A special relationship?

British foreign policy in the era of American hegemony

Author:
Simon Tate
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This book intends to fill an important gap in the body of research on the special relationship by exploring it from the perspective of post-war British governments, asking: how have they perceived the special relationship? How have they perceived and performed their foreign policy role within it? And have they viewed this role as being successful? Looking beyond the rhetoric of Churchill's Fulton speech and the innate cultural and historical ties between the British and Americans, the book demonstrates how the 'special relationship' that emerged between the two governments at this time was in fact the product of hard-nosed geopolitical brinkmanship, during a period of Anglo-American power struggles. It concludes that since its conception the special relationship has never quite been the alliance that the Churchill government hoped to create and that the tensions it caused between governments in Britain, America, Europe and the Commonwealth represent the genesis of themes that run as leitmotivs throughout post-war British foreign policy. This leads us onto the book's second aim, which is to show how at key moments of post-war international crisis successive British governments have attempted to perform the same active foreign policy role within the special relationship that Churchill's government defined in 1945. The book provides counterbalance to the prevailing view in academia that post-war British governments have accepted their declining status and influence in the special relationship since 1945, and that the rate of this decline accelerated markedly following the events of the Suez crisis in the late 1950s.

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