Ian Fleming
Ian Fleming

Anglo-American relations

The Bond novels also dealt with the question of Anglo-American relations, reflecting the central role of the US in the defence of the West.[186] In the aftermath of the Second World War, tensions surfaced between a British government trying to retain its empire and the American desire for a capitalist new world order, but Fleming did not focus on this directly, instead creating "an impression of the normality of British imperial rule and action".[170] Author and journalist Christopher Hitchens observed that "the central paradox of the classic Bond stories is that, although superficially devoted to the Anglo-American war against communism, they are full of contempt and resentment for America and Americans".[187] Although Fleming was aware of this tension between the two countries, he did not focus on it strongly.[170] Kingsley Amis, in his exploration of Bond in The James Bond Dossier, pointed out that "Leiter, such a nonentity as a piece of characterization ... he, the American, takes orders from Bond, the Britisher, and that Bond is constantly doing better than he".[188]

For three of the novels, Goldfinger, Live and Let Die and Dr. No, it is Bond the British agent who has to sort out what turns out to be an American problem,[189] and Black points out that although it is American assets that are under threat in Dr. No, a British agent and a British warship, HMS Narvik, are sent with British soldiers to the island at the end of the novel to settle the matter.[190] Fleming became increasingly jaundiced about America, and his comments in the penultimate novel You Only Live Twice reflect this;[191] Bond's responses to Tanaka's comments reflect the declining relationship between Britain and America—in sharp contrast to the warm, co-operative relationship between Bond and Leiter in the earlier books.[160]

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Ian Fleming