In This Review

When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations During the Suez and Falkland Crises
When Allies Differ: Anglo-American Relations During the Suez and Falkland Crises
By Louise Richardson
St. Martin’s Press, 1996, 278 pp.

A gem, and a worthy successor to Richard Neustadt’s Alliance Politics. The author gives not only thoroughly researched accounts of Suez and the Falklands, but also an impeccable analysis of what led to a breakdown of the Anglo-American special relationship in the first crisis and a high degree of cooperation in the second. This is political science at its best, and a sharp eye and dry wit add to the reader’s pleasure. In the comedy (or tragedy) of errors that was Suez, American anticolonialism and Eisenhower’s determination not to be dragged against his will into a course he did not approve, by an ally who had kept the United States in the dark, were the decisive reasons for the temporary conflict. In the Falklands, by contrast, the links between the Pentagon and the British military services, which Eisenhower had not permitted to prevail in Suez, provided the British with the support they needed. The author also emphasizes personalities: ‘Resolution was to be the secret of Thatcher’s success; . . . Conversely, Eden’s lack of resolution was to cause his downfall.’ This is a splendid contribution to understanding of the difficulties of alliance management, especially between states with uneven power and allies whose very closeness may breed misunderstandings and mistaken assumptions just as serious as those among states that know one another too little.