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Drawing on a host of recently declassified documents from the Reagan-Thatcher years, A Diplomatic Meeting: Reagan, Thatcher, and the Art of Summitry provides an innovative framework for understanding the development and nature of the special relationship between British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and American president Ronald Reagan, who were known as "political soulmates." James Cooper boldly challenges the popular conflation of the leaders' platforms, and proposes that Reagan and Thatcher's summitry highlighted unique features of domestic policy in their respective countries. Summits, therefore, were a significant opportunity for the two world leaders to further their own domestic agendas. Cooper uses the relationship between Reagan and Thatcher to demonstrate that summitry politics transcended any distinction between foreign policy and domestic politics—a major objective of Reagan and Thatcher as they sought to consolidate power and implement their domestic economic programs in a parallel quest to reverse notions of their countries' "decline."
This unique and significant study about the making of the Reagan-Thatcher relationship uses their key meetings as an avenue to explore the fluidity between the domestic and international spheres, a perspective that is underappreciated in existing interpretations of the leaders' relationship and Anglo-American relations and, more broadly, in the field of international affairs.