I know the relationship is mutually beneficial. But, I am trying to understand the depth of relations between the UK-France with the USA.

Can the USA function as smoothly as it is functioning in the area of international relations without British and French supports?

Kindly, give me some examples along with explanations.

  • You might clarify that the US is considerably more powerful, and could go it alone in many cases if it really wanted to. But that would be more difficult. This would be more "finds it beneficial to rely on" vs. "is dependent on."
    – o.m.
    Oct 18, 2020 at 5:33
  • @o.m. Good point U.K. and French support is most important when the US seeks joint action.
    – user20338
    Oct 18, 2020 at 19:31
  • @JMS, take the Iran example. Nobody doubts that the US could wreck the Iranian regime and nuclear program unilaterally. They are not prepared to pay the price unilaterally.
    – o.m.
    Oct 19, 2020 at 4:25
  • @o.m. Actually there is no good military option on Iran’s nuclear program. Which is why the US has preferred the sanction route. And to do sanctions it requires consensus and allies
    – user20338
    Oct 19, 2020 at 7:33
  • @JMS, agreed, no good options. But there are bad military options and the cost of those might be shared.
    – o.m.
    Oct 19, 2020 at 9:55

3 Answers 3



How much is the USA dependent on British and French support in international relations?


While no nation has a closer alliance with the United States than the UK, France's history with the United States is different and a bit more contentious at times. The UK and France are among the United States most important allies.

  1. Both are liberal democracies which generally have common concerns with the US on international issues.
  2. Both are on the UN Security Council and that means nothing substantial goes through the UN without their agreement. Both have veto's on any substantive UN action.
  3. Both are important NATO allies who drill, coordinate and consult with the US on defense. NATO is America's most important ally and Europe is a region which America twice has gone to war over (WWI, WWII).
  4. Both along with the United State have the 3 most capable militaries able to project power removed from their borders more than any other nations including Russia and China. So If the US were to go to war removed from their common boarders no other two countries would have the ability to support the US militarily than the UK and France.
  5. The UK and France along with the United States are among the top eight largest economies in the world, another important group for international relations and decision making.
  6. The UK is the closest ally the United States has. It's among the five eyes allies made up of the UK, the US and some of the UK's commonwealth nations. This group by treaty shares a special relationship with regards to security assets including raw signals intelligence, technology and many sensitive defense secrets shared with no other US allies.
  7. When Iraq invaded Kuwait ultimately resulting in the first gulf war. Then American President George H W Bush decided to go to war largely on the strong advice of British PM Margaret Thatcher. She was so respected among American political leadership at that time that her say so was enough to convince them to go to war. In interviews prior to his meeting with Thatcher President Bush and his advisors were not pursuing military action. It was Thatcher who convinced Bush that Saddam's aggression should not be permitted to stand. Appeasing aggression yields more aggression. I've read that from several different sources.
  • 6
    Point of information: the USA has never "gone to war over Europe", although the Cold War and the extended occupation of West Germany was very close to it. In the case of the two World Wars, America entered the war because Germany or its allies had struck at or threatened its interests. Oct 18, 2020 at 12:41
  • 1
    @MarkMorganLloyd to be fair I said Europe was a “region” America has twice gone to war over tO limit these kinds of disputes. Clearly America has huge interests in Europe. And clearly the us has gone to war there and kept troops there to protect those interests. I would argue keeping the knowledge, Capital, culture, ambitions and populations of Europe under represetative formS of government and free is what WWI, WWII, and Cold War were about. Perhaps you can suggest a rewording which better fits.
    – user20338
    Oct 18, 2020 at 14:04
  • The feeling in the UK is that the USA barely even shares a common language any more, let alone traditional values. If you were to reword it, I'd suggest something along the lines of "in support of allies in Europe" but the popular feeling is that America only entered WW-I when Germany's defeat was a forgone conclusion and wouldn't have entered WW-II (irrespective of Roosevelt's preference) if it hadn't been for Pearl Harbour... which was pretty much guaranteed to happen sooner or later after America had encouraged Japan to expand in the Far East. Oct 18, 2020 at 14:27
  • I would say that Glaspie's lack of 'clarity' was one of the reasons for the first gulf war.
    – copper.hat
    Oct 18, 2020 at 15:49
  • @MarkMorganLloyd What I was going for is regardless of why the US entered in two World Wars and Stationed troops in Europe and entered into its first and only broad multi-nation defense pact/organization all demonstrate how important Europe was and remains to US interests. Current administration insinuations aside, and also setting aside how popular or not various transient U.S. administrations have been in Europe.
    – user20338
    Oct 18, 2020 at 19:14

The JCPOA is a good example, even if three other countries were involved (China, Russia, Germany).

  • Working with Europe, China and Russia, the United States pressured Iran into a deal which froze their uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions reduction. Various US agencies certified that Iran kept that narrow agreement, while working against Western interests in many other areas.
  • Later on, working against Europe, the United States tried to pressure Iran into going beyond the reductions agreed in the JCPOA. As a result, Iran is again enriching uranium beyond 3.67%.

It seems to be less and less. The United States is gradually leaving the world's leading position. The Cold War is long gone, and the United States and Europe will care more about their own interests.

  • 2
    I think that a weakening position implies MORE dependency on allies. Unless I am missing something?
    – fraxinus
    Oct 18, 2020 at 16:50
  • @fraxinus The weakening position corresponds to a strategic contraction, which is why the US is withdrawing its troops from the Middle East and reducing its garrison in Europe. The strategic differences between the United States and Europe can be reflected in the recent Iranian arms embargo. The US's influence in Europe has weakened.
    – cocoJ
    Oct 19, 2020 at 2:11

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