“We don’t really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept.” Reports of “vicious infighting and chaos” are “mainly true” and I question “whether the White House will ever look competent”.
That is a pretty damning assessment and one that has a real ring of truth to it.
It would, of course, be equally interesting to read the frank assessment of the US ambassador on the current state of UK politics. It might be similarly damning. Indeed it jolly well should be. Dysfunctional, unpredictable, faction riven, diplomatically clumsy and inept are a pretty good description of the whole Brexit fiasco. Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely that there is a far right fanatic at the heart of government who wants to leak that particular confidential assessment and even if there is I doubt whether the Mail on Sunday would enthusiastically print that kind of leak if it came their way.
Astonishingly we don’t have to rely on a leak to know what President Trump’s blunt assessment of the situation in the UK is. We have his own emails for that. In them he says:
I have been very critical about the way the U.K. and Prime Minister Theresa May handled Brexit. What a mess she and her representatives have created. I told her how it should be done, but she decided to go another way. ‘The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister.
That isn’t a case of a paid employee being rude about a Head of State in a leaked confidential memo. It is one Head of State being rude about another to her face and trying to tell another country who it should choose as its ambassador and boycotting any choices that he doesn’t like. If that had been done by a state that the UK is in dispute with such as Iran or North Korea there would have been uproar and the offending country’s ambassador would have been summoned and bluntly told that the UK picks its ambassador and will reciprocate in kind whenever our official representative is badly treated.
To their credit both Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt immediately proceeded to back our ambassador to the hilt and to explain to Donald Trump that he doesn’t get to choose our ambassador. Nor does he get to choose our Prime Minister.
To his eternal shame, if he actually possesses the ability to experience that emotion, Boris Johnson deliberately didn’t provide the same backing. Hours after saying that under his leadership the UK would get its mojo back the man quietly kow towed to Donald Trump and promised that under his leadership relationships would be better.
It will be interesting to see what happens if Trump’s ambassador to the UK sends him a confidential briefing on Boris that includes his comments from 9th Dec 2015 when Johnson accused Trump of making remarks that displayed “stupefying ignorance” and which marked him out as being “unfit for the office of President”.
I suspect all will be forgiven and forgotten as the two sit down to sign the free trade deal which has now become the clear intent behind the entire Brexit project for its financiers and propagandists. We better get used to being humiliated by the United States. Because once we are out of the powerful European bloc of nations we are straight into the firing line to give up even more of our sovereignty to a free trade deal with the states.
Any such deal comes with real problems for the UK. Firstly, it is politically impossible for any US President to sign a free trade deal that excludes agriculture. So UK farming is about to be devastated by floods of cheap imports of mass produced chemical soaked food at exactly the same time as it loses tariff and control free access to the EU markets. Mass bankruptcy is the logical result.
Secondly any US trade deal must come with a supervisory court. That will not be elected in any way. Instead of EU elections and trade commissioners overseen by an EU Parliament making laws that we sometimes like and sometime hate we’ll get corporate lawyers forcing the UK to open its markets to “free and fair” competition from the US. That means competition for contracts in the NHS and in every other public service.
Thirdly and most importantly we are going to go into those trade negotiations with the US from a point of desperate weakness. Particularly if we leave the EU with No Deal – which is becoming more likely by the day. Johnson has blustered and blathered greatly about how he is the man to stand up to the EU and negotiate a better deal. The EU has continued to politely tell him that they don’t intend to renegotiate a deal that has already been agreed. They’d rather see us crash out of the EU that destroy the organisation by giving him better terms than they offered Theresa May.
So we are likely to face a Boris Johnson government trying to stand up against a Donald Trump administration and try and get a good trade deal at a time when it has just lost easy access to its major market. Trump has many faults. An inability to see weakness in his negotiating partners in not one of them. That is his strength.
The UK is about to be led into negotiating a trade deal with the US by a man who couldn’t even bring himself to be brave enough to protest about the US President effectively dismissing the UK ambassador and openly dis-respecting the UK Prime Minister. He is going to try and negotiate with a bully from a position of great weakness.
That is not my idea of a good way for the UK to get its mojo back.