chapter  1
26 Pages

Is there a ‘strategic culture’ of the special relationship? Contingency, identity, and the transformation of Anglo-American relations


For more than a decade the concept of ‘strategic culture’ has been gaining traction among political scientists and other students of International Relations (IR), by whom it has been embraced in the hope that it will advance knowledge in whatever particular subject area they fi nd of interest. Thus it can come as no surprise that the concept should also be conscripted for service in the analysis of what surely ranks as one of the more signifi cant subject areas in modern IR, namely that strategic dispensation we refer to as the Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, sometimes alternatively known simply as ‘Anglo-America’, occasionally even as the ‘Anglosphere’.1 By whatever label it is known, the topic of this volume represents an aspect of interstate cooperation that transcends the ‘normal’ bounds of diplomatic conduct in the international anarchy, and does so in a way that can even, at the extreme, call into question conventional assumptions of how allegedly self-regarding states do (or should) act in that anarchical environment.