Friday, February 09, 2007

U.S. / U.K. Relations

I stumbled across this on 18 Doughty Street, a British political site. An interesting argument that Britain's national interests are best served by remaining closely alligned to the U.S.

America Is Our Friend

1 Friendly Fire Incident
The accidental killing of Lance Corporal Matty Hull by US pilots in Iraq has once again put our relationship with the United States under scrutiny. It is understandable that in the midst of intense fighting, one does not have the time to think carefully about what they are doing and in such circumstances mistakes could be made. The US on its part was wrong for refusing to release the audio tapes of the pilots’ conversations during the friendly fire incident. However we must not join the regular band of America haters but instead remind ourselves that despite these mistakes, our relationship with America is important.

2 America Guarantees our security
America which is the world’s pre-eminent military power is a key member of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO). The aim of NATO is to ensure the collective security of its members. Article 5 of the treaty states that an attack on any member state will be treated as an attack on all member states. Thus, Britain which is also a member of NATO is assured that it will be adequately defended if it faces external threats. Further Britain and America have an agreement which ensures that the all American intelligence information is shared with their British colleagues. All these benefits would be put at risk if we chose to part ways with the United States.

3 America supports our economy
Britain’s role as an economic power is dependent on its ability to trade freely with other countries. Such trade can only take place if trade routes are secure. The United States has warships strategically located in the Gulf of Guinea . Her military presence prevents hostile countries or groups from blocking the trade routes and thus hampering trade. Britain directly benefits from this because British oil companies like Shell have off shore drilling wells in these regions and thus take advantage of the secure supply routes when transporting the oil from the wells to the international markets. It is important to note that France which is often critical of the United States also benefits from the presence of her warships.

4 The United States ensures world stability
One of the main concerns after the Second World War was how to ensure that countries such as Japan never re-armed and threatened other countries. At the same time Japan was concerned that if she did not rearm, she could be a victim of external aggression. The United States solved this problem by guaranteeing Japan’s Security. This was achieved by establishing large military bases in Japan. This arrangement has proved useful in preventing a nuclear arms race in Asia. For example, when North Korea later tested a nuclear device Japan considered developing nuclear weapons in response. However it decided against it because of America’s security umbrella, which guaranteed its protection from a nuclear attack.

5 The United States' support is essential in promoting global social justice
The developing world is plagued by diseases such as malaria and Aids. It also lacks the capacity to deal with global disasters such as earthquakes and tsunami’s. If Britain intends to help alleviate the plight of the developing world, it needs a powerful partner like America which can provides funds and logistic support to achieve these aims. America has proved useful in this regard with its donation of $15 billion towards aids treatment programmes in Africa. This makes her the world’s largest donor. America was also the largest donor of aid to Pakistan when it experienced an earth quake in 2005 and its provision of helicopters helped aid workers reach the mountainous regions of Pakistan. These acts of kindness show that America is a country that cares about human suffering and as such if Britain cares for social justice, it must align itself with America.

It's nice to hear a bit of appreciation from someone in the international community. The scales are still a bit out of balance, considering all the positives this nation has brought to the world the last 200 or so years.