The purpose of
this book is to look forward to the future, but the reader will
quickly observe that about half of it relates to the past. I make
no apology for this. The "Special Relationship" between the United
Kingdom and the United States-which I shall argue does truly exist,
ought to exist, and should be made still stronger-is rooted in the
two nations' history. It cannot properly be understood outside that
To recognize this
is not to be nostalgic: It is to be realistic. British Prime
Minister Tony Blair's favorite touchstone for policymaking is "what
works." Within limits, it is a good one. The Special Relationship
can indeed be shown to "work," though not always. In assessing the
conditions under which it flourishes and under which it withers, we
must examine the triumphs and tribulations, and even the banalities
its trouble-free existence, from the past.
On the other hand,
history does not teach everything we need to know about the future.
Adapting to global changes, using them, not misreading or falling
foul of them will be a major challenge for the leaders of Britain
and America over many decades to come. In doing this, good personal
relationships, though useful, will not be enough.
Indeed, it is the
argument of this book that somewhat too much time and energy has
been invested in dressing up what is essentially a close alliance
in the garb of a slightly corny romantic friendship. It is by
understanding the two countries' national interests, addressing
public concerns about them, and then cementing those interests
still more closely together that the Special Relationship will be
made to hold.
Harris served during the 1980s as an adviser at the United Kingdom
Treasury and Home Office, as Director of the Conservative Party
Research Department, and as a member of Prime Minister Margaret
Thatcher's Downing Street Policy Unit. He continued to advise Lady
Thatcher after she left office and has edited the definitive volume
of her Collected Speeches. Dr. Harris is now an author and
journalist. His Dubrovnik-A History was published by Saqi
Books in 2003, and his biography of Talleyrand will be published by
John Murray in the spring of 2007.