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Jonathan Colman

The months May-December 1965 saw several developments in the Harold Wilson-Lyndon B. Johnson relationship. The White House feared, in the light of London's ongoing Defence Review, that economic troubles might compel the Wilson government to reduce its military commitments East of Suez, leaving the United States as the only world policeman. Wilson wanted to reduce the cost of Britain's defence commitments, but he still supported the idea that Britain should continue to play a global role. The documentary record contains few of President Johnson's direct comments about a bargain with Wilson. The measures of the United States to try to ease its own, substantial balance of payments deficit compounded British economic difficulties. A Foreign Office analysis from June 1965 examined the Vietnam War in the context of the Anglo-American relationship. On 25 and 28 June respectively, China and North Vietnam dismissed the Commonwealth Peace Mission.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Jonathan Colman

Labour's handling of the British economic crisis occasioned a great deal of concern on the part of the President, given the possibility that sterling might have to be devalued or that any rise in the Bank of England lending rate could precipitate a run on the dollar. There was also concern about the multilateral force (MLF), a matter due to be discussed at the planned summit meeting in Washington early in December. President Lyndon B. Johnson had never feared a Labour victory in Britain, but he felt it necessary to ease any concern in the world at large (especially in financial markets) about the British 'socialists' entering office. Britain's role in the world would depend in large part on the country's economic health. Some of Harold Wilson's colleagues disdained his efforts to gain American help for Britain's economic problems.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Explaining foreign policy variation
Raymond Hinnebusch

This chapter uses comparative analysis to elucidate how the interaction between the system level and particular state formation paths shapes similarities and differences in states' international behaviour. What explains the similarities and differences in the foreign policy behaviour of Middle East states? As this chapter shows, neither state features nor systemic forces alone have an impact on foreign policy but the interrelation between a state's specific position in systemic structures and its particular internal features determines its foreign policy behaviour. The level of consolidation determines whether a state remains a victim of its systemic environment or becomes an effective actor in it. Finally, leadership, by virtue of its location at the intersection of the systemic and the domestic, can make choices that set states on new tangents.

in The international politics of the Middle East
Open Access (free)
Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson: a ‘special relationship’?
Jonathan Colman

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.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Open Access (free)
Germany, the use of force and the power of strategic culture
Kerry Longhurst

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.

in Germany and the use of force
Open Access (free)
The international system and the Middle East
Raymond Hinnebusch

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.

in The international politics of the Middle East
Jonathan Colman

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.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Henrik Larsen

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 Rethinking European Union Foreign Policy
Jonathan Colman

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'.

in A ‘special relationship’?
Kerry Longhurst

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.

in Germany and the use of force