Today’s interview of Donald Trump with the Times is an important one. Because Mr Trump will inaugurate his mandate next Friday; because it is his first interview with a British newspaper after he became the President-elect; because is about the future of the transatlantic relations and last but not least because the interviewer was Micheal Gove, who has been a leading figure in the Leave campaign.
One of the most striking parts of the interview is right about Brexit, and the UK relationship with his special partner after its political detachment from the continent. Asked by Gove about a new transatlantic trade deal, Trump answered: “Absolutely, very quickly. I’m a big fan of the UK, we’re gonna work very hard to get it done quickly and done properly. Good for both sides.”
Managing to seal a trade agreement with the US, and doing it quickly, would be like winning the lottery for the UK. It would give a strong signal to Brussels, which did not manage to close the TTIP negotiation due to internal oppositions. Needless to remark, the biggest opposers to the European transatlantic deal were in the nation the least sympathetic toward London and Washington: France. Now the UK can try to take advantage of the situation.
This demonstration of interest by Trump manifest a possible improvement in the special relationship linking the UK and the US. It is the chance, for Theresa May, to establish her new vision of International Relations towards a broader “Anglosphere”. As Tim Congdon explained once on the Spectator
“the English-speaking nations are distinguished by a set of institutions and characteristics that the other advanced nations of Europe ultimately lack: a common law tradition, respect for private property, continuous representative government, and a culture that nurtures civil society and entrepreneurial enterprise.”
Brexit has distinguished itself for a rebellion of the working class against the unelected establishment in Brussels and his stifling bureaucracy. Racism played its part, as well. America offers a strong tradition of deregulation, a lighter intrusion by the state in private affairs and a more business-friendly environment. The UK, instead of closing itself, is looking for new horizons, possibly in line with a more modern and balanced version of the Empire: a new Commonwealth.
This attitude was well described by Boris Johnson during a visit in Australia in 2013:
“When Britain joined the Common Market, it was at a time when the establishment was defeatist, declinist and obsessed with the idea that we were being left out of the most powerful economic club in the world. In those days — when olive oil and garlic had barely appeared on the dining tables of Britain — it was assumed that in order to be “internationalist” it was enough to be European. Well, it is now perfectly obvious that that is no longer enough — and that we need to seek a wider destiny for our country.”
Trump’s plan to seal a deal with the UK before he does it with the EU is no good news in Brussels. Just as his proposal to balance the weights in the NATO and his approach to Russia. But the trade agreement offer is a good one for Britain, which is in desperate need of new friends after Brexit. It might find them in the anglosphere. After all Britons call the Atlantic “the pond”, while the Channel has no diminutive nicknames.