The United States and the United Kingdom have historically enjoyed and maintained a special relationship rooted in common history and shared values. On May 7, 2007, President Bush cited shared values as a unique element between the two countries:
Our two nations hold fundamental values in common. We honor our traditions and our shared history. We recognize that the strongest societies respect the rights and dignity of the individual. We understand and accept the burdens of global leadership. And we have built our special relationship on the surest foundations -- our deep and abiding love of liberty.
-- President George W. Bush, May 7, 2007
The term “special relationship” was first coined by Prime Minister Winston Churchill as early as 1944 to describe the close allyship and cooperation between the United States and the United Kingdom. In 1946, he went on to emphasize that the good of the special relationship between the two countries, would be realized by and beneficial to the world:
Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples... a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States….There is however an important question we must ask ourselves. Would a special relationship between the United States and the British Commonwealth be inconsistent with our over-riding loyalties to the World Organization? I reply that, on the contrary, it is probably the only means by which that organization will achieve its full stature and strength.
This cooperation was notable in several aspects during President Bush’s administrations, including trade, diplomacy, and the joint military invasion of Iraq in order to unseat Saddam Hussein from power. Much like the close relationship between Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt, President Bush and Prime Minister Blair met and spoke on numerous occasions over the course of their working relationship. Prime Minister Blair visited the United States 15 times, 13 of those visits being working visits. The Chilcot Report, produced by Britain’s Iraq Inquiry, cites that the leaders spoke on the phone over 130 times.
Both Prime Minister Blair and President Bush enjoyed a personal chemistry and mutual understanding that led to a particularly strong alliance of the two countries from 2001 to the end of Prime Minister Blair’s last term in 2007. Once Prime Minister Gordon Brown took over in 2007, the relationship between the new prime minister and the President was congenial, but was tempered by Prime Minister Brown’s disapproval of Britain’s role in the Iraq War. The close relationship between Prime Minister Blair and President Bush is cited in the Chilcot Report as a “determining factor” in the decision to invade Iraq.