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Britain and France have been allies for most of the last century. The Entente Cordiale may not have been a love match but at least it definitively confirmed the tentative peace since 1815 and ended the centuries of wars between the two countries*.

I see no particular reason why Britain needs a special relationship with any other power. The one with the US was good marketing during the Second World War and the Cold War, but has now become counterproductive.

I suggest we should follow the dictum of Lord Palmerston that a nation has no permanent friends or perpetual enemies but only enduring interests (as modified by the extent that the European Union is regarded as a matter of domestic rather than foreign policy).

I suspect the next generation of political leaders in Britain (and western Europe generally) will be less oriented to the US than the leaderships since the 1940s.

*Honesty compels me to add that this statement is subject to a rough patch in the Second World War when it was unfortunately necessary for the British to destroy the French Navy.

by Gary J on Tue Oct 17th, 2006 at 07:54:06 AM EST

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