disappointed that it seemed to be so isolationist. We were failing to give comfort to the Iranian students who were really making a pain of themselves to the mullahs.

Part of me wasn't surprised, I had listened to this Republican presidential candidate who strove to be Ronald Reagan-like, speaking of 'no nation building' and 'compassionate conservativism' at home. The campaign was full of the 'third rail' of Social Security partial investments for the younger workers and No Child Left Behind. Yet I believed that with people like Cheney, Powell, Rice, and Rumsfeld meaningful foreign policy would begin. Maybe it would have, 9/11 happened and everything changed. Whatever was decided, it would be in light of what had happened leading up to that day.

9/11 did happen and to some degree a Bush tin ear helped Chirac with his plans when the NATO offer of the invokation of Article Five was rejected. With that possible exception, GW did work within the international framework for Afghanistan and later Iraq. Iraq was going to be dealt with, we had been in a holding pattern there, along with the UK for over 12 years. Both the broader WOT and the immediate Afghanistan conflict, removed any hope for a continuation of the status quo. Chirac DID understand that, I'm not sure that Putin or Schroeder did, I'm certain that Saddam did not.

That brings us to today and our 'special relationship' with the Brits. The Telegraph article linked to above may well be a whistle worth listening to. England, led by Blair, has been magnificent in their aid to the US, in the face of some very machiavellian machinations on the part of the UN and the French in particular. Blair has done this at a high political cost to himself. It's important that the adminstration not only acknowledge this, which they did with State Dinners and trips to Texas, but also in real acknowledgement of the concerns of the British citizens, by giving a better explanation of how this situation really is different than the problems they have dealt with for many years, via the IRA.

Perhaps most importantly, the people of the UK and the people of the US are not hearing, much less understanding each other, in spite of the great relationship our leaders might have. The 'Clark County Project' of The Guardian is one example of their not understanding us. By the same token, many in the US do not realize that most British citizens, do not want their troops in Iraq and do not understand why they would be deployed there. Blair has done his best to make it clear, it would not hurt GW to reinforce this message, which I truly hope he does after the election.

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