Monday, December 11, 2006

Ally? Some Ally!

If, like me, you thought the U.S. and U.K. were supposed to be close military allies with a "special relationship" - think again. Bush and his administration have even managed to mess that up, despite the fawning devotion of his poodle, Tony Blair. First in Afghanistan:
British intelligence officers and military commanders have accused the US of undermining British policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, after the sacking of a key British ally in the Afghan province of Helmand.

British sources have blamed pressure from the CIA for President Hamid Karzai's decision to dismiss Mohammed Daud as governor of Helmand, the southern province where Britain deployed some 4,000 troops this year. Governor Daud was appointed in mid-year to replace a man the British accused of involvement in opium trafficking, but on Thursday Mr Karzai summoned him to Kabul and sacked him, along with his deputy.

"The Americans knew Daud was a main British ally," one official told The Independent on Sunday, "yet they deliberately undermined him and told Karzai to sack him." The official said the Defence Secretary, Des Browne, was "tearing his hair out".
Then over the Bush administration's casual regard for their president's promises and obsessive need for secrecy:
British defence minister arrives in Washington today in an attempt to save a collaborative deal with the Americans on the £140 billion Joint Strike Fighter, the most expensive military programme in history.

...Britain has threatened to pull out of a planned £10 billion purchase of the new fighters if the US refused to share secret computer technology needed to maintain operational sovereignty over the Armed Forces.

The Pentagon plans to manufacture 2,500 F35s. The aircraft is expected to make its maiden flight next week in Texas.

Although Tony Blair believed that he had brokered an agreement with President Bush on a trip to the US in May, the dispute has dramatically reignited in recent days as the deadline approaches.

British officials have told The Times that in the seven months since there has been “no breakthrough — or even any sign of one — because the Americans have been preoccupied by Iraq and the midterm elections”.

The row comes at a sensitive time for transatlantic relations, with Mr Blair being widely seen as having sacrificed his political popularity at home and tarnished his legacy through his unconditional support for the war in Iraq. Kendall Myers, a senior analyst at the US State Department, recently described the relationship as “totally one-sided” with no “payback” for Britain at all.

...“If we can’t trust the Americans to provide this, then you would have to ask what else we should be doing with them in defence terms,” a Ministry of Defence source said.
Tony's man-crush on George apart, the Busheviks have been responsible for a massive widening of the "pond" that seperates Britain and America. Incompetence in the "war on some terror", torture, denial of climate change and the yawning gulf between the American uber-right's bigotry and xenophobia versus Britain's pragmatic multiculturalism have all played their parts. But that America could lose the military support of Britain - throwing the balance of military co-operation in Europe into a German-French-British alliance out of need - because Bush and crew are playing secret squirrel over some software coding is just the icing on a cake that can never be in America's national interest. That icing spells out one word - stupid.

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