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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Britain and America: partnership or subservience? ]

Britain and America: partnership or subservience?

ACCORDING to a senior Foreign Office official in 1939, it was better for Britain to become an American dominion than a German Gau, thus hinting at Britain’s future readiness to surrender sovereignty to the USA, rather than share it with Europe. In 1966, President De Gaulle even said that Britain had no foreign policy. Only history can explain why today’s UK has lost its independence to the US.

The French-European factor

The 100 Years’ War ended in 1453 with the English being kicked out of France (they kept only Calais for another 100 years). During the war, England gave up French as its official language. The very anti-Frenchness developing in England actually began to define it as an island nation, incipiently suspicious of a future French-dominated Europe. Indeed, wars were to continue until 1815. In the 16th century, Henry VIII severed links with Rome and declared himself head of the English Church. From then on, England, and later Britain, would do its utmost to counter the dominant forces in Europe, whether Philip II, Louis XIV, Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm II, Hitler, De Gaulle or, today, European integration. To this we can add Britain’s fear of Russian power in the Eastern Mediterranean. Indeed, today we are witnessing a continuation of Benjamin Disraeli’s pro-Turkish and anti-Russian policy in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly regarding Cyprus. As Guicciardini wrote, the past illuminates the future, the world has
always been the same and the same things return with different colours.

The American factor

At the end of the Second World War, Britain had no intention of sharing sovereignty with Europe, although her financial and military power was diminishing. The instinctive suspicion of Europe manifested itself in Britain’s insistence that the Council of Europe end up as an unelected talking-shop. She refused to participate in the European Coal and Steel Community, and the European Defence Community, and then set up a rival organisation to the EEC, in the hope of undermining it. In the words of various experts, the Europeans were starting with a broad conception, requiring a commitment of principle from the outset. This was inimical to British practice and mental habits. On the contrary, Britain wanted to keep the US to herself, like a jealous lover.

As the US began to take over many of Britain’s world-wide commitments, there were of course problems, such as when the US (and the USSR) insisted that Britain and France pull out of Egypt during the Suez crisis. Then there were spying scandals: the Burgess, Philby and MacLean affair infuriated the Americans. Nevertheless, such problems have been no more than lovers’ tiffs: every time that Britain has been forced to choose between the EU and the US, she has invariably chosen the latter.

British policy has had enormous implications for Greece and Cyprus until today: when Britain handed Greece over to the US in 1947, she was able to convince President Truman to export the beginning of the Cold War to Greece, with well-known disastrous consequences for Greece and the future of the Balkans. The only post-war British Prime Minister to reduce dependence on the US and make Europe Britain's first priority was the Conservative Edward Heath, but he lost the elections in 1974, ushering in closer co-operation with the US. Thus, Prime Minister Thatcher allowed the US to bomb Libya from Britain in 1986 (France refused even overflying rights).

Because of the US objective of having a strong Europe to combat the Soviets during the Cold War, it pressurised Britain to apply for EEC membership, with the second objective of using Britain to combat De Gaulle’s aversion to Anglo-Saxon domination. The State Department wrote: “It is important to avoid the impression in Paris and Bonn that we are the principle sponsors of British membership in the Common Market”. De Gaulle, of course rejected Britain’s applications, describing Britain as a “worm in the apple” and an “American Trojan Horse”.

Following the end of the Warsaw Pact, however, matters changed dramatically, particularly after the 1992 Maastrict Treaty, when Europe seriously began to threaten the Anglo-Saxon axis, particularly in the economic and defence sphere. Hence the manic Anglo-Saxon effort to make NATO the worldwide instrument of Anglo-US policy. In November 2002, the British Defence Minister said that NATO was and would be the only organisation for the collective defence of Europe, thus thumbing his nose at an independent European army. The current arrangement, the European Rapid Reaction Force, is constrained by only being able to operate when NATO decides not to. The most obvious recent example of Britain’s subservience is the illegal unilateral attack on Iraq, which served the US’s and Britain’s purpose of dividing the EU.

The Anglo-Saxon myth

In 1869, a British politician saw America as the agent of Anglo-Saxon domination and predicted “a great racial conflict from which Saxondom would rise triumphant, with China, Japan, Africa and South America soon falling to the all-conquering Anglo-Saxon”. In 1950, the British Labour Party said: “In every respect we are closer to our kinsmen in Australia and New Zealand on the far side of the world than we are to Europe”, while in 1985, Margaret Thatcher said: “There is a union of mind and purpose between our peoples which is remarkable and which makes our relationship truly a remarkable one”. The previous British Prime Minister, Blair, famous for lying to Parliament over the attack on Iraq, said: “We must accept that there is a significant part of the world that is deeply inimical to all we stand for”. When the British Ambassador to Greece, Mr David Madden, addressed an audience of New York College students, he spoke simplistically about ‘we, the forces of good’. The audience was unimpressed by what came acro
ss as the Ambassador’s patronising attitude towards the natives.

Yet Anglosaxondom is a racial myth. First, the Scots, Welsh and Irish are more homogenous than the English, who include all these, plus Danes, Norwegians and Normans (Franco-Danes), Jews, Africans, Chinese, Indians and, of course, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes who destroyed most of England’s Roman heritage in the 5th and 6th centuries AD. Anglosaxondom is a psycho-linguistic, rather than a racial, phenomenon. It was Bismarck who said that the most potent factor in human society was the fact that the British and American peoples spoke the same language. Add to that the utilitarian philosophy, Protestantism and, above all, economics, and the picture becomes clearer, Today, Britain and the US speak the same economic and business language, hence the UK’s massive dependence on investment in the US. In this sense, the likes of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice can be seen as honorary Anglo-Saxon mascots.

The client state

The Anglo-Saxon business mentality is based on economic liberalism and the concomitantly weaker forms of social protection than what exists in most of the EU. In addition, the British alone are trusted with some sensitive US technology and are allowed to buy into the US market in. Britain is a leading direct foreign investor in the US, yet cannot fire cruise missiles without US permission, or expel the US from its bases on British territory. Britain expelled 2,000 of its own citizens from its Diego Garcia colony at US insistence, when she rented it to the US for defence purposes. Yet it spent billions in ‘rescuing’ 2,000 (white-skinned) British citizens in the Falklands-Malvinas war, with US help. Britain’s spy-gathering installations depend on the US, as does the whole ECHELON joint spying arrangement. More recently, most of Britain’s Ministry of Defence’s research arm has been purchased by a US conglomerate, thus leaving much of Britain’s future defence capability in the hands of foreign shareholders.

As regards Greece and Cyprus, when Britain tried to give up its ‘sovereign bases’ in 1974/5, the US ensured that they remained. The manically pro-American role of ‘New Europe’ (led by Poland), and controlling Cyprus, are two of the Anglo-Saxon axis’ strongest cards in its efforts to promote Turkey’s EU membership and prevent the Franco-German axis and Moscow from acting together. The future may hold some surprises: France is, after all, an independent country (unlike Britain) and could end up pushing, with Germany and Russia, for a more independent core Europe, with Britain leading a weaker outer circle of pro-US states . No amount of pseudo-diplomatic terminology such as ‘flexible’, ‘constructive’, ‘pragmatic’, or ‘practical’, favoured by English politicians, will convince committed European leaders to follow the path of subservience now characterising the death of British independence, to the chagrin of those true Englishman who are following Edward Heath to the grave. Fear of commitment, an aversion to pr
ecise texts and hiding behind America is the order of the day. By jumping into America’s bed so desperately, Britain is fast losing credibility in the EU.

n Dr William Mallinson, a former British diplomat, teaches British history at the Ionian University and is the author of Cyprus, A Modern History, I. B. Tauris, London and New York 2005, and Papazissis (in Greek) Athens, 2005, and of Public Lies and Private Truths: an Anatomy of Public Relations, Leader Books, Athens, 2000

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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