Courtesy Reuters

FROM THE FALKLANDS TO IRAQ

On September 11, 2001, just hours after the collapse of the World Trade Center, British Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged his solidarity with the United States. "Here in the United Kingdom," he said, "we stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy, and we, like them, will not rest until this evil is driven from our world."

That commitment was wholly in line with a long-established principle of British foreign policy: the United Kingdom should nurture a special relationship with the United States in the hope of shaping the exercise of U.S. power. In Washington, the idea may never have been taken too seriously, but nor did U.S. officials actively discourage it. If anything, in recent years, this special relationship has enjoyed something of a revival, with President George W. Bush apparently relieved to have at least one reliable friend.

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  • LAWRENCE D. FREEDMAN is Professor of War Studies at King's College, London. His two-volume "Official History of the Falklands Campaign" was published in 2005.
  • More By Lawrence D. Freedman