Absolutely, although I would add the caveat that shared language, history and a mutual dominant cultural inheritence do matter more than a little. Other than that, the relationship is only special because both sides strive to keep it that way. My only personal reading is that it has cooled considerably in the last couple of years, and I’m afraid the start was Obama’s assorted snubs (returning Churchill’s bust, handing crappy presents to Gordon Brown and the Queen, foisting Guantanamo prisoners on Bermuda without so much as a by your leave, and most tellingly, sucking up to the French). The Brits have retaliated with snubs of their own (no invite to M&O for the Royal wedding for example, and pointedly courting India as a new “special friend”). This is not a good trend. The UK may not be America’s closest ally, or its most important, but it is certainly the most important (and powerful) of its close allies.