8.5.4        British Military Support for America as an Ally

(This is an archived extract from the book Patterns of Power: Edition 2)

Britain is a loyal ally of America and this contributed to the British decision to support the invasion: Conservative MP Andrew Lansley made the point that “the only result” of failing to support America “would be for the American Government to go it alone, knocking away the last remaining central pillar of British foreign policy”.[1]

It is probably not true, though, that the alliance would have suffered unduly if Britain had decided not to join America in the invasion of Iraq.  Tony Blair could have chosen to stand aside, as Harold Wilson had done in the Vietnam War, but he chose to be involved.

The military arguments for and against the invasion of Iraq were the same for Britain as for America (8.4.1), though Britain cannot realistically 'go it alone' when confronting major security risks.

© PatternsofPower.org, 2014

[1] In the Parliamentary debate on the decision to invade Iraq, on 18 March 2003, Andrew Lansley argued for the need to support America as an ally.  The official Hansard record of this speech was available in April 2014 at http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/vo030318/debtext/30318-44.htm (column 893).