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Anglo-American Defence Relations and the Government of Gordon Brown

GANNON, PHILIP,RICHARD (2015) Anglo-American Defence Relations and the Government of Gordon Brown. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis intends to promote two key original contributions to the field of International Relations. One element of this thesis is to engage the body of work on Anglo-American relations with a set of International Relations theories in order to develop the understandings of the concept of the Special Relationship. By using the work of Alliance Theory and the English School’s notion of International Society, this thesis presents a lucid model for analysing Britain and America’s security partnerships. With this model in place, this thesis explores one of the most recent periods of the relationship by investigating the government of Gordon Brown.

This thesis uses this International Relations theoretical approach to explore Anglo-American relations in the Brown period by investigating the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These conflicts were representative of the UK-US partnership and went through significant developments in the period between 2007 and 2010. In the case of Iraq, the Brown period saw the end of British combat operations and responsibility for parts of the country being handed back to the Iraqis. While these developments took place, attention returned to the war in Afghanistan and this period saw the emergence of serious problems in the conduct of the war. In this thesis, both of these conflicts are inspected by examining corresponding themes to demonstrate the working relationship between Britain and America. Equipment matters, troop power, military strategy and alliance relations are the four main grounds in which the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are investigated to determine the success of the Anglo-American partnership under Gordon Brown.

The findings of this thesis suggest that the Brown period saw the beginning of the deconstruction of the UK-US alliance as the goals of the alliance had failed to be achieved. Largely due to the British military’s inability to conduct both wars simultaneously to the standard needed for success, her credibility as a reliable partner to the US was diminished. Brown himself was criticised for limiting the capabilities of the armed forces to operate effectively. However, Brown remained a strong supporter of the US in the War on Terror and did aim to provide important contributions to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Despite the failings of the alliance the theoretical approach to understanding the Special Relationship has proven to be an effective way to examine the nature of British and American interaction.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Special Relationship, Gordon Brown, Iraq War, Afghanistan War
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Government and International Affairs, School of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:25 Feb 2015 08:47

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