Special alliance

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Has the “special relationship” between the UK and the United States been damaged irreparably by the House of Commons’ decision not to support military intervention in Syria (your report, 31 August)?

This was a coalition government shambles, but we should not ignore the jolts that have occurred to relations with America since the Second World War, with those relations surviving.

More than 60 years ago, there was a serious difference of opinion between the Labour government led by Clement Attlee and Harry Truman’s Democrats over whether it might be appropriate to use nuclear weapons in the conflict in Korea; the debacle over Suez in 1956 has been very well documented; US president Lyndon Johnson was peeved regularly by the refusal of Harold Wilson’s administration to commit troops to Vietnam in the 1960s; even the links between the government of Margaret Thatcher and that of Ronald Reagan in the 1980s were strained by differences over “star wars” and US intervention in Grenada.

A number of factors influenced MPs to vote against the government last Thursday, but I doubt whether it was an attempt to sever close co-operation with the United States for all time. In the final analysis, the alliance, however imperfect, has been a guarantor of freedom and will remain so long after the Syrian debacle is settled.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court
Glenrothes, Fife

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