Ahead of the U.S. President's visit in Europe a lot has been said about the implications of the trip on the U.S-E.U. relationship. What seems to be a little bit confusing is however whether it is the President who hopes to reassure his counterparts on the strength and importance of their relationship or whether his counter-parts expect him to do so.
The first and most talked about relationship in the last few days is of course the U.S. leader's personal relationship with Ireland. In the first part of his mandate much light on the African origins of the leader was shed as it represented for African Americans a real indication that ethnic minorities could aspire and succeed in accessing the most important positions in the country.
In Africa the election also had a big impact, with the Kenyan government even decreeing an official holiday called Obama day. With his Irish origins now taking the centre stage Obama enters a long line of previous American presidents. The first leader on the list dates back to 1829 and was called Andrew Jackson. More recently, John Kennedy, Ronald Regan, Bill Clinton and George Bush are also said to share Irish ancestors.
After he managed to rekindle his special personal relationship with Ireland, Obama directly headed to London, which was needed as U.K. commentators seemed rather envious of Obama's new 'special' friend.
One might not be worried however as in an interview with Andrew Marr from the BBC, transmitted over the week-end, the President himself gushed about the kindness of the Queen who he says embodies 'the best of England'.
"They are extraordinarily gracious people. They could not have been kinder to us. I met Her Majesty, the Queen and the entire Royal Family the last time I was, the first time I was in England. In April of 2008. And then, Michelle and the girls actually visited London again and went to Buckingham Palace. She could not have been more charming and gracious to the girls."
The relationship between the U.S. and the U.K. however is much older and complicated than the one between the leader and the Queen. The referral of the countries mutual relationship as 'special' can be traced back toa phrase used to describe the exceptionally close political, diplomatic, cultural, economic, military and historical relationship in a 1946 speech by former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Since then, although both the United Kingdom and United States have close relationships with many other nations, the level of cooperation between them in economic activity, trade and commerce, military planning, execution of military operations, nuclear weapons technology and intelligence sharing is perceived as a unique one.
However, coming back to Obama, while in his first two years in office he concentrated on Europe mainly due to the global economic downturn and the collective effort that ensued to resolve it, as he enters the second half of his term, security in South Asia and the situation in the Middle East and North Africa have now replaced the economy.
With an agenda already filled by recent international developments, what will David Cameron and Obama discuss when they meet in London, and what parts of their countries' relationship will they be able to discuss?
For many analysts, the main purpose of the meetings in London might be to smooth over recent rough issues that the U.K and the U.S have had to face such as the Obama administration blaming Britain for last year's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Disagreements today did not however appear to be on the list as the U.S. President and the British Prime Minister reaffirmed the ties between the two countries at the start of the American President's state visit on Tuesday, calling the relationship "essential" adding that their countries' relationship as one that makes the world more secure and more prosperous.
"Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship - for us and for the world," the two leaders wrote in a joint editorial in Tuesday's edition of the British newspaper the Times.
Cameron and Obama met briefly today at around 3:30 p.m. though their most substantial talks will come on Wednesday , with Afghanistan, Libya and the global economy all on the agenda.
"Yes, (the U.S.-U.K. relationship) is founded on a deep emotional connection, by sentiment and ties of people and culture. But the reason it thrives, the reason why this is such a natural partnership, is because it advances our common interests and shared values," the leaders wrote. "It is a perfect alignment of what we both need and what we both believe."
In the Times article, Obama and Cameron also reiterated their stated commitment to pro-democracy movements sweeping the Middle East and North Africa.
"We will not stand by as their aspirations get crushed in a hail of bombs, bullets and mortar fire," the leaders wrote.
"We see the prospect of democracy and universal rights taking hold in the Arab world, and it fills us with confidence and a renewed commitment to an alliance based not just on interests but on values," they added.
Despite this demonstration of unity and their insistence on a mutually shared vision, the two countries don't always agree on every issue especially when it comes to talks on national security and foreign policy.
Recently, the NATO-led bombing campaign in Libya has proven quite a tender subject. While the U.S. rhetorically fully backed the intervention, they also shied away from getting too involved physically. As the campaign's rhythm is accelerating, it concomitantly is becoming more controversial and some British lawmakers have expressed concern that European countries, including Britain, were unfairly left to deal with the consequences and implications of the operation.
For others Obama's mission, in part, is to reassure Britain and the rest of Europe that traditional U.S. allies still have a central role in a U.S. foreign policy that has become increasingly focused on Asia and other emerging markets.
Talking about the trip, Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies said "I think this is, in part, a way to bring back the special bonds of this relationship,"
Interestingly, Obama's strategy used to reassure his fellow European leaders of the solidity and importance of their friendship could prove insanely clever if, as it appears to be, he, throughout his visit, he tries to convince them that in his administration, although European states are not seen as a focus for policy they are considered as partners who can help, (as long as they do not stray too far away from the agreed line of conduct) change the world.