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Anglo-American Relations: Can The 'Special' Relationship Survive in the New World Order?

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At the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain faced two principal rivals, Germany and the United States. With both, she became locked in industrial competition and a number of diplomatic disputes. Her response to the two powers was very different. With the United States, she started to cultivate what would later become to be known as the special relationship with the other, she drifted into deep antagonism that led to two world wars. This paper proposes that a special relationship has always existed between Britain and America. The debate, and hence substance of this paper, is about the realities of the relationship, its relevance and value in the future. It examines the development of the relationship from the inter-war years to the present day and draws lessons that may be relevant for the future. It describes the main factors that appear to be characteristic of the New World Order before testing these against the historical model and the main factors that form part of the formal relationships between states. The issues that fall from this analysis are discussed before concluding that the relationship is robust enough to be wheeled out for some time yet. The relationship will increasingly be set in the context of Britain in Europe where Britain could use her transatlantic connection to forge a new security regime. For the United States, seeking to maintain political and public support for a continuing engagement in a more European Europe will need the support of Britain without making it obvious it is doing so.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Geography

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