Britain: Trump proves to be a divisive ally
Now we know “just how desperate the British government is to avoid upsetting” the Trump administration, said Independent.co.uk in an editorial. When Prime Minister Theresa May met with President Trump in Washington last week, she tried to reassure the British public that “she was not about to become a poodle to Trump’s rottweiler.” She mildly rebuked Trump for his support for torture, and said Trump had told her that he was “100 percent behind NATO.” Yet when Trump signed a “monstrous order” a few hours later banning immigrants and travelers from seven countries—including thousands of Britons with dual citizenship—May suddenly lost her spine. Instead of swiftly denouncing the ban, she hemmed and hawed before issuing a tepid statement saying she does “not agree with this kind of approach.” The British people showed more courage. More than 1.6 million of them signed a petition demanding the cancellation of Trump’s state visit to the U.K. later this year, and thousands took to the streets to protest his bigoted travel ban.
Trump might not be the ally we want, but he’s the ally we have, said Tony Parsons in The Sun. Yes, he’s a misogynist and an oaf, but we’ve struck deals with far worse people. When our nation was “fighting for its life” in World War II, we joined forces with Stalin. We couldn’t afford to care about the Russian dictator’s morality, we were just “damn glad he was there.” As we enter “the uncertain world of post-Brexit Britain,” we should be glad that Trump—a critic of the EU and an admirer of the U.K.—is in the White House. The president will put the EU “at the back of the queue” for trade deals, and us at the front.
Keep dreaming, said Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian. With Britain committed to exiting the EU, May needs a favorable trade deal with the U.S. That makes her an easy mark for the former real estate mogul—as a “house buyer who rashly sold her old house before she had found a new one.” Trump will press his advantage: He could ask for a relaxation of Britain’s environmental and safety standards to allow the importation of hormone-laced U.S. beef, and demand that the National Health Service buy medicine from “overcharging drug companies.”
Trump cares not one jot about a trade deal with Britain, said Paul Mason, also in The Guardian. For him, Britain is “a tool to break up the European Union.” His trade promises are designed to undermine our ties with Europe, and we will lose our soul in the bargain if we ally ourselves with his plan to crush the multilateral global system and replace it with a great-power struggle for spheres of influence. Are we going to submit to this “sociopathic sex pest” or stand against him? “The entire British political elite has to understand how relentlessly it is being played.”