So much for the special relationship

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images Toby Harnden, the London Telegraph‘s man in Washington, gets a juicy tidbit from an unnamed White House source who says Britain is no longer America’s closest ally in Europe: There’s concern about [new British Prime Minister Gordon] Brown. But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of ...

598886_071003_sarko_05.jpg
598886_071003_sarko_05.jpg

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Toby Harnden, the London Telegraph‘s man in Washington, gets a juicy tidbit from an unnamed White House source who says Britain is no longer America’s closest ally in Europe:

There’s concern about [new British Prime Minister Gordon] Brown. But this is compensated by the fact that Paris and Berlin are much less of a headache. The need to hinge everything on London as the guarantor of European security has gone.”

Harnden’s source goes on to say there is “a lot of unhappiness” in the White House over how British forces have performed in Iraq:

Operationally, British forces have performed poorly in Basra. Maybe it’s best that they leave. Now we will have a clear field in southern Iraq.”

But if the Brits aren’t America’s special friend in Europe anymore, who has taken their place? Harnden quotes a British diplomat:

The new best friend is [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy.”

You have to wonder how much of a factor Iran is here. Sarkozy and Bernard Kouchner, his foreign minister, have shown much more willingness to talk tough on Iran. In substance, the French remain reluctant to go to war over Iran, just as the British are. But then, style has always been more important to the Bush White House than substance.

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