Deference to the politically powerful is a hideous trait, not least when it leads to a code of silence (de facto or de jure) about improper conduct. I can see why Americans are pleased that Strauss-Kahn has been denied the privileges of rank that France would no doubt have accorded him. On the other hand, you have to wonder what the presumption of innocence is worth in a case like this in the United States. Press and television are tirelessly laying out evidence for the prosecution–untested facts, leaks of dubious provenance, and assorted rumour and innuendo–before a salacious and semi-attentive public. In Britain and Europe much of this would be contempt of court. And so it should be, if the presumption of innocence means anything.
Philip Stephens is right.
Junking the myths and emotional baggage wrapped up in the idea of a uniquely special bond between London and Washington is long overdue.
The US and Britain have a natural alliance based on a close alignment of interests and values. But that is all it is. Neither side should expect any more or any less. The British preoccupation with the “special relationship” is embarrassing–and it is worse than merely embarrassing, when decisions not in Britain’s interests flow from a desire to prop up the conceit.
The Queen in Ireland: A sovereign’s debt. David Gardner and John Murray Brown, FT. A better case for the monarchy than royal weddings or funerals. Obama of Moneygall. Mark Landler, NYT. Is there anywhere the president does not have roots?
Obama gets real on Israel. Daniel Levy, American Prospect. Obama is trying to help Netanyahu, but is Netanyahu interested? Obama at AIPAC. “There was nothing particularly original in my proposal… What I did on Thursday was to say publicly what has long been acknowledged privately.” The Syrian Problem. Steve Coll, New Yorker. “The time for hopeful bargaining with Assad has passed.”