Daniel R. DePetris 15 May 2019 12:16 PM 15 May 2019 12:16 PM Share Twitter Facebook LinkedIn Email Whatsapp Picture a forum where some of America’s most prominent men and women assemble in a healthy, civilised way to discuss and hash out the country’s major issues for the good of the people. This forum, theoretically, was supposed to be the United States Senate, a group of distinguished legislators who would introduce reason into the national debate. George Washington himself called the Senate a ‘saucer,’ a cooling agent to the scalding legislation that came out of the House of Representatives. My how far the Senate has fallen. In the past, being a US senator was a point of pride. You were an elite member of an elite club working in an elite institution. Some of America’s greatest politicians made their living as senators – think Ted Kennedy, Sam Nunn, Richard Lugar, and John McCain. Many US presidents: John … [Read more...] about The United States Senate is dying
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Donald Trump’s three-day state visit in early June, confirmed last week, will place unique strains on the so-called “special relationship” between the US and Britain – or so it is claimed. The 45th US president is undoubtedly a divisive figure. Polls suggest three quarters of Britons object to his policies and personal behaviour. Like a boorish house guest, Trump seems to delight in upsetting his hosts. Yet controversial visits by US presidents are nothing new. Ronald Reagan encountered furious protests in 1982 after a decision – agreed with Margaret Thatcher – to deploy nuclear-armed cruise missiles at British bases. George W Bush faced a similarly hostile reception when he came to stay at Buckingham Palace in 2003, months after invading Iraq. It was not always this way. When newly elected John F Kennedy flew in with his glamorous young wife, Jackie, in 1961, half a million people lined the route from London airport to catch a glimpse of the Camelot … [Read more...] about Britain and the US: the highs and lows of a special relationship
Back story: how NATO emerged from the ashes of WWII The Second World War had been over for roughly a year when former British prime minister Winston Churchill stepped on a podium at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. There he thundered: "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." On March 5, 1946, at this tiny rural college, Churchill announced the dawn of the Cold War. In this now famous Sinews of Peace speech, he also called for the creation of a military force for "the grand pacification of Europe within the structures of the United Nations." Seated not too far from Churchill, then American president Harry S. Truman listened closely. Truman would, a year later, tell the US parliament that he intended to stanch the communist wave halfway across the Atlantic Ocean, and for that he needed to spend money. It quickly became clear though, that money was not enough to stall Soviet advances. Joseph Stalin, communist … [Read more...] about NATO at 70: what does the future hold for the military alliance?