Amidst the cacophony of political analysis, a familiar voice has emerged. This voice, whilst familiar, also raises alarms. That voice is of Tony Blair, who, to the dismay of the establishment of which he is a part, has argued the following:
“If we’re out of Europe and you don’t dare invite the US President to Britain, we have a problem. No matter what you think of Donald Trump, Britain has to keep its relationship with America strong.”
An unwritten rule of thumb may be that when Tony Blair could be right, it’s time to take stock and reflect. Apparently, there is no time like the present, and it is that platitude which couldn’t be more apt than now. For those of us who haven’t already made the wise decision to switch off from the whole misanthropic nature of Brexit, we currently have to deal with a Prime Minister who seems a bit lost in the proverbial wildness. A day doesn’t go by when a paper isn’t leaked saying that the outcome of Brexit doesn’t look favourable. Similarly, the perceived paragons of wisdom seem to be detailing that Britain is falling behind in comparison to the rest of the world.
It is because of the outlook above that I think it is worthwhile to offer reasons why the current president of the United States should be invited to the United Kingdom.
The first reason is that it seems to be the economically sensible thing to do. If the predicted outlook for Brexit is to be believed, then Britain must forge its path away from the EU. One way to do this is to maintain existing arrangements with nations around the world, such as with the US.
The U.S. is also the largest investor in the UK. American firms have invested nearly $600 billion in the British market, nearly a quarter of their total investment in Europe, and more than 12% of all U.S. FDI worldwide.
Furthermore, it is undeniable to say that this president is clearly fond of the United Kingdom, often remarking ‘we love your country’. In comparison to Trump’s predecessor who moved the bust of Winston Churchill from the oval office, whose staff allegedly found it amusing to call the Falkland islands as belonging to Argentina, and threatened that any future trade deals would result in Britain being at the back of the queue. Compare this outlook with the man set with the task of maintaining America’s seemingly ever growing economy, Steve Mnuchin, who at Davos reiterated Trump’s remarks that Britain would be at the front of the queue for a trade deal post Brexit.
This change of presidential attitude to the United Kingdom highlights the organic nature of the so called ‘special relationship’ and the importance of fostering it under the Trump regime. The special relationship is often noted as referring to: ‘the governmental realms of foreign, defence, security, and intelligence policy’. All of these issues ought to be reviewed in lieu of Britain leaving the European Union.
The second reason is that it seems the rest of the United Kingdom’s EU counterparts are adopting the ancient proverb: my enemy’s enemy is my friend. First, the international community was privy to Emmanuel Macron’s display of diplomacy for Donald Trump, in which dinner was enjoyed at the Eiffel tower. This gesture, although seemingly presented as dining with the proverbial boogeyman, has produced what I suspect was the outdated outcome; namely, that France is set to be Trump’s first state visit.
Instead, we have a lot of politicians claiming that the invitation for a state visit should be rescinded. It is here that the perceived wisdom must not go unchecked. Firstly, the UK has ties with two nations in particular, who in terms of actual political activity must be viewed in less favourable terms in comparison to Trump. Saudi Arabia is a partner in the gulf region in which we see a profit of £1.1bn from the sale of arms, and then we couple that profit with aid which is needed as initial result of the arms sale in the first place. In other words, our foreign policy comes full circle, and the only thing we lose is logic. Second is China’s XI Jingping who initially was courted by May’s predecessor Cameron, and May shows no sign of stopping this friendly and mutually beneficial approach to China. This is despite China’s egregious subjugation of certain groups, and general disdain for western style freedoms. In comparison, Trump’s America may need to be reviewed in a more favourable light.
The final reason would no doubt have to be that it is good politics to engage those who we disagree with. This is especially true as it could be the case that Donald Trump will be around for a second term. If that comes to fruition, then our response can be one of two things; First will be to ignore America as a viable partner to engage with diplomatically and economically due to the unorthodox nature of their president. Second would be to engage with the president elected by the American people. Why? Namely because it is impossible and a downright falsehood to assert that those who oppose Trump, and his modus operandi for that matter, know why each voter voted for him. It is true that some people may have voted for him for reasons that are diabolical, and for ideals that are outdated in a 21st century framework. However, there will be a lot more individuals who voted for him as they felt he was the only one who listened to their concerns about wages, globalisation, crime, immigration, and society. Their thoughts on these matters, and the president’s policy decisions on the basis of these matters may be disagreeable, but presidents eventually come to an end of their respective terms. When the end comes, what will be left will no doubt be the feeling amongst the American people that they are to blame for the actions of Trump, and they will remember that feeling long after the age of Trump comes to an end.