Monday 3 February 2020

Trump is Great Britain's good fortune, not her most pressing challenge

From the Observer editorial yesterday:
Britain’s most pressing diplomatic challenge will be how to deal with the US at a time when there has never been a more hostile president.
This is not true. Obama meddled in the Brexit referendum campaign, albeit at David Cameron's request and counter-productively, to say that the UK would be at the back of the queue for a free trade agreement. He encouraged the UK and France to overthrow Gaddafi, which was disastrous for Libya but also for Europe and the UK. He encouraged and supported Angela Merkel to take a million refugees without papers from the Middle East. The UK only agreed to take 20,000, but Obama is partly responsible for this. George W Bush persuaded the UK to join in invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and stay there for nation building, though admittedly Tony Blair required no persuading. Both presidents were the best of friends with Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron but their friendship did the UK (and Europe) more harm than the enmity of Russia or espionage by China.

By contrast, Donald Trump is the peace President. He has not involved Great Britain or Europe in expensive and foolish wars. Hillary was the one who said, a few days before she lost the 2016 election, that regime change in Syria was her top priority. Unlike her, he favours Brexit and wants to make a FTA with the UK as soon as possible.

He warned in Warsaw about the threat to Western civilisation and warned, when he visited London, that Europe had taken in too many migrants. He is worried for Europe, not by Europe. He seems to want to leave Europe alone and has given up America's long domination of Europe.

Donald Trump is not in the least hostile to Britain or to Europe but he is hostile for philosophical reasons to the European Union and very hostile to the ideals of the Observer. But that's how politics works.

He was right when he said NATO was obsolete, though he rowed back from this. Perhaps Boris should agree and think about leaving the alliance.

I know I've quoted them a couple of times before but I'll quote again the words of A.J.P. Taylor, a left-wing socialist and one of the half dozen greatest of English historians.
We have been most secure when we kept out of Europe. Meddling with European affairs has brought us nothing but toil and suffering.
How true. The Cold War, though I still do not believe it was necessary, offered the best reason for British involvement in Europe. The reasons for going to war in 1914 and 1939 were less compelling. But the Cold War is over.

If the British political class will not stomach leaving NATO, let us please at least threaten to do so as a bargaining chip in the negotiations with the EU over trade.

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