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Cameron-Obama: A UK-US special relationship forged in syllables?

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Between American and Britain there now exists a "harmonic convergence in the rhyming scheme of the names," Mark Blyth, a professor of political economy at Brown University, says sarcastically.

“It’s totally random,” he adds. “I’m not signing up to the new school of political analysis based upon syllables.”

And no one is suggesting that this is what Churchill meant when he started using the term.

“We should not abandon our special relationship with the United States and Canada about the atomic bomb and we should aid the United States to guard this weapon as a sacred trust for the maintenance of peace,” Churchill said in November 1945.

He used the phrase again in March 1946, more famously, in his so-called "Iron Curtain" speech in Missouri, saying: "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. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States."

As Churchill said those words, Harry Truman’s presidency was coinciding with the UK leadership of Clement Attlee (and then Churchill), marking eight years of a two-syllable leadership on both sides of the Atlantic. The three-syllable (John F.) Kennedy presidency coincided with the (Harold) Macmillan and (Alec) Douglas-Home premierships.

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