Anglo-American Shibboleths

Courtesy Reuters

ANY man bold enough to tackle the subject of Anglo-American relations--so delicate and yet so intensely important --finds himself faced immediately by the question what he means by the word "Anglo-American." Does he mean the relations between the United States and the British Commonwealth of Nations or the relations between the United States and Great Britain alone? Though the two are clearly closely linked, I propose to confine myself here, so far as possible, to the second and narrower meaning. For in a free confederation of nations it does not seem to me proper that the citizen of any one member state should dogmatize on the affairs of the others. But even on the narrower interpretation, I do not suppose that many people either in the United States or in Britain would dispute the general proposition that on a close relationship between the two countries rests the best hope for the future peace of the world.

And indeed it is not only right but natural that the United States and Britain should work together. For they have, in many ways, the same background and the same outlook. Their parliamentary systems, their laws, spring from the same source. Both believe in free institutions in the sense that both believe that the individual should have full liberty to think, speak and act as seems good to him within the minimum limits imposed by his membership in his community. Both, in the words of the Psalms, seek peace and ensue it; for they know that it is only under conditions of peace that true liberty can prosper or indeed survive. Both base their national lives on the Christian ethic, with all that entails; and twice within the last 50 years, when war has finally been forced upon them, they have stood side by side in defense of the principles in which they alike believe, and by so doing have saved civilization. And, finally, both are threatened by the same danger, the materialistic Communism of Russia.

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