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writing for godot

Is There Any Reason for Great Britain to Worry About Trump's Governing Methods?

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Written by Steven Mehler   
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 02:12

USA and Great Britain Politics

Trump has now been in the white house for a little over five weeks. In that time, the world has been glued to their newspapers and television sets to find out what crazy story has come out about him now. He’s been caught lying a heck of a lot. In fact, the independent and non-partisan Politifact has marked 70% of his statements as ‘mostly false’ or worse.

To give you a point of comparison, Obama over his entire presidency, ha 26% of his statements marked as ‘mostly false’ or worse. What about ‘Corrupt Hillary’? She’s been marked at 26% as well. In other words, proportionately he has lied more than both of them put together.

Add to this his consistent flip flopping on any issue, his unclear way with words (what did he mean that deportations were a ‘military operation’?) and you can see why many people have taken to not trusting anything that comes out of this man’s mouth. And why should they?

The question is, does that matter for Great Britain?

The repercussions for Britain’s friendship

The problem, of course, is that this means that Britain has absolutely no idea where it stands. None of the American allies do. This is, quite frankly, horrible timing for a country that’s just about to go through some very serious upheavals of its own, as it tries to negotiate its place in Europe and the world as a whole.

That was going to be a difficult process in the best of times – particularly as the time window is so short. Trump proves this thesis online by sharing his ideas on social media. Now, with Trump sat astride the most powerful position in the world, that just became a whole lot tougher – something that has been well reflected in the debate that took place in the British parliament about whether Trump's visit should be a state visit or not.

After all, since you don’t know what he’s going to do, how can you know whether he’ll actually support the UK or decide to throw it to the wolves as well, like he’s threatened to do with NATO and the one china policy?

The irony

In fact, it’s quite ironic that the two things that are seen as the greatest upsets to the establishment, Brexit and Trump’s victory, are going to make things more difficult for each other. Though admittedly it’s probably more the British government which is sweating than it is that of the US. After all, the US can still manage without the UK, but the UK voters have in many ways folded the UK government over the US president’s knee.

Will he spank them? Will he work them to get ‘one of the best deals you’ve ever seen’?

Maybe, maybe not. Maybe he’ll take this opportunity to win over some people to his side. He could use a boost, as he’s started with the lowest approval ratings of any president the US has ever seen. And so, getting a good deal with the US’ traditional ally would seem like something he’d want, as it would no doubt boost his popularity.

It would also offer him a great opportunity to demonstrate that bilateral deals are better than any multi-country deals that he’s frequently pooh-paahed in the media. The thing is, we just don’t know. We have no idea what he’s going to do. Sometimes it seems like he doesn’t even know what he’s going to do, as he contradicts his own advisors and even himself. There is even an open discussion in psychiatric circles whether they should speak up about his mental health.

And that is now the UK’s most prominent ally. No doubt Theresa May and occasionally wakes up in a cold sweat because of it.

It isn’t just the UK that worries

The entire establishment has been shaken to its core. Everybody’s eyes are now on the next anti-establishment figure that is heading to the poles. Will Le Pen win? Will the European Union really be torn apart? They say things come in threes.

In truth, possibly the only person that’s not worrying is Russia’s strongman president Putin. He must be overjoyed by these most recent developments. In one year his two strongest opponents – the US and the European Union – have both been substantially weakened.

He’s probably wondering when he can make his next foray abroad. Who should he attack this time? Maybe Estonia before it has managed to join NATO? Second time lucky, right?

The world remade

Whatever happens, whether the world is remade and the western system is uprooted, or whether Trump turns out to have a much worse bark than bite and he turns out to be somebody that the UK government can work with (and understand) the world will be remade. No longer will the Westminster consensus continue as it has before.

Perhaps the youngest generation will finally be galvanized and take part in politics (by many accounts, if they would have participated in half-decent numbers, neither Brexit or Trump would have happened). If that would happen, that would most change politics. And it would be something that I would certainly applaud. Because the government doesn’t represent the population, it only represents the people that vote.

And isn’t it about time that government started to represent the opinions and needs of the millennials generation?

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