The US and the UK — a force for good
Winston Churchill often celebrated the special relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom, as two great nations with a common language, a shared history, and a deep and abiding commitment to freedom. Our special relationship finds its roots in the early days of the American colonies, and though we fought a revolution against British rule, we built our nation on principles of freedom and constitutional government which are, to quote Churchill “the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world.”
In a strange twist of fate, Churchill, the man most responsible for cementing the alliance between the U.S. and the U.K., was half-American by birth, with ancestors on his mother’s side who fought in the American Revolution.
Our relationship has not been without its turbulent moments — the American Revolution and the burning of the Capitol by an invading British force in the War of 1812 come to mind. Since then, we have enjoyed a lasting peace as we gradually built the bonds of friendship. The Monroe Doctrine, one of the cornerstones of our foreign policy, expressed America’s opposition to further European colonization in the Western Hemisphere, yet was enforced by the Royal Navy.
In the twentieth century, we joined arms to defend the cause of freedom against the tyranny of fascism and communism. When Britain stood alone against Hitler, it was the United States that supplied Britain through the Lend-Lease Act and sent troops to liberate a continent.Together, we rebuilt Europe from the devastation of war, founded NATO, and forged a close partnership in intelligence and security to counter the Soviet Union.
This special relationship, sealed in the fires of battle, continues to this day. When the United States was attacked on 9/11, the U.K. was our first and closest ally as we took the fight to terrorists in Afghanistan and the Middle East. British soldiers, from the start, fought shoulder-to-shoulder with us on the battlefield. I had the honor of seeing their courage firsthand on a combat deployment to Iraq in 2003. As a flight surgeon for the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, I treated three wounded SAS soldiers who we were rescuing while under heavy enemy fire. The valor of these men is a testament to the perseverance and determination of the British people, and a sign of a bond between nations unlike any other.
Unfortunately, there are signs that this special relationship is weakening. Some in Britain wonder if the United States can be relied upon in the face of the geopolitical challenges that we now confront around the globe. Especially in the wake of President Biden’s chaotic withdrawal and evacuation from Afghanistan, many question whether the United States still has the resolve to lead the free world.
At this moment, our adversaries see opportunity in our weakness. While President Biden seeks to revive the Obama administration’s failed deal with Iran, the ayatollahs continue full steam ahead with their nuclear ambitions. In the past year, Iran has begun to produce uranium metal and enrich uranium to higher levels, all while stonewalling the IAEA’s attempts to investigate the allegedly peaceful nuclear program. As Biden schedules endless dialogue with Putin, Russian forces mass on the Ukrainian border. Putin is many things, but a fool is not one of them; he sees a United States that is reeling from the bungled withdrawal from Afghanistan and lacks any sort of strategic vision.
On top of these mounting threats is Communist China—the greatest challenge the West has faced since the Soviet Union, at the height of its power. Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party have shown that they are ruthless in pursuit of their strategic ambitions, and they are willing to bully anyone who stands in the way of China’s quest for supremacy. As China builds an unprecedented totalitarian system of internal control, it is engaged in extending its influence on every continent through its debt-trap diplomacy and aggressive economic mercantilism through its network of state-owned enterprises.
In his 1941 address to Congress, as Britain and the United States stood against fearful odds, Churchill expressed his hope that “the British and American peoples will, for their own safety and for the good of all, walk together in majesty, in justice and in peace.” Now more than ever, we must renew this resolve—and strengthen our relationship—to confront today’s challenges to freedom. The special relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. is indispensable to both our nations—and to the world.
Rep. Mark Green is a physician and combat veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq where he served three tours. He interviewed Saddam Hussein for six hours on the night of his capture. He serves on the House Armed Services and Foreign Affairs Committees.