Britain, on the other hand, was one of the great easualties ofrnthe Cold War. Churchill’s dream, long before the speech inrnFulton, where he declared the Cold War, had been of a unionrnof English-speaking nations. Practically, this would have meantrnputting American men and resources at the disposal of thernCommonwealth. Americans might not enjoy the implications,rnbut such a union could have had a civilizing influence onrnthe United States as much as it would have reinvigorated thernlanguishing virility of the English. What happened, instead,rnwas that the United Kingdom was reduced to dependency onrnher former colonies, and while Mrs. Thatcher might, fromrntime to time, find the means to overawe her less forcefulrnAmerican counterparts, the overall effect has been to turnrnBritain into a sulky and resentful colony of the United States.rnCommon sense tells us that enough is enough. We do notrnneed another set of Fourteen Points or another AtlanticrnCharter or, God help us all, a New Wodd Order. What we dornneed, however, is a clear sense of purpose and priorities. Thernfirst priority, dwarfing all others, should be to defend the securityrnand interest of the American nation, and the second—rnif I am not being blasphemous—is like unto it, that we shouldrnallow—or even compel—the nations of Europe to look afterrntheir own interests without consulting us.rnI am not sure that Britain is ready for such freedom. Lastrnfall, British public opinion was thrown into a panic by reportsrnthat America was, in effect, getting a divorce from the Anglo-rnAmerican marriage. In an interview with the Washington Post,rnPresident Clinton tried to pin the blame for the Bosnian messrnon England and France for refusing to go along with his plan tornlift the embargo against Bosnian Muslims. Warren Christopherrnwent further, and like an eadier Christopher (namely, Columbus),rnthe secretary discovered that Europe is no longer the centerrnof the world. The special relationship, declared SecretaryrnChristopher, was over.rnThe English political class reacted like a jilted lover to the latestrnshift in Clinton’s lurching and reeling foreign policy. Thernpathos requires a Browning at least: “All’s over then. Doesrntruth sound bitter as one at first believes?” Over here in prosaicrnAmerica, no one noticed. The Post’s stories were not picked uprnby other major newspapers, and among the many blunders withrnwhich President Clinton was taxed, his petulant outburstrnagainst the European allies has gone unnoticed.rnThere was another reason for American indifference to thernPresident’s remarks. We were too busy celebrating the releasernof a helicopter pilot captured in Somalia. Inevitably describedrnas a “hostage” rather than a prisoner of war, Michael Durantrnwas the object of parades, prayer vigils, and presidential speechesrnthroughout his captivity. In fact, every American casualty inrnSomalia was front-page news and an occasion for much soulsearching.rnIs this the stuff of empire?rnI wish I could say that the new isolationism in the UnitedrnStates is only the reemergence of an old American traditionrnthat stretches back to George Washington. It is that, of course,rnbut it is also the manifestation of weakness. It is one thing torncarpet-bomb an Iraqi village or machine-gun a crowd of civiliansrnin Mogadishu, but quite another when American troopsrnare actually fired upon. Don’t count on us.rnThen again, why should they? Singly, the major nations ofrnEurope are important wodd powers. In alliance, they mightrnconstitute the major power, politically as well as economically.rnAs usual, Secretar)- Christopher is wrong. Europe is, now morernthan ever, the dominant area of the world.rnThe nations of Europe have sat in America’s shade for toornlong. Ever since Anthony Eden’s humiliating failure in thernSuez crisis, Britain has been the lapdog of the U.S. State Department,rnbut when I raise the subject with English journalists,rnthey ask, beseechingly, “Who will save us from the Germans?”rnIf their fate is really in our hands, my advice is to start learningrnthe words to “Deutschland IJberAUes.”rnIt is time for Uncle Sam’s nephews to grow up and take responsibilityrnfor their own affairs. We shall be lucky to save ourrnown country from the ethnic and social conflicts that are turningrnmajor cities into miniature Bosnias. We cannot save thernwodd. American isolation may be inevitable, now that the Sovietrnthreat no longer justifies our world empire. But the liberationrnof America’s colonies should be the occasion not of estrangementrnbut of a new special relationship based on mutualrnrespect and common ground rather than the servility and dependencyrnthat marked Britain’s side of the Cold War alliance.rnThe United States only makes sense as a cultural province ofrnEurope, and we are indebted to Britain for our laws and Constitution,rnour literature and our language. American history hasrnno meaning except as a continuation of England’s story.rnThe real threat to the special relationship does not comernfrom American isolationists but from internationalists who, likernMr. Christopher, would like to jettison our “Eurocentric” prejudicesrnand make Washington the seat of world government.rnWhen the internationalists—Presidents Wilson, Roosevelt,rnand Johnson—drag the United States into war, it is always thernisolationists who are willing to honor commitments and fightrnthe battles. In 1917, William Jennings Bryan, who had resignedrnfrom the Cabinet to protest the President’s support for England,rnoffered his services as soon as the United States enteredrnthe war. At the same time, our greatest isolationist poet,rnRobinson Jeffers, volunteered for the balloon corps. Jeffers andrnBryan hated war, but they loved Britain as their ancestral andrnspiritual home.rnThe growing indifference to Britain, here in the UnitedrnStates, is due less to isolationism than to the low level of our education.rnEnglish history is almost never taught below the universityrnlevel, and even in universities it is rarely studied. Englishrnliterature fares hardly any better. In many colleges there arernmore courses in Irish than in English literature, and an Americanrnlawyer is fortunate if he can boast of reading one playrnof Shakespeare and one Dickens novel. As for European languages,rnhardly anyone here can read, much less speak, a secondrnlanguage. In the current state of American education, it isrnsmall wonder if our universities are flooded with Chinese scientists,rnour magazines run by expatriate Englishmen. Forrnmost Americans, including well-to-do Americans with advancedrndegrees, Europe exists only as a sprawling Disney Woridrnof ancient cathedrals and modern hotels connected by an umbilicalrncord of tour buses.rnTwo years ago I took my daughter to London. At the Tower, onernof the warders asked if there were any Americans present.rnLooking out at the show of hands, he bellowed out, “Welcomernhome.” My first reaction, as I looked at the Central and SouthernrnEuropeans with their hands up, was skeptical. How couldrnthey possibly regard England as home? On second thought,rnthe warder was right, and wherever the ancestors of our mongrelrnrace came from, we must be artificial Englishmen if wernwish to go on being American, and if we wish ever to be freernourselves, we must begin by liberating our colonies. ^^c-rnMARCH 1994/15rnrnrn