Everything is just fine. Okay, there’s the Huawei thing. And the disagreement over how to deal with Iran. And global warming, trade wars, NATO, an investigation into Prince Andrew, and the requested extradition of the wife of an American diplomat who killed a British teenager. Oh, and there was that thing where the British ambassador was unceremoniously dumped after being criticized by the American president. Still, all of these are merely “wrinkles” in what remains a very smooth and special relationship between the United States and Britain.
At least this was the message British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo projected in London today.
Let’s test these statements on their own merits. First, are the United States and Britain really being candid with each other about where they disagree?
Second, do they really share the same analysis of the world and its challenges?
And finally, is this really only about means and not about ends?
In all three cases, the answer appears to be no.
In London, China does not look like “the central threat of our times,” as Pompeo put it, but the central cash cow. Wealth and power are moving east and so is London’s gaze, special relationship or not.