Courtesy Reuters

The Paramount Interests of Britain and America

AMONG the relationships which together make up the pattern of international affairs those between the United States and the member nations of the British Commonwealth are incomparably the most fruitful for good or evil. The point can most effectively be driven home if we assume that, for any reason, antagonism rather than friendship were to govern the attitude of the United States and the United Kingdom toward one another, and if we then attempt to estimate what changes in the international structure would at once be brought to pass. Of Anglo-American relations it can be said that their condition, actual and prospective, influences the calculations of statesmen within and without the British Commonwealth in a way which, if not decisive, is more potent than that of any other bilateral factor in the sum of things. The United States is the strongest single force in the world, and the fact that such a force is now situated outside the European continent has created a new problem in political magnetism; the geographical position of the United Kingdom, and the special relationship to Europe thus imposed, enormously strengthen its voice in continental counsels; and, finally, the existence of the British Commonwealth and of a British colonial empire, and the far-ranging connections of the United States, bring the interests of the two Powers, both political and commercial, into juxtaposition in all regions of the globe. To this must be added -- what Mr. Walter Lippmann [i] has so clearly set forth -- that their political relations are vexed by no disputed frontiers, no "spheres of influence," no desire for territorial expansion, that their world outlook is fundamentally the same, that their speech and traditions are drawn from the same well. Why, as he asks, do they not stand together more effectively than they do?


Mr. Lippmann finds an answer in the assertion that the paramount interests of one are the secondary interests of the other, that "their most immediately pressing needs are not identical." He

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