Botching the Special Relationship

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on January 13, 2011

One wonders what the point of all of this was:

Barack Obama has declared that France is America’s greatest ally, undermining Britain’s Special Relationship with the U.S.

The President risked offending British troops in Afghanistan by saying that French president Nicolas Sarkozy is a ‘stronger friend’ than David Cameron.

The remarks, during a White House appearance with Mr Sarkozy, will reinforce the widely-held view in British diplomatic circles that Mr Obama has less interest in the Special Relationship than any other recent American leader.

Mr Obama said: ‘We don’t have a stronger friend and stronger ally than Nicolas Sarkozy, and the French people.’

[. . .]

The UK has lost nearly 350 troops in the war against the Taliban – seven times as many as France.

And there are more than 10,000 British soldiers serving in Helmand province, compared with just 3,850 Frenchmen.Mr Obama’s stance was swiftly condemned in Westminster.

Tory MP Patrick Mercer, a former commander of the Sherwood Foresters regiment, said: ‘I’m getting a bit fed up with the American President using terms like “best ally” so loosely.

‘It’s Britain that has had more than 300 servicemen killed in Afghanistan, not France.

‘That to my mind is a lot more powerful than any political gesture making.’

Well, it certainly ought to be considered more powerful than any political gesture making, but as the article notes, this White House appears to have a special, curious animosity towards Great Britain. No, I don’t think that it has anything whatsoever to do with Newt Gingrich’s theories on the matter, but it appears clear that this President doesn’t understand why Britain is a valuable, and special partner. Maybe it is time someone on the National Security Council staff gave him a refresher course on the issue.

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