Sometimes on twitter you meet scholars with shining credentials but the weirdest and most incredulous propositions. One such person is a certain P Porter, who holds a Dphil from Oxford.. His latest (or longstanding) argument is that the UK can’t “have it both ways”–courting China through economic links, and being part of the Special Relationship with the US.
There are some holes in that assertion but I’ll put it this way. The UK is NOT a servant or a labdog of the US despite having a “Special Relationship” with the US. It does not, though on many occasions it does, “follow” the US in foreign policy actions and/or interventions. The UK has its own foreign policy sovereignty. Yes the US has not seen eye-to-eye in certain areas (Porter drums up Suez) but disagreements do not break down partnerships (UK did not support the US in Vietnam or its “anti-communist” activities in South America in the 1970s and 1980s).
Ok, ok, sometimes you say the Special Relationship has unwritten rules–you must suck up to the bigger power, the US. At what cost? You drum up Suez, Porter, I throw in the 2003 Iraq card (and other small cases where the UK acted independently of the US. I wonder why then General Sir Michael Jackson bothered to say no to then-General Wesley Clark and still wasn’t punished by Tony Blair?)
Bottom line: The Special Relationship IS NOT and WILL NOT be wrecked up over the UK’s choice of pursuing a non-confrontational approach to China. Think again.
Update: Falklands dilemma for UK as US favours Argentine candidate as next UN Secretary-General So if the UK has to support the US over China’s actions in the South China Sea, why isn’t the US supporting the UK over the Falklands?