Foreign Policy and Defence under Wilson

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Foreign Policy and Defence under Wilson
War in Vietnam 196375
The USA became involved in the civil war in Vietnam in an attempt to stop
the spread of communism
Despite huge American pressure Wilson never sent troops to the conflict,
as most western, anti soviet countries did
Yet throughout the conflict Wilson gave the US their diplomatic backing
Wilson was roundly criticised as the war was hugely divisive and hated in
Britain
Huge riots outside the US embassy in London '68, the height of the
Vietnam war
Keeping British soldiers out of Vietnam had to go down very much in the
plus box when assessing Wilson's government
End of Britain's `East of Suez' role
People did praise Wilson for scaling back British military commitments
east of the Suez canal
Troops were withdrawn from all British bases in Asia and the middle east
by `71
Americans felt that they needed more troops so were angered when they
heard that British troops were leaving
But Britain could not afford the troops and had learned lessons of Suez in
'56 that she could not be a world policeman
Granted independence to her colonies
Nuclear power= Britain could still maintain her role in the world
Issues were linked with the necessity to reduce defence spending and
was carried out by Healy, the defence secretary who ensured that
defence spending dropped from 6% to 4% of the GDP by 1971

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