Steve 41oo wrote:
there have been one or two "noises" from the British govt signalling a "cooling" of the special relationship with the US. Apparantly we are still shoulder to shoulder with our American allies but no longer joined at the hip.
I don't think that anyone in the U.S. Defense establishment seriously considered that we were "joined at the hip" (or even "shoulder to shoulder") with the British at any time since perhaps the Korean War. The "Special Relationship" mostly involved the sharing of nuclear weapons technology, a practice that started during WWII and, to a limited degree, continues today. Beyond that there were several long-standing disputes between the U.S. and the UK during the post WWII years. most notably involving the end of colonialism and the US intervention in Vietnam.
Though it is certainly a hot political issue in Great Britain, their military involvement in Iraq is not particularly significant in terms of numbers or mission. The relative social & economic burdens are hardly comparable. Based on what I have heard from friends serving there, I would not describe the relations of our forces there as particularly close, much less "special".
Steve 41oo wrote:
The radioactive poisoning of Litvenenko was incredibly serious. But in international affairs like you have to recognise power politics and who is in the driving seat. And its not our new boy wonder millibrand at the Foreign office.
I agree it was serious - if true, a political assasination carried out in a foreign country.
It appears to me that the Western European countries are a bit cowed by Putin's belligerence, while the Eastern European countries, perhaps motivated by more direct memories, are more determined to resist. I think the German gas pipeline under the Baltic and bypassing Belarus, Ukraine, and Poland is an interesting example of this, as are the different attitudes in the East and West towards NATO. It is not always childish to decisively reject bad behavior - even with a gesture. Similarly, it is not always adult behavior to rationalize mere acquiescence by rejecting such gestures.