Those of us old enough to remember the Reagan Administration will also remember that vivid illustration of the “special relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom, in the friendship that developed between President Reagan and the Brit Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. That friendship and that relationship changed the face of the world and arguably was key in winning the Cold War.
Well, tomorrow maybe we’ll see another variation on that relationship beginning, when the new Iron Lady, PM Theresa May, visits President Trump in Washington. Excerpt:
“As we rediscover our confidence together –- as you renew your nation just as we renew ours –- we have the opportunity, indeed the responsibility, to renew the special relationship for this new age,” the U.K. prime minister will tell Republican lawmakers gathered in Philadelphia on Thursday, according to excerpts from her prepared remarks. “We have the opportunity to lead, together, again.”
The good news for May, who’s due to meet Trump at the White House on Friday, is that he’s eager to cement relations and nail down a U.K. trade deal too — for his own reasons. He’d like to further drive a wedge into a fractured Europe and strengthen at least one trade relationship as he exits the Trans-Pacific Partnership and prepares to renegotiate Nafta.
A close relationship between the U.S. and U.K. would prove that neither nation is turning inward — Trump after an election victory fueled by his “America First” campaign, and May as she takes Britain out of the European Union after last year’s Brexit referendum.
So May is opting to brush aside the worldwide protests that followed Trump’s inauguration and worked hard to secure Trump’s first meeting in office with a foreign leader.
Trade, yes, will certainly be on tomorrow’s agenda. And a solid, free trade agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom will go a long ways towards meeting President Trump’s goals of resetting global trade relations.
Here President Trump should tread a little more carefully than has been his wont since taking office. The UK isn’t just another trade partner. The special relationship has been damaged some in the last eight years, but it remains special; our two nations are the primary powers in the Anglosphere, and (admit it or not) the English-speaking nations still dominate the world socially, economically and militarily.
Where the US and the UK lead, the world still in large measure follows. We should watch the outcomes of this meeting with great interest; they will have great impact on events to follow.