US President Donald Trump’s latest visit to the United Kingdom is said to have highlighted the “unusual relationship” between his country and the UK. At the state banquet at Buckingham Palace, he said, “Britain and the United States share an eternal friendship.”
On a practical level, Trump’s visit may have been a result of his realization of the lack of attention he has given to America’s allies across the Atlantic. His “America First” approach has left the British out in the cold. Numerous other allies in Europe have started to show a defiant stance toward the United States, which now has to appease their concerns. Trump’s visit to Japan earlier showed relative grace, which may be a sign that the his administration is starting to make amends.
However, when Trump showed up in Britain, he failed to hide his arrogance toward “America’s little brother.” He made some irresponsible comments that made political circles in the United Kingdom very upset.
For instance, Trump had a bit of back-and-forth with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who stated that Britain should not be welcoming the president with a red carpet. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrats leader Vince Cable and the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow, all declined to join the state banquet that welcomed Trump.
Also, the British generally do not like Trump. The main reason would most likely be the “America First” policy that Trump has gone by during his time as president, which has created rifts between Washington and London on a number of international issues, such as the Iranian nuclear deal, Middle East peace, and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The two English-speaking countries have also shown great differences in their attitudes toward international laws and treaties.
In economic terms, the Brits have been lagging behind for the past two years. Although trade with the European Union accounts for nearly half of the UK’s total trade volume, the United States remains Britain’s largest single trading partner. It is also worth pointing out that the US would very much like Britain to be its bargaining chip in the context of the Sino-US trade war. According to The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister’s Office hopes to find a well-formulated plan that would allow the British to play nice with both sides in the trade war.
Britain’s military expenses rank first in the EU but are less than one-tenth of the United States’. Trump believes that the UK’s annual US$53 billion defense budget is not enough. Other than that, intelligence cooperation between the two countries has remained close because they are allies in the Five Eyes alliance of anglophone nations.
While Trump’s actions may have brought about embarrassment and dissatisfaction in Britain, it does not seem likely that the special relationship shared between the US and the UK will be affected just because of a certain leader in office at a certain time.
This article was first published on ATimesCN.com and was translated by Kamaran Malik.