Trump or Biden? Existential question for a United Kingdom in the midst of Brexit

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Just when the United Kingdom prepares to emancipate itself for good from the European Union, its “special relationship” with the United States risks turbulence in the event of Donald Trump’s defeat, given the good understanding displayed between the Republican billionaire and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

After Brexit, effective on January 31, the British will free themselves from European rules on January 1. In the name of the concept of “Global Britain”, London says it wants to revitalize its partnerships in the rest of the world, in particular with its “closest and most important ally”, proclaims Boris Johnson.

On CNN Sunday, the former British Minister of Finance George Osborne noted a “frantic repositioning in London” as the presidential election approaches, for which Democrat Joe Biden is ahead in the polls.

“I don’t think Joe Biden will be very warm to the current British government and it will take very hard work to fix it,” he warned.

In the past, the American president has not spared his compliments to the British leader, with whom he shares a blonde hair and a tendency to take liberties with the facts, delighting to point out that he was nicknamed the “British Trump”. On the other hand, he had a terrible relationship with his predecessor Theresa May and has never hidden his support for Brexit, which Boris Johnson has championed.

Conversely, Joe Biden had displayed his disdain for the Downing Street tenant ahead of the British election last December, calling him a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump. He was vice president in 2016 when Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, accused Barack Obama of anti-British views because of his “partially Kenyan” roots and “ancestral hostility to the British Empire”.

“More reliable” ally

Notes that will not be forgotten. A former adviser to Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, has also brought them out recently, calling Boris Johnson Trump “in better hair” and smarter. It will not facilitate relations in the event of Joe Biden’s victory, no doubt followed by the return to the White House of many veterans of the Obama administration.

“Populists are chameleons: they take on the color of the political context. If Vice President Biden wins, the color of Mr. Johnson will change dramatically, ”nuance Heather Conley, director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

On the American side, however, “Brexit issues will certainly be handled differently by a Biden administration, compared to the Trump administration’s enthusiasm for Brexit, and even with it, it hasn’t been easy,” expert, interviewed by AFP.

After leaving the EU, London wants to conclude a free trade agreement with Washington, but Trump’s promise of a “magnificent” agreement, and more generally of a post-Brexit rapprochement full of promises, has failed. not yet materialized.

Brexit came into the Democrats’ sights in September, when the British government introduced a bill reversing the treaty between London and the Europeans, including provisions specific to Northern Ireland, supposed to prevent the return of ‘a border with the Republic of Ireland.

Joe Biden, who proudly displays his Irish roots, curtly warned that there would be no trade deal if London endangered the 1998 peace deal in the British province.

Beyond personal questions and Brexit, the United Kingdom, which will take over the presidency of the G7 next year, remains closer to European countries like France, as well as Joe Biden, than to the Trump administration on a large scale. number of subjects, such as climate change, Iran, Russia or NATO.

In public, the British government is careful not to show any preference between the two candidates but some elected members of its Conservative Party show less reserve.

In the Daily Telegraph, the former Minister of Finance of Boris Johnson, Sajid Javid assured that Joe Biden would be “a more reliable ally” in terms of “trade, international relations and moral leadership”, slicing: “The United Kingdom is will do better with Biden ”.

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