American Hellenic Institute


Facebook Image
Op-Ed: End the “Special Relationship” with the UK
January 21, 2009—No. 2 (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed: End the “Special Relationship” with the UK

WASHINGTON, DC—The following Op-Ed by Gene Rossides appeared in the National Herald 1-10-09 and the Greek News 1-12-09.

End the “Special Relationship” with the UK

By Gene Rossides

January 6, 2009

The Obama/Biden administration should quietly and quickly end the so-called “special relationship” with the United Kingdom (UK) because it is not and has not been in the best interests of the United States.

The special relationship with the UK developed after the end of World War II in 1945 and the beginning of the Cold War with the Soviet Union in 1946-1947. It was initiated by the British for their own interests which at that time were national security and the preservation of the British Empire.

Britain fought World Wars I and II for the same reasons, national security and the preservation of Britain’s colonial empire. After World War I Britain focused on the post-war negotiations to punish the vanquished Germany and its allies and to prevent their being a threat to the British Empire.

Why is the special relationship with the UK harmful to U.S. interests? The answer is several-fold. First, it damages our relations with our other main World War II ally, France. How should the French nation feel after World War II when the British proclaim a special relationship and the U.S. acquiesces?

Second, Britain did not fight World War I or II to promote liberty, freedom and democracy in the world. Winston Churchill stated after World War II that he did not become Prime Minister to dissolve “the Empire.” The U.S. in the post-World War II decades put itself in a position to be accused of supporting British colonialism.

The U.S. should remember the statement made by the Britain’s Lord Palmerston in 1848: "We have no eternal allies and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and these interests it is our duty to follow."

In 1954, Britain convinced the U.S. to support its opposition in the United Nations General Assembly to self-determination for Cyprus. With U.S. support, Britain defeated Greece’s effort to obtain self-determination for Cyprus. It was a mistake in U.S. policy which caused more damage two years later on October 29, 1956 when Britain, France and Israel invaded Egypt to gain control of the Suez Canal. Cyprus was used by Britain as a base for its aggression against Egypt.

In 2003 and 2004 Britain convinced the U.S. to support an undemocratic, unjust and non-viable Annan Plan for Cyprus. Fortunately, the Annan Plan was defeated by the Greek Cypriots by a vote of 76% against it.

Thirdly, as Germany and Italy developed democratic governments, supported primarily by the U.S. in the post-World War II period, the fact that the British pressed the special relationship with the U.S. hindered the U.S. in developing close relationships with Germany and Italy. Similarly, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the “special relationship” with Britain hindered the development of U.S. relations with the newly independent Eastern European nations.

Fourth, Britain is and has been a class ridden society and stands for class distinctions and inherited privilege with the monarchy as a symbol. A recent book Mind the Gapby Ferdinand Mount demonstrates, according to a review by Clive Davis of TheTimes of London, the “gulf” between the classes “is, in some ways, wider than ever.”

Fifth, it continues to damage our efforts to establish a productive working relationship with Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Britain has had an adversarial relationship with Russia for centuries and has tried to prevent a close U.S.-Russia relationship.

Britain is a second rate power. Russia is far more important to the U.S. for the promotion of U.S. interests worldwide and particularly in Eastern Europe, of which Russia is part, the Middle East, Central Asia and with the Asian giants, China and India.

We should also realize, in considering our relations with Russia, that while it is a multiethnic and cultural nation, its predominant religion is Russian Orthodox Christianity.

British-United States history

We should not forget that we rebelled against British colonialism in 1775, proclaimed our independence from Britain in 1776 and defeated the British in the Revolutionary War. The British referred to the American rebels as traitors to the crown and in a royal proclamation of August 23, 1975 called for their suppression.

Next, the British attacked the new U.S. nation in the War of 1812 and burned the White House. In our Civil War 1861-65 the British favored the South. The public should also be reminded that Britain initiated the infamous slave trade with the U.S. southern states.

When I organized the American Hellenic Institute (AHI) on August 1, 1974 following Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus and the then Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger’s refusal to obey and carry-out U.S. laws that required an immediate halt in military aid to Turkey, I based AHI’s policy on the rule of law as in the best interests of the U.S. The guiding principle of the AHI in determining positions to take, for example on the Annan Plan #5, is and has been “What is in the best interests of the United State?”

For the U.S., support of the rule of law and democratic norms in foreign relations is in the short-term and long-term interests of the U.S. Eisenhower understood this when he acted in the 1956 Suez Crisis to halt aggression by Britain, France and Israel. He stated on October 31, 1956 in one of his greatest speech to the nation: "There can be no peace without law. And there can be no law if we were to invoke one code of conduct for those who oppose us and another for our friends."

Call, e-mail and write to the Obama/Biden administration after it is sworn in on January 20, 2009, to support the rule of law and democratic norms in our international relations as in the best interests of the U.S., as Eisenhower did in 1956.


For additional information, please contact C. Franciscos Economides at (202) 785-8430 or at For general information regarding the activities of AHI, please view our Web site at