Christopher Meyer

Christopher Meyer is the former British ambassador to Washington.

The Special Relationship was never very special

I have a book of essays from 1986 by a group of British and American scholars called The Special Relationship. The editor, Professor Roger Louis, was advised to give it another title. The director of Chatham House, the late David Watt no less, called it ‘rhetorical nonsense’. Yet, as Louis noted: The ‘Special Relationship’ would

Dear Boris: what happens if Trump doesn’t accept defeat?

Dear Prime Minister, You already have quite enough on your plate. So forgive me if I hoist a storm cone over another potential problem. I refer to the US presidential election on 3 November and the possibility of its ending in deadlock and confusion. I was the British ambassador to Washington during the Bush/Gore election

Where are the Henry Kissingers when we need them?

It was not until I went to Harvard in 1988 to take a year out from the Foreign Office that I came to realise how riven by ideology the world of US foreign policy had become. For 20 years I had been moulded by the resolute pragmatism of British diplomacy. My American sabbatical threw open

Rats in the ballroom

At first blush this looks like one of those run-of-the-mill coffee-table books published just for the Christmas market — expensively produced, replete with beautiful photographs, a text as undemanding as the tinkling notes of a cocktail-bar pianist, and the whole thing massively heavy. It is a beautiful — and heavy — book, with fine photographs

Double speak

Tom Fletcher, a young star of the Foreign Office, made his reputation last year when he blogged his ‘valedictory despatch’ from Beirut, where he had served as ambassador for several years. From time immemorial ambassadors had written these despatches on quitting their posts. It was the occasion to spread your diplomatic wings with candid observations

A peacekeeping body at war with itself

It takes less than an hour to fly from Washington DC to New York City. But, if you are a diplomat, you might as well be travelling to a distant planet, such is the gulf in diplomatic culture between America’s capital and the United Nations’ headquarters. Whenever I went to see my opposite number at

Show us the money

In 2002, a few months before the invasion of Iraq, I was invited to speak at the James Baker III Institute for Public Policy in Houston, Texas. I had a meeting with Baker, one of America’s best post-1945 secretaries of state, who served under his friend George H.W. Bush. Together, they drove Saddam Hussein out

Taking the long view

While Tony Blair emerged from his memoirs as a chameleon of many colours, there is only one George W. Bush in Decision Points. The book reads like the man speaks. If it has been ghosted — and Bush gives thanks to a multitude of helpers — it has been done with consummate skill to preserve

Sir Christopher Meyer reviews George Bush’s memoirs

Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to the United States, has reviewed George Bush’s biography for the latest issue of The Spectator. We’ve pasted his entire review below, for readers of our Book Blog. Taking the long view, Christopher Meyer, The Spectator, 20 November 2010 While Tony Blair emerged from his memoirs as a

Only good news will do

There is a startling passage in this book. It recounts an intimate moment (among many, it should be said) between the President of the United States, George W. Bush, and his Secretary of State and long-time adviser, Condoleezza Rice. They are sitting on the porch of Bush’s Texas ranch. It is December 2006 and, after