Irwin Stelzer in The Daily Telegraph is the latest commentator to worry that the US-UK relationship may be heading for choppier waters.
Last week The Times' Rachel Sylvester reported increasing concerns within the Pentagon about the effectiveness of British troops. The Sun noted that other European nations headed Hillary Clinton's list of strategic partners. Many Democrats in the new administration still resent Britain and Labour for the support Tony Blair gave to George W Bush's Iraq policy. Mr Stelzer adds the following concerns:
- The reputation of Foreign Secretary David Miliband: "Americans who have dealt with David Miliband confirm what many British journalists have long known. The Foreign Secretary is arrogant, given to lecturing veteran American diplomats on policies and regions of which he has only the most superficial knowledge. One would like to be a fly on the wall when Miliband lectures Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about some subject on which she has spent decades accumulating expertise."
- Concern at Labour's criticisms of Israel. Although it is not certain what Obama's position is on Israel/Hamas.
- An unwillingness to commit many extra British troops to President Obama's 'surge for Afghanistan'.
This is not, of course the first time that the end of special relationship has been predicted. The first George Bush indicated that Germany would be America's principal European ally. Relations between Britain and America were difficult when President Clinton was first elected because of the help John Major's Conservative Party had given to the Republican campaign against him.
There are reasons for the persistence of the special relationship. The common language and shared historical experiences remains important. The close co-operation of British and American intelligence services. The willingness of the British government to commit troops alongside America. Britain's permanent place on the United Nations Security Council.
Gordon Brown may not be the first world or even European leader to meet President Obama. Britain's serious economic difficulties may mean that London struggles to afford the kind of military burden-sharing that characterised the Reagan-Thatcher and Bush-Blair years but the relationship will remain special.