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British and US ‘special relationship’ (foreign policy)

 How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

The ‘special relationship’ is a phrase used to describe close political, diplomatic, cultural and historical relations between the United Kingdom and the United States. The term was first used in 1946 in a speech made by Winston Churchill. In recent decades, it has been argued that the’ special relationship’ is about control and how to keep both interests aligned. Today, is to believe that to a very large extent Britain special relationship with the United States constrained its foreign policy. This essay will discuss: How far does Britain’s special relationship with the US constrain its foreign policy?

As a concept foreign policy aims to ensure the security of its people and territory, promotes its aims in the international arena, and encourage co-operation with other countries. The special relationship between Britain and United States is close and robust because British and American values are essentially the same, which explains why national interests are often aligned. ‘The US-UK relationship is strong because it delivers for both of us. The alliance is not sustained by our historical ties or blind loyalty. This is a partnership of choice that serves our national interests.’[1] Still, in many aspects for both parties foreign policy is dependant one on each other. At the moment, it is evident that there is a distinctive relationship between Britain and the United States, but it exists at the top and bottom with very little in between. At the top, the common language and a degree of shared relationship and culture between leaders has clearly provided Britain with some extra diplomatic leverage with US policy-makers. At the bottom, there is a degree of detailed co-operation and understanding between the armed services of the two countries and their intelligence organizations. However, Britain and the US perhaps understood one another much less well than they assumed, despite the link of a common language. Britain was a ‘little island’, the US a subcontinent; Britain believed in the committed to the welfare state and massive state intervention in the economy; the US, at least in theory, remained committed to private enterprise. ‘Anti-Americanism in Britain was matched by certain anti-British sentiments in the US, especially among the Irish.’[2]

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UK US effective leadership

Compare the powers of the American President and British Prime Minister. Which can provide more effective leadership?

After comparing British Prime Minister and American President roles is believed that the U.S president leadership can provide more effectiveness, the reason are the following:

The president of the US is the head of the State, while the British prime minister is the effective head of British government. In this case is believed that the US president as head of the state is able to make decisions without consulting the executive.

The Article II, Section 2 of the US Constitution determines that the president is the sole commander-in-chief of the nation’s armed forces and of the state militias when they are called into national duty.  In other words, the president is given the power to require responses from the principal officers in each constituent department of the executive. As commander-in chief the president leads an armed force of almost 1.5 million. There are also many civilian personnel involved, and the Department of Defense is the largest executive department.[1]

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