Time to put the UK “Special Relationship” on hold ?
The Guardian reports: “UK legal academics urge PM to cancel Donald Trump’s state visit – Letter signed by 250 law scholars expresses dismay at Theresa May’s decision to align her government with US administration“. Apparently, the reason the dons are distressed is that:-
“The alacrity with which Trump has put in place, by presidential decree, a swathe of openly racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic measures, together with the president’s total disregard for existing US commitments under international law, indicate that the British government’s decision to renew its ‘special relationship’ with the United States at this time can only lead, in the short-term, to further suffering and discrimination...”
It is unlikely that the Wicked Witch will pay any heed to the lawyers – after all, her own policies, both as Home Secretary and as Prime Minister, have been every bit as xenophobic as those of Mr Toad. That is why she is seeking to have the UK leave the European Union and also planning to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights. She is as “Little Britain” as UKIP.
So, as this time it still seems likely that the Witch’s misguided plan for a state visit for Mr Toad will go ahead.
Trump and the European Union
Carnegie Europe has this: “How Donald Trump Could Save EU Foreign Policy – Rather than fall into despondency, Europeans should see the presidency of Donald Trump as a salutary shock. Finally there is real urgency for Europe to get its act together.”
“The EU should take Donald Trump’s arrival as U.S. president as a major wake-up call to upgrade its foreign and security policies. Trump’s comments on foreign policy during the election campaign suggest he might bring the most significant rupture in the transatlantic order since World War II. His transactional approach to long-standing alliance commitments and skepticism about trade liberalization could cause the United States to stop serving as the anchor of the liberal world order, at least for the next four years.
The EU has huge stakes in preserving a rules-based global system. A relapse to a world dominated by protectionism, power politics, and competing nationalisms would undermine the EU’s foundation as a transnational union that seeks collective solutions to its members’ problems. The EU’s best defense is to lead the resistance to these tendencies and build support around the values on which it was founded. However, this would require a much greater focus on foreign and security policies, with mobilization of resources and increased solidarity among member states to take responsibility for this task.
The conclusion of the article is that the time has come to wean Europe off reliance on the USA for leadership. This is a very well argued conclusion. It can also illustrate just why the UK should remain within the European Union and moreover why it is important that the UK should by wary of the Trump Administration.
Defence and National Security Issues
The departure of Michael Flynn as Trump’s National Security Adviser – welcomed in this LA Times Editorial: “Good riddance to Michael Flynn, a fear monger who was wrong for the job long before his Russian antics” – is just the tip of the iceberg. There are now going to be Congressional investigations, not only into Flynn but also into the Trump vision of a “special relationship” (not that with the UK but that with Vladimir Putin and his henchmen).
The Daily Telegraph has this article: “Donald Trump and the Russia connections: From president’s ‘bromance’ with Putin to ‘campaign’s intercepted calls with Moscow spies’” which points out several good reasons why Mr Trump’s dealings with Russia need to be probed – and there are a number of Republican as well as Democrat Senators who want to see these issues properly investigated.
The Atlantic reports: “The Formidable Checks and Balances Imposing on President Trump – His plans have been complicated by virtually every counter-force, at home and abroad, that can limit a president” which rightly states:-
“Trump is facing effective questioning from virtually every counterforce, at home and abroad, that can constrain a president… Congress has been conspicuously absent from this list, though the squall of GOP senators demanding broader investigation of the administration’s Russia dealings following the resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may signal a change.”
The Financial Times reports: “Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and a fatal attraction – After Flynn’s resignation, smiles are turning to scowls in Moscow“. As the article points out there are now three sets of questions Mr Trump will have to answer:-
- (1) how wide and deep were the exchanges: who exactly was involved, what were the subjects of conversations, and were there any bargains struck, implicit or explicit, about the direction of US policy once Mr Trump reached the White House?
- (2) an examination of Mr Trump’s financial ties with Russia — the detailed investigation that should have happened during the campaign and now demands open access to the president’s tax returns.
- (3) the old Watergate question — just what did the president know and when?
The FT also takes the view that Stephen Bannon will have to go and Justin Webb comments in The Times: “Trump’s true believers are feeling the heat – Michael Flynn’s resignation may be just the start of a campaign against the president’s men“. Justin Webb may well be right, but in the reader comments there was this very perceptive observation.
“The problem in America is the eggs are all in the administration, and too many are distinctly addled, including the President“.
Until the perceived problem, namely that of the “special relationship” between Mr Toad and Vladimir Putin, is resolved, the whiff of sulphur around the President remains. Meanwhile the Secretary pf State and the Defence Secretary are in Europe and it is anticipated they will be saying all the right things at the G-20 and NATO.
Trump Border Tax Proposals
The Telegraph reports: “EU preparing legal challenge against Donald Trump’s US border tax plan in what could be biggest trade dispute in a century “.
The Financial Times has this: “EU and others gear up for WTO challenge to US border tax – Allies warn that Republican plan ‘definitely not compatible’ with global trade rules“.
This is a matter which will complicate matters enormously.
The following are recent job approval polls for Donald Trump – oldest first:- CNN – 9, CBS – 8, Quinnipac -8, Pew -17, Gallup -13 as compared with Teresa May whose latest result is from IPSOS-MORI at +17.