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Thatcher-In-Rhodesia

Callan

Racist name by the way,
Published by SLP
Location
Toronto
I was reading a book about the Charles Haughey Ministry of ‘81 and it observed in passing that there was a real Nixon-in-China element to the Lancaster House Agreement and the negotiations that led to the Anglo-Irish Agreement in that a more moderate figure would’ve lacked the credibility and political capital with backbench hardliners to effectively pursue them in the way Thatcher was able to.

Given Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher is so easily butterflied away, what are the effects of a more moderate (or potentially more right wing figure) coming to power about the same time and be facing these same issues?
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
I think replacing Thatcher wouldn't change Lancaster except in minor details - there was already the internal settlement and reform as Rhodesia-Zimbabwe before she came in, and everyone wanted peace. The Anglo-Irish Agreement, that one probably does need either a strong Tory PM to keep their MPs under control or a strong Tory leader-in-opposition who also backs it (so everyone knows the potential next government won't throw it in the bin)
 

Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
I honestly don't know enough about this issue to comment in depth but I think an overlooked divergence on Rhodesia is an earlier Reagan or New Right presidency, particularly in tandem with the baleful foreign policy influence of Helms in the senate. Helms tried to interfere in Lancaster House IOTL and I'm pretty sure Reagan made some pro-Rhodesia noises in 76.

There's probably a possibility of some kind of Nicaragua-like disaster if the extremes of US Cold War foreign policy mixes with political sympathy of the Republican right.
 

Sulemain

Brush NOT Benzo
Location
Coventry
A lot (I'd argue the majority) of what happened to Southern Rhodesia in the late 70s was a result of local isolation brought about by the collapse of the Portuguese Empire and Apartheid South Africa deciding, for the moment, to pursue a more conciliatory policy with the Majority-Ruled states. The Internal Settlement was after 14 years of bloody war, and even that left the white minority with massively disproportionate power & influence. The LHA was a result of that not working, it didn't work because as has been discussed, the rest of the world thought it to be illegitimate. A more right wing American government in the 70s might be able to go along with the Internal Settlement, but at the cost of massively damaging it's relations with the rest of Africa.

And Britain for that matter.
 

Blackadder Mk2

Well-known member
The Anglo-Irish Agreement point is interesting since it did lead to Gow's resignation and I think even David Owen noted that it might've been too generous. Certainly get the sense Thatcher had her doubts the moment after signing it, although this was post-resignation Thatcher so a lot of stuff probably to her looked rigged in hindsight.

I honestly don't know enough about this issue to comment in depth but I think an overlooked divergence on Rhodesia is an earlier Reagan or New Right presidency, particularly in tandem with the baleful foreign policy influence of Helms in the senate. Helms tried to interfere in Lancaster House IOTL and I'm pretty sure Reagan made some pro-Rhodesia noises in 76.

There's probably a possibility of some kind of Nicaragua-like disaster if the extremes of US Cold War foreign policy mixes with political sympathy of the Republican right.
Thatcher, IIRC, was rather happy with the Smith-Murozewa Internal Settlement and had to be convinced (or pressured depending on how you see it) by Carrington into going along with the US and UN to push for Lancaster House. If you have Reagan in the White House instead of Carter, you might get Thatcher thinking about backing the Internal Settlement, but like you I don't know enough to give a real informed opinion.
 

Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
The Anglo-Irish Agreement point is interesting since it did lead to Gow's resignation and I think even David Owen noted that it might've been too generous. Certainly get the sense Thatcher had her doubts the moment after signing it, although this was post-resignation Thatcher so a lot of stuff probably to her looked rigged in hindsight.
She also had another similar sudden realisation about the Single European Act. I think Gilmour noting that there was more of a fuss about the Anglo-Irish Agreement than that despite them both going though at about the same time is pretty amazing in retrospect. Bill Cash voted for the SEA!
 

Beata Beatrix

Herod Agrippa was cancelled by an owl
Location
Portland, OR
Pronouns
she/her/hers
I honestly don't know enough about this issue to comment in depth but I think an overlooked divergence on Rhodesia is an earlier Reagan or New Right presidency, particularly in tandem with the baleful foreign policy influence of Helms in the senate. Helms tried to interfere in Lancaster House IOTL and I'm pretty sure Reagan made some pro-Rhodesia noises in 76.

There's probably a possibility of some kind of Nicaragua-like disaster if the extremes of US Cold War foreign policy mixes with political sympathy of the Republican right.
I’ve been sure for ages that Ronnie was pro-Rhodie, but - and you probably know more about this than I do and can recontextualize it - Reagan seems to have run into a slight bit of hot water on the campaign trail by stating - presumably as gaffe-fueled course direction - that he might send troops to Rhodesia. Still, for all that, I can easily see a scandal where Reagan sells arms to Ian Smith which helps doom Reagan’s chances for reelection.
 
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Elektronaut

Opinions from the Student Union
I’ve been sure for ages that Ronnie was pro-Rhodie, but - and you probably know more about this than I do and can recontextualize it - Reagan seems to have run into a slight bit of hot water on the campaign trail by stating - presumably as gaffe-fueled course direction - that he might send troops to Rhodesia. Still, for all that, I can easily see a scandal where Reagan sells arms to Ian Smith which helps doom Reagan’s chances for reelection.
I really don't know anything more about it than you note, as this is at the limits of my knowledge, but from what Reagan said in the flap you note, it does sound like there was some kind of mindfulness of the Rhodesia situation and some kind of appetite for intervention. 'They are fighting them well' was what IIRC Reagan said about the government versus the guerrillas. I don't want to suggest it would have been another Vietnam - Reagan was actually quite cautious about the possibility of another Vietnam and direct interventions, so to that extent what he said is a little out of character - but it sounds rather like this was being contextualised in Cold War terms in the Gipper's circle. As such a Nicaragua-style misfortune raises itself to me, but beyond that I can't say.
 

Burton K Wheeler

The G.O.A.T. That Can't Be Got
Location
Tr'ondëk
I really don't know anything more about it than you note, as this is at the limits of my knowledge, but from what Reagan said in the flap you note, it does sound like there was some kind of mindfulness of the Rhodesia situation and some kind of appetite for intervention. 'They are fighting them well' was what IIRC Reagan said about the government versus the guerrillas. I don't want to suggest it would have been another Vietnam - Reagan was actually quite cautious about the possibility of another Vietnam and direct interventions, so to that extent what he said is a little out of character - but it sounds rather like this was being contextualised in Cold War terms in the Gipper's circle. As such a Nicaragua-style misfortune raises itself to me, but beyond that I can't say.
This is "I read it on a bubblegum card" level of sourcing, but I can think of several pieces of post-Vietnam pop culture ephemera which suggested U.S. troops, or at least a U.S.-led guerrilla war effort against Communism, in southern Africa. I think this was overshadowed in the popular consciousness by the actual U.S.-led guerrilla wars in Central America. That is to say, it was definitely on the table and being considered, if not by people who were actually making decisions.

A U.S. that withdrew from Vietnam earlier for whatever reason or that was taken over by the far right before 1980 would almost certainly be involved in southern Africa to some degree.
 

napoleon IV

Cowboys. Acceptable.
Location
Washington, Douglass Commonwealth
Pronouns
he/him
This is "I read it on a bubblegum card" level of sourcing, but I can think of several pieces of post-Vietnam pop culture ephemera which suggested U.S. troops, or at least a U.S.-led guerrilla war effort against Communism, in southern Africa. I think this was overshadowed in the popular consciousness by the actual U.S.-led guerrilla wars in Central America. That is to say, it was definitely on the table and being considered, if not by people who were actually making decisions.

A U.S. that withdrew from Vietnam earlier for whatever reason or that was taken over by the far right before 1980 would almost certainly be involved in southern Africa to some degree.
The US sent aid to UNITA and the FNLA in Angola in their fight against the Communist government from 1975-1976, but was forced to stop after Congress passed a bill banning aid to paramilitary groups in Angola (however Israel became a proxy supplier so the US was able to keep some skin in the game).
 

Oppo

Erik Ƭ̵̬̊
Pronouns
he/him
The US sent aid to UNITA and the FNLA in Angola in their fight against the Communist government from 1975-1976, but was forced to stop after Congress passed a bill banning aid to paramilitary groups in Angola (however Israel became a proxy supplier so the US was able to keep some skin in the game).
Quite a few mercenaries went to Angola, four of which were executed by the MPLA government in 1976. This article from the Washington Post from 1983 describes the mercenaries living a "romantic" lifestyle killing communists.
 

Sulemain

Brush NOT Benzo
Location
Coventry
Quite a few mercenaries went to Angola, four of which were executed by the MPLA government in 1976. This article from the Washington Post from 1983 describes the mercenaries living a "romantic" lifestyle killing communists.
The Rhodesians propagandised their struggle as one as "civilisation vs communism", for which we can read "white vs black". One common thread of Southern Rhodesian rhetoric, and this was internal amongst the white community as much as it was international propaganda, was the black majority was docile and timid, only being agitated by foreigners. It's part of the reason the Internal Settlement took the form it did; white rule depended on maintaining the falsehood that the black majority was a) okay with it and b) incapable of governing themselves. And that stretched all the way back to the beginning of colonial rule, in BSAC days.
 

Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
While this is a fascinating topic in its own right, I can't help thinking that the thread title is writing cheques that the discussion doesn't (and can't) cash.
That's got me wondering now, and here's one: frustrated and unmarried science graduate Margaret Roberts emigrates to Rhodesia to join the newly built University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland as a researcher/tutor - here she can get in the ground floor. She only means to be there for a bit before returning to the UK with a better CV and getting new jobs, but life and her ambition mean she's still there come 1965 and UDI...
 

Francisco Cojuanco

Sometime traitor to his class
Location
Arizona
That's got me wondering now, and here's one: frustrated and unmarried science graduate Margaret Roberts emigrates to Rhodesia to join the newly built University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland as a researcher/tutor - here she can get in the ground floor. She only means to be there for a bit before returning to the UK with a better CV and getting new jobs, but life and her ambition mean she's still there come 1965 and UDI...
That would get really, really complicated really, really quickly. For UCRN had a complicated relationship with both the UDI Government and black nationalism; for example, while it was one of the few major institutions that admitted persons on a race-blind basis (whuch infuriated the Government), IIRC it segregated student housing, which infuriated the nationalists.

Then there's the fact that Maggie might be seen as a fish out of water - Rhodesia tended to actively seek for immigration, basically Shire Tories. Maggie would be basically alienated from both the black majority and the white minority.
 

Francisco Cojuanco

Sometime traitor to his class
Location
Arizona
Oh man, this makes me want to see it even MORE
I doubt this alt-Maggie would have an easy time of entering politics by any means - black circles would exclude her for being obviously white, white conservatives would see her as Not One of Us, and white liberals are either keeping quiet, subject to official harassment, Ahrn Palley, or exiled to Oz or NZ.
 
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