From an American perspective, the United Kingdom is uniquely placed to complement US strategy and has a key role in upholding international security. The international community and Americans expect the UK and US to act in concert. Defence reviews on both sides of the Atlantic must be mindful of this consideration.
The on-going concern about the 'special relationship' is not about the Americans at all, but about Britain. However, the true debate is not about the merits of the alliance but Britain's position in the world.
The achievements of the NPR and the signing of New START are the first steps towards President Obama’s stated goal of a nuclear free world. However limited their successes may be, their announcements signify real progress in nuclear disarmament.
Within the next decade, European aircraft capable of delivering US nuclear weapons are due to be withdrawn from service. What are the options available to NATO in the debate over the continuance of its tactical nuclear capability?
The Obama Administration’s call for a fresh start with Iran have so far been met with hostility, a result of political battles within Iran’s governing faction. Yet the political squabbling masks a tentative movement in Iran away from hostility and towards engagement.
The US Defense Secretary Robert Gates has outlined plans to ‘profoundly reform’ US military spending. They include curbs on significant weapons programmes and a boost to more strategically focused projects. The underlining themes behind this new policy will certainly have implications well beyond the US defence acquisition community.
Barack Obama’s election has dramatically improved America’s image overseas, but the new President is likely to have to sacrifice international goodwill in order to obtain objectives he considers important.