Wednesday, December 22, 2010
American Embassy in London
Although it will be moved shortly from its traditional spot in Grosvernor Square near the Canadian and Mexican Embassies, 9/11 memorial, and Ike statue, I love living close to the American Embassy in Mayfair.
Mind you, I have not actually been inside. I just like the comfort of knowing that, in a way, I am close to home.
As much as I am comforted by this thought, each time I walk by, I am always a bit disturbed by the fact that the men with machine guns who parol the building are British citizens, not American. I know that this is the law (I had the gall to ask the British machine-gun carrying policemen outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy why he was British). I'm guessing that the same is true in other countries (I will have to check Massachusetts Avenue next I am in D.C.), and I admit it makes sense that those with the guns are required to be loyal to the host, not hosted, country.
But it still makes me leery. There is part of me that wants red, white, and blue-spangled blood flowing through the veins of such a critical asset's protectors.
Certainly in an ally's country such as the United Kingdom, it does not really matter. Yet as a matter of principle, is it entirely irrational of me to think that American soldiers or policemen would have better loyalties in service to American embassies?