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5. Dyson, Stephen. "The U.S. / U.K. Alliance in Vietnam and Iraq: Why did Britain Stay out of Vietnam and go into Iraq?" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, Town & Country Resort and Convention Center, San Diego, California, USA, 2006-03-22 Online <APPLICATION/PDF>. 2007-05-10
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Abstract: What accounts for the different outcomes in British decisions in Vietnam (not commit forces), and Iraq (commit forces), despite the similarities in the situations? In both Vietnam and Iraq a U.S. President pressed a Labour Party Prime Minister to commit forces to a war that was unpopular in the U.K. Yet, while Harold Wilson resisted repeated attempts by Lyndon Johnson to secure a commitment of troops, Tony Blair went out of his way to support George W. Bush, despite the domestic political cost. In seeking to account for these differing outcomes, I consider four explanatory variables: structural realism, alliance dynamics, domestic politics, individual characteristics of the Prime Minister.Method: Structured, focused case comparison methodology is used to compare the two episodes in a systematic fashion. These cases are in many ways an ideal pairing given the similarities between the situations yet the divergent outcomes. In order to measure the individual characteristics of the Prime Minister, I employ automated content analysis techniques that process an individual?s verbal output to reveal personality traits.Results: Structural realism fails to account for the difference in outcome between the two cases, as both responses (commit troops, don?t commit troops) can be deduced from a structural perspective. Alliance dynamics explanations are also unsatisfactory. Harold Wilson?s behaviour is contrary to what we would expect from a junior partner, and, while Blair?s choice is more consistent with this approach, the evidence shows that Blair reached the decision on grounds other than a pure calculation of alliance maintenance necessity. Domestic politics, on the other hand, is part of the explanation for the difference in outcome. Wilson was in a much more precarious position than Blair, and hence had to give more attention to the left-wing, anti-war part of the Labour Party than did Blair. However, this is not the whole story, and I find that a convincing account of the different outcomes in these cases requires a consideration of the differences between the Prime Ministers. Blair was a much more ?black and white? thinker than Harold Wilson, making Blair more amenable to the ?good and evil? framing of the situation by the U.S. than the less Manichean Wilson. In addition, Blair had fashioned a closed advisory system which insulated him from the opposition of most of the foreign policy bureaucracy to the war, whereas the Wilson administration operated through more open procedures. Consequently, my conclusion is that a combination of domestic politics and leadership style best accounts for the difference in outcomes in British decision making on Vietnam and Iraq. The paper will be of interest to those working in foreign policy analysis and decision making, the U.S. - U.K. relationship, and alliance dynamics generally.
The military industrial complex in both countries will have to replace all the hardware and devise new hardware for the war.
If you believe the nonsense cited by Blair,the Tories and Co for the war; you then have to believe all the good fortune which came oil's way was just a coincidental bi product of the war and wasn't the main motivating factor for invading Iraq. Regardless of the oil revenues from the Iraq fields, the oil companies will eventually share; the price of oil has been raised from a pre invasion average of $30 per barrel to an average of $60 since.
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