Special Relationships.

In every relationship, it is said, there’s one who does the running. And certainly in a special relationship. This is at least how many British Parlamentarians must have felt after being told that the US government has asked the British military to redeploy several hundred soldiers from the relatively safe British-led occupation zone in the South closer to Baghdad – to relieve US troops fighting terrorists. However, other reports stipulate the redeployment might be necessary to avoid utter chaos caused by American military staging mutinies right before the Presidential election (see here).

So on this day, on which the strategic value of perpetuating the dogma of Churchill’s sixty-year-old “three spheres of interest”-strategy into the 21st century was once again questioned, The Economist offers some fun reading that is, well, roughly related. The magazine finds it very odd that a study conducted at Exeter University concludes that most of 197 British-American takeovers (not specified what kinds of transaction are meant by this) were financial disasters, while the same cannot be said for “takeovers” in the EU – or the rest of the world, for that matter.

Intuitively, I don’t find this result quite as odd as the Economist apparently does – even though I understand more eurosceptical people in Britain must be perplexed by this. Well, maybe these results mean that the UK will not join the NAFTA anytime soon…

4 thoughts on “Special Relationships.

  1. From The Economist article:

    “So why the unexpected outcome? The Exeter academics do not know, but would love to find out?if they can get the research funding.”

    Can we be sure that this dramatic study is not just another ploy by some academics to survive in a marketplace where academia is increasingly marginalized?

    As to the “mutiny”, it seems clear that an anti-American bigot like Tobias Schwarz would latch on to this as eagerly as the mainstream media, to amplify the claims of “utter chaos” reigning in the American military.

    Come on, Tobias! Don’t you see that your own German media have warped your perceptions! A bunch of soldiers stage a protest; so what else is new? This is just a trifle to a public that knows and loves M.A.S.H., – a public that understands that the American army is a bureaucracy that can make stupid mistakes. If you think this is going to tip the electoral scales, then you simply have no idea what America is all about.

  2. Several reservists near Nasiriyah balk at a mission and what does Bush do? Asks for 600 Brits to be sent north-east of Karbala. I guess the guy must be pretty dumb, eh?

  3. “So why the unexpected outcome? The Exeter academics do not know, but would love to find out–if they can get the research funding.”

    These are the Economist’s words, not the academics’. The fact that the magazine considered the study worth publicizing–and, yes, shilling for–says something about the interest of the report. And if the quantitative data bears scrutiny (which I assume it does, since academics–unlike thinktank analysts–have to undergo peer review prior to publication), then the trend is interesting.

  4. I don’t think there’s a connection between this “mutiny” and the British troops. The Brits are being sent to cover for the Fallujah operation. Bottom line is that we don’t have enough American troops to both “guard” Baghdad and go on the offensive. But that’s a different problem than one platoon’s refusal to go on what looks like a pointless suicide mission.

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