An article by the Heritage Foundation’s Kim Holmes and Nile Gardiner in today’s Wall Street Journal worries publicly that the Conservative Party is undervaluing the special relationship:
"Shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague’s Jan. 31 speech to the Royal Institute of International Affairs — Chatham House — spoke of a "solid but not slavish" alliance, and called for "the effective management of the relationship with the United States of America." These controversial words caused significant political damage here. It echoed Mr. Cameron’s "liberal conservative" speech given on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, where he spoke of the need for "humility and patience" in conducting foreign policy."
My own view is that there is no hostility between the Tories and the US/ Republicans. What there is – is an unwillingness on the part of the Conservative leadership to combat the anti-Americanism that is rampant across Europe. David Cameron is reluctant to spent his political capital on making the case for co-operation with the USA on missile defence or any other controversial venture. The blame for this is certainly not all on the Tory side. David Cameron was at Michael Howard’s side when Mr Howard made his unfortunate ‘if I knew then what I know now’ remarks. Michael Howard was silly to make those remarks but there was something childish and short-termist about the White House’s ‘you can’t expect to visit us’ response.
I’m still hopeful that our two parties and two nations will remain close. Key Tory Atlanticists like Iain Duncan Smith, Liam Fox and Michael Gove – will guarantee this. More strategically, the Holmes-Gardiner article lists many of the common interests why they should – not least the continuing benefits of shared intelligence:
"Perhaps the greatest benefit that Britain derives from the special relationship, and Tony Blair’s close tie to George W. Bush, is the almost invisible security embrace, and close intelligence cooperation, that Washington gives only to its closest ally. U.S. intelligence, after all, helped thwart a series of large-scale al Qaeda attacks on British targets, including Heathrow Airport and Canary Wharf, which had been planned by 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Standing shoulder to shoulder with the U.S. may not be the most popular policy in Britain, with few votes to be gained, but it is fundamentally in Britain’s interest."
In the meantime groups outside of the party must help to combat anti-Americanism. 18DoughtyStreet.com’s A World Without America video – the start to an anti-anti-Americanism campaign has been widely covered on TV and radio and has been watched more than 250,000 times so far.