Are The Next Two Years Going to Make or Break The Special Relationship?
Are the next two years going to make or break the special relationship?
The “special’ relationship between the United States and Britain has always been labelled as the most important affiliation between both countries. Trade, security, cultural and large military ties exist between the two countries - this is especially Significant given Their dominant place in the World. However, in the last few years, both countries have seen big political events take place of which its effects and full implications are still yet to be fully seen.
Brexit and its implications on the special relationship have been a huge topic of debate between the two opposing sides: those who believe the UK’s relationship with the US will strengthen as a result, and those who believe it will be considerably weaker. Those championing Britain’s exit from the European Union claim it will allow Britain to go further out into the world, with the ability to strengthen existing relationships including that with the US. They insist that increased trade and closer cooperation with the US is only going to be achieved with a full exit from the EU. On the other hand, those who supported Britain’s membership of the EU strongly believe that this will not necessarily benefit Britain’s special relationship with the US, as regulations and tariffs could still be imposed on the UK by the Trump administration.
Trade tariffs are just one of the ways in which the Trump administration has so far been very bold and decisive in regards to international affairs. Trump has already urged Western European nations and NATO to spend more on defence or face losing US military support and protection. He further went on to criticize and label the United Nations as not being on America’s side as well as demanding high tariffs on Chinese imports into America. This comes from his belief that the Chinese are not trading fairly, manipulating their currency to gain an economic advantage over America.
These actions have all lead to a more uncertain world order, as Britain’s place and support for President Trump has become more tentative showing a different side to the ‘special’ relationship – one where it does not reflect the strong sense of confidence previous presidents have had from the UK.
While Prime Minister Theresa May has criticized a number of the administration's policies, she has also insisted it is crucial for Britain and the U.S. to stand side by side and maintain their strong relationship. (Flashback to the infamous Trump-May Handholding incident).
In summary, with the upcoming midterm elections for President Trump and the finalization of a controversial Brexit deal of any kind for Theresa May, both leaders are on uncertain and unstable ground. The next couple of years could see the special relationship take a different direction and transform a generation to come – as the recent uncertainty from both leaders could massively impact their own institutions as well as the future of any cooperation from either side.