Payback

Many people in Britain have been wondering for the last few years exactly what we get out of the “special relationship” with the United States.

We go along with Afghanistan, we go along with Iraq, we go along with anything. We send our soldiers off to die in counterproductive wars and make our cities into targets. And we keep waiting for the moment when we get something out of being a “No. 1 ally” in the war on terror, other than a few good photo opps for Tony in front of the US Congress.

Well, according to today’s Financial Times, the moment has finally arrived. We get… streamlined arms deals!! Woohoo!!!

According to people familiar with the negotiations, the treaty would represent a big victory for Tony Blair, the outgoing British prime minister, who has repeatedly lobbied George W. Bush over what has been a longstanding disagreement between the two allies.

Well it all makes sense now. Apparently the UK and Australia already get expedited approval for arms purchases from the States, but currently those poor arms dealers still have to wait at least a month for approval. Thanks to Tony’s fearless negotiating, their travails could soon be at an end.

Except that the US Congress might not approve the deal, because it is concerned about Britain’s lax laws governing exports to other countries. Wow, the USA, armer of everyone from Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden, is concerned that its weapons of mass destruction may fall into the wrong hands if it lets Britain have them. Our controls must be pretty damned lax.

Still, it’s nice to have got something out of the “special relationship.” I was beginning to think it was a bit one-sided.