President Obama, like Paddy Ashdown on BBC Question Time, seems to be rather wide of the mark in his recollection of WW2 history. The US intervention in the war was not motivated by concern for Britain’s welfare, as Churchill found out to his cost.
As Britain bore the burden of fighting for the freedom of Europe, in spite of Churchill’s passionate pleas, President Roosevelt steadily refused to get involved. It is only when American asses were in danger that Roosevelt developed a conscience. The Japanese, I seem to recall, bombed Pearl Harbour.
When Britain was in dire financial need because of the war, the Americans also helped out – but charged us top dollar. We were desperate and on our uppers, but they bled us dry. So exorbitant was the cost of the loans, we only finished paying them off under Gordon Brown.
The words of Roosevelt above, prove how seriously the Americans cherish democracy. They would never let their laws be superceded by those of another country, they would rather die, in fact they went to war to prevent that happening. As always, the special relationship is totally based on pure self interest.