Britain’s fortunes for a special relationship with America are about to witness a sudden change under Donald Trump. How refreshing to finally hear that an American president respects their British allies. For nearly a decade, the special relationship between Britain and America has been broken by a political agent called Barack Obama.
There probably will not be many times the British felt sorry for Gordon Brown during the final days of his premiership, except when Obama presented Brown with 25 DVDs after the latter splashed out on a pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet. Oh to have been a fly on the wall when Brown was presented with this poor gift!
And to make matters worse, Obama removed the bust of Churchill from the Oval Office and replaced it with one of Martin Luther King. Thankfully, Donald Trump has kept to his word and restored it. It is no secret that the relationship between Britain and America has worsened since. But now Trump and our Prime Minister, Theresa May, have a golden opportunity to revive the special relationship.
On Friday, the British and American leaders will meet face-to-face for the first time as the Prime Minister flies over to Washington. This visit breaks a record in terms of the length of time it has taken for an American president to meet a British prime minister. With Trump’s mother originating from Britain, it is clear that Trump is the best thing to happen to the special relationship between these two countries. A pro-British, anti-EU American President has arrived at a time when Brexit Britain begins to transition out of the EU.
Although Trump has been condemned for adopting a protectionist rhetoric, we are gaining an insight into the new President’s trade policies. After signing an Executive Order to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the new President does not favour economic blocs. TPP resembles the single market of the EU. With New Zealand expressing their desire for a trade deal with America, the new administration will be pursuing bilateral trade agreements with countries.
Nothing infuriated Vote Leave’s focus groups more than Obama’s threat to Britain that if we voted to leave the EU, Britain would be ‘at the back of the queue’ for a trade deal. Trump’s election has produced the opposite result; Britain is now at the front of the queue for a bilateral trade deal with America. The new administration has no interest in pursuing the failed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership trade deal with the EU. The Eurocrats in Brussels are anxious about the implications of a Trump presidency. Considering America’s policy since the end of the Second World War has been to encourage European unity, with the CIA even funding the Remain campaign during the 1975 Referendum, we have witnessed the end of American support for a federal Europe. No wonder Trump anticipates the relationship with Angela Merkel will be ‘awkward’, although the latter was a staunch ally of Obama’s.
This is the best outcome, and the best gift, May can be awarded with, and this is before she has even triggered Article 50. A bilateral trade deal with America will be more beneficial for the British economy than remaining a member of the single market. If anything, it is a compliment that Trump regards Britain as an important ally.
The relationship between Trump and May might not mimic the one of Reagan and Thatcher. The British Prime Minister has made clear she will not be afraid to oppose Trump’s sexist rhetoric. But after eight years of disrespect from the Obama administration and what with Britain’s days in the EU numbered, there could not be a better time for Britain and America to rekindle their relationship.