The cosy relationship between Theresa May and Donald Trump is destined for failure. Her hopeless fawning over Trump is nothing more than a misguided and hopeless attempt to secure the future of the UK in the post-Brexit climate. Yes, this is a turbulent time, during which the UK needs to gather allies after its exclusion from the European Single Market. However it must be acknowledged that the current Anglo-American relationship is atypical, with Trump standing against British interests and values.
May does need to pragmatically deal with the reality of Britain’s situation, and rebuild the connections that will be lost after Article 50 is triggered. It is natural for May to look to the US for an ally. Churchill said in 1946 that we have a “special relationship”, and May reiterated this, saying, “it is in our interests. . . to stand together to defend our values, our interests and the very ideas in which we believe”. But with Trump as President, we are forced to ask what these common values are?
Trump is an individual who threatens British ideas. His constant stream of derogatory and damaging policies all seem antithetical to Britain’s values, from his support of torture, to the enforcement of his ‘Muslim Ban’, to his commitment to defunding Planned Parenthood. Indeed, Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ has directly affected British citizens, notably with school teacher Juhel Miah being forced off a flight to New York in February. The British press has also been affected by Trump, as the BBC, The Guardian and The Daily Mail have fallen victim to Trump’s restrictions after being excluded from White House press briefings. It is May’s obligation to condemn these actions, reminding him that the international community does not condone his behaviour.
May herself has not escaped Trump’s obnoxious comments. As a Presidential candidate, Trump overlooked the Prime Minister, instead calling on Nigel Farage to be the UK’s ambassador to the USA. He even misspelled May’s name, confusing her, rather unfortunately, for the former glamour model and porn actress Teresa May. Yet, May has become a kind of supplicant to Trump, even donning a red suit at their first meeting, which seems to mark a clear support for the Republican President.
Despite her claims that ‘opposites attract’, it is difficult to believe that May respects Trump, especially since the last time he shared a platform with a female politician, he called her a criminal and a ‘nasty woman’. May is clearly trying to make the best out of a bad situation and is attempting to demonstrate that Britain still has some international power; however, doing this by supplicating Trump is misguided and ultimately futile.
May rushing to Trump’s side is not a move which will serve British interests. Corbyn was not wrong to allude to Neville Chamberlain’s statement regarding that infamous “piece of paper” that promised to secure “peace for our time” when addressing the Prime Minister. To indulge Trump will not appease him, just as appeasement has historically proven to be an unsuccessful tactic. Moreover, any alliance with Trump is profoundly uncertain, especially when the President has a habit of lying in his speeches with so-called ‘alternative facts’. The hope of Leave voters to ‘take back control’ after Brexit will ultimately just lead to the transferral of power to the dominant country: the USA. After all, in Trump’s words, it is “America First, America First”.
Image: Nigel Farage on Twitter via Wikimedia Commons