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New PDF release: British Defence Policy: Striking the Right Balance

By John Baylis

This learn of British defence coverage argues "one-off" defence evaluation isn't sufficient yet a standard technique of defece experiences each 5 years offer a long term strategic course which, the writer continues, is missing at present.

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Harold Wilson applied again (unsuccessfully) in 1967 at a time when his government was undertaking a major defence review which resulted in British troops being withdrawn from east of Suez and greater concentration being given to European defence. As a result, the global security partnership which had previously been such an important part of the 'special relationship' was irretrievably weakened just when the United States sought British assistance in the Vietnam War. Symbolically the Prime Minister also chose to talk of the 'close' rather than the 'special' relationship with the United States.

7 The McMahon Act of 1946 which cut off nuclear cooperation with Great Britain was a major setback to the Labour government of the day. Attlee and Bevin expected the United States to honour the wartime agreements, made at Quebec in 1943 and Hyde Park in 1944, which promised to continue the nuclear cooperation between the two countries established in the wartime Manhattan project into the post-war period. Roosevelt's death, a lack of awareness of the secret wartime agreements in the new Truman administration, and the perception in Congress that nuclear weapons were 'a sacred trust', all contributed to the post-war legislation to preserve an American nuclear monopoly.

Maritime forces designed to help defend the Channel and the Eastern Atlantic can also be used to promote and protect British (and Western) interests outside the European theatre. In an important sense, part of the controversy between land-air and sea-air contributions to European defence has focused on the wider question of intervention capabilities for national and alliance purposes outside the European theatre. Many of the studies of post-war British foreign and defence policy have focused on what is described as the illusion of Great Power status.

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