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Despite cordial meeting, U.S.- UK ties drifting apart

07-22-2010 11:05 BJT

Do the U.K. and the U.S. still have a special relationship?

WASHINGTON, July 21 (Xinhua) -- On the face of it, British Prime Minister David Cameron's visit with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday looked like a meeting of old friends reaffirming their relationship.

But a closer look reveals that Washington's "special relationship" with London isn't so special anymore, and a changing geopolitical landscape is causing the two to drift apart, some experts said.

"They are trying to take the 'special' out of the 'special relationship' and just trying to make it another businesslike relationship," said Fiona Hill, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution.

"(One that) does not necessarily stand out from all the other bilateral relationships in the larger European context," said Hill.

"They don't want to go back to the days when Britain was the lynchpin of the transatlantic relationship and the bridge to Europe, because Britain isn't a very good bridge to Europe," she said, noting Britain's traditional Euro-skepticism.

While the Obama administration wants ties with key players in Europe, it is placing more emphasis on its bond with the European Union, she said.

"That's really where the big economic relationship is."

Marko Papic, senior Eurasia analyst at global intelligence company Stratfor, said while the two remain allies, Obama is not as close to Britain as past U.S. presidents.

Moreover, Washington is at odds with London over how to handle the recession that continues to grip much of the globe, he noted.

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