x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Reagan & Thatcher: The myth of the 'special relationship'

Richard Aldous claims the "special relationship" between the two world leaders was an illusion.

Reagan and Thatcher
Richard Aldous
Hutchinson
Dh98
Reagan and Thatcher Richard Aldous Hutchinson Dh98

When Ronnie first met Maggie, they found a rapport to complement their mutual free market zeal.

However, Richard Aldous claims the "special relationship" between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher was an illusion and their political pillow talk was often fraught with discord and deception.

In fact, like a couple in a B movie (of which Reagan had plenty of experience), the US president and British prime minister frequently fell out, made up and fell out again. Indeed, behind the love-ins at G7 summits, the two repeatedly clashed over defence and foreign policy.

Aldous's book highlights this most tellingly in its chapters on the Falklands and Grenada. When Argentina invaded, Reagan wanted Thatcher to pursue a diplomatic solution. She rebuffed him and took the islands back. When the US invaded Grenada, Thatcher opposed it, but Reagan went in with all guns blazing.

All of this may now be history, but the legacy of both leaders continues to engage the political imagination of their successors, and Aldous lifts the lid on their relationship in this very readable work.