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Has BP oil spill damaged the US-UK 'special relationship'?

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That was a passionless response worthy of the erstwhile “cool Obama.” But as Obama’s rhetoric has ratcheted up over the course of the continuing oil leak – and as BP’s stock price has continued to slide – more British voices have sounded alarms over what they consider to be growing anti-British sentiment in the White House.

In this environment, both leaders need to be politically agile, some transatlantic experts say.

Holding emotions in check

“This is a relationship with a plate of issues that’s already running over, with everything from Afghanistan and plans for British defense cuts to financial regulation,” says Heather Conley at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington. “You don’t want this disaster and its implications to become a distraction, but that can happen if some of the emotions aren’t held in check.”

“As the pictures and reports of the impact [of the leak] pour in, it’s going to be all the more difficult for Obama to keep things on an even keel,” she adds.

The most alarmist remarks emanated from London’s city hall, where Mayor Boris Johnson cited as a “matter of national concern” the “anti-British rhetoric that seems to be permeating from America.”

“When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great British company is being continually beaten up,” said Mr. Johnson, a member of Cameron’s Conservative party

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