Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson: a ‘special relationship’?
The year or so from late 1967 to the end of 1968 had important implications for the Lyndon B. Johnson-Harold Wilson relationship, as it saw the devaluation of sterling and the demise of the remaining British commitment East of Suez. There has been the suggestion that the Anglo-American 'special relationship' died or at least went into some form of diplomatic hibernation with the end of the John F. Kennedy-Harold Macmillan era in 1963, reemerging with the close personal bonds between Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in the 1980s. Thomas Schwartz has suggested that Johnson and Wilson managed to 'compartmentalise' their relationship, learning to live with their differences over Vietnam in particular and cooperating on issues in which their views coincided. The personal relationship between Wilson and Johnson cannot be described as 'special', although their mutual dealings were unlikely to prosper when British weakness was felt so painfully in Washington.
Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
This chapter addresses the issues and debates that were presented in the previous chapters and studies them in relation to the three main questions posed in the Introduction. The first question is on identification, the second question is on change, and the third question is about behaviour. This chapter concludes that while Germany's strategic culture has not changed since its creation after the Second World War, a more self-assured Germany, in terms of security issues, seems to be emerging.
The nineteenth-century expansion of capitalism and imperialism into the Arab region reflected a combination of superior Western technological, market and military power which penetrated and eventually reduced the Middle East to an economic periphery of the core and imposed a very flawed Western state system on it. External intervention and its often-damaging consequences stimulated an on-going reaction manifested in nationalist and Islamic movements. To many Arabs and Muslims, the struggle with imperialism, far from being mere history, continues, as imperialism reinvents itself in new forms. The Middle East has become the one world region where anti-imperialist nationalism, obsolete elsewhere, remains alive and where an indigenous ideology, Islam, provides a world view still resistant to West-centric globalisation. This dynamic explains much of the international politics of the region.
The period August 1966-September 1967 saw a decline in Harold Wilson's commitment to President Lyndon B. Johnson and to the United States, both personally and in the wider context of British foreign policy. On 21 April, a State Department analysis suggested that Wilson attached 'the highest importance to his relations' with President Johnson 'and to a continuation of a close relationship between our two countries'. However, the phase A-phase B affair had tested Wilson's commitment to the White House. Wilson's odd request was probably designed primarily to bolster his own standing with the White House rather than for any other purpose, because George Brown had never concealed his commitment to Europe, and, of course, Wilson had himself given Brown the post of Foreign Secretary. East of Suez, as well as British economic troubles and Vietnam, would remerge in the next and final phase of Anglo-American relations under Wilson and Johnson.
Social constructivist discourse analysis has, since the early 1990s, become increasingly popular across the social sciences, including international relations. This chapter outlines the possibilities for the use of discourse analysis in the study of European foreign policy. It introduces the main features and assumptions of discourse analysis within the general field of social constructivism, and presents the main implications of discourse analysis for concrete empirical research. The chapter describes the main dimensions of discourse analysis using the categories of Milliken: representation, policy practice and play of practice. It highlights the use, and potential use, of discourse analysis in relation to four different aspects of European Union (EU) foreign policy. They are: is the EU constructed as an actor; as what kind of actor; what kind of values does it draw on; and how are EU foreign policy decision-making procedures constructed? .
In the months January-July 1966 there was particular strain in the relationship between Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson. The Labour government won the general election of 31 March with a comfortable majority of ninety-four, but this margin of victory gave rise to a vigorous 'New Left' within the Labour Party which would bedevil Wilson's commitment to Washington. Wilson's concerns in 1966 about the bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong had little impact on the thinking of the White House. Wilson repeated the statement of dissociation in the House of Commons. There had been forewarnings that British dissociation from US actions in Vietnam would strain the Anglo-American relationship. British problems led Washington to see Britain more and more, as Henry Brandon put it, 'with humiliating sadness - her prestige and her power position have not been so low for a long-long time'.
This chapter studies the practice of conscription, which is a different aspect of security policy that is characterised by non-change. It demonstrates the power of strategic culture to prevent policy change and studies the continuation of compulsory military service in Germany. It also presents evidence on the obvious mis-match between the arguments that support conscription and the changed strategic environment in Germany. This chapter reveals that conscription is considered as an important factor in maintaining aspects of the previous security policy of the Federal Republic.
This chapter seeks to broaden the focus of the analysis from the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) to the much more broadly based concept of European foreign policy. It begins by reflecting upon the limitations of existing theoretical approaches, the pervasive institutionalist approach in particular, which provides a justification for developing a rather different approach. The chapter demonstrates that foreign policy analysis (FPA) can be adapted from its traditional state-centric focus which appears to be inappropriate in an European Union (EU) context. It makes a case for a new theoretical approach to the study of the EU as a global actor based explicitly upon an adapted FPA. The chapter analyses the EU's global role in foreign policy terms by reference to the controversial idea of European foreign policy. It elaborates an FPA framework for analysing European foreign policy.
It is frequently claimed that foreign policy making in Middle East states is either the idiosyncratic product of personalistic dictators or the irrational outcome of domestic instability. This chapter notes that it can only be adequately understood by analysis of the multiple factors common to all states, namely: foreign policy determinants (interests, challenges) to which decision-makers respond when they shape policies; and foreign policy structures and processes which factor the ‘inputs’ made by various actors into a policy addressing these determinants.
From January to April 1965 the character of the Harold Wilson-Lyndon B. Johnson relationship traversed the spectrum from discord to cordiality. Discord erupted over the Vietnam War when Wilson telephoned Washington in the early hours of 11 February to suggest to Johnson an urgent visit to the White House. Wilson agreed to the US initiative, even though the visit might have caused a political storm in Britain had it become public knowledge - it would appear that the United States was dictating British economic measures. Wilson noted that unlike the December summit and the telephone conversation in February, Johnson did not make 'any suggestion of our committing troops to Vietnam nor even any reference to police, medical teams, or teams to handle the flow of refugees'. On 10 April, Patrick Dean advised that to help strengthen the Anglo-American relationship, Britain should provide more support for the United States in Vietnam.