Posted by Ivan Rendall on Saturday, 20 July 2015 in Blogging
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Up to 8th May 2015, DC held BO at bay with the terrifying thought that pressure to revisit the bombing of Syria might easily finish up with BO having to deal with EM as PM which kept the heat down. It appears the time for that promise to be redeemed has arrived.
I am old enough to just remember LBJ asking Harold Wilson for troops for Vietnam. LBJ was his usual, insensitive self, it was just as the British Empire was collapsing about Wilson’s ears and just after US pressure on UK over Suez in 1956 which had humiliated us. Wilson had a nil or tiny majority at the time and said: No!
It was reported at the time that LBJ said all he wanted was a “company of the Black Watch.”
As we know, Wilson still said no, it wasn’t the numbers it was the principle. Maybe, just maybe, Wilson had some kind of inkling that despite 500,000 men on the ground and in the air in Vietnam, the project was doomed as Pte Frazer would say.
LBJ, and JFK before him, were fighting yesterday’s war, trying to build a lop-sided coalition for a war that “they could not lose.” It took a decade but lose it the Americans did.
Suez was the watershed: Britain and France, having been humiliated by Eisenhower, went in very different directions: France recoiled from the US and NATO; Britain clung to nurse. But even then, Wilson said no.
DC’s speeches and TV appearances at the moment seem to be setting the tone for UK foreign and defence policy for the foreseeable future and it seems we are jumping on America’s bandwagon without thinking it through, and if we do, heaven forbid, send troops for another ground war, as per Lord Richards entreaty, will we have any left over for NATO/Eastern Europe/Putin?
Is the DC/BO relationship Johnson/Wilson or Bush/Blair or a bit of both.
It is certainly not Reagan/Thatcher, when US helped UK over Falklands.
Security does and will always start at home.