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Opinion: Relations back in town in a big way


What does the future hold for Britain as UK is about to leave the European Union ? Will Trump’s USA remain an ally or will the UK- US special relationship terminate?

“I think if I were from Britain, I would probably want to go back to a different system. With me, Britain will always be treated fantastically well,” said U.S. President Donald Trump. Well said enough, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, are like two political siblings, war time allies and NATO partners, two nations that share a similar world view. It is common ground that, according to the term “special relationship”, the two nations are bonded by a common tie, which dates back many years.

The term was firstly attributed to the two nations relationship by the UK’s wartime prime minister, Winston Churchill during a lecture tour of the United States in 1946 to describe the depth of Anglo-American friendship following World War II.


Special Relationship

“UK can rely on American support and will always be consulted by the Americans when they make big decisions,” said Jacob Parakilas assistant head of the US and the Americas programme at London’s Chatham House, told Al Jazeera.

“From the moment they met, in April 1975, Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan bonded. They agreed on almost everything, and even completed each other’s thoughts … On the world stage, she was mostly the good cop to Reagan’s bad, though sometimes they switched places,” wrote Nicholas Wapshott, author of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher – A Political Marriage, in The New York Times.

In essence, although the term special relationship describes a common path in fields as foreign policy, defense, security, Britons and Americans have had and will continue to have their differences over specific policies.

Points that have yet to be clarified

What does the future hold for Britain as UK is about to leave the European Union? Will Trump’s USA remain an ally or will the UK- US special relationship terminate?

As Trump has said in an interview for ITV’s “Good Morning Britain”, prior to his election as president, Britain’s exit from the European Union would not impact trade between the U.S. and U.K . “I think if I were from Britain, I would probably want to go back to a different system. With me, Britain will always be treated fantastically well,” said Trump.

It stands the test of time

But speaking frankly, at this precise moment, Britain has become the focus of world attention, as has officially entered into exit negotiations with the European Union. It seems that the Europeans are in a more advantageous position as for the negotiations without the need to compromise. As well, the slowing down of the British economy in the first half of this year and May’s claim that “No deal is better than a bad deal” are pointing out Britain’s growing isolation.

Get down to the business

Worthy of mention, May was the first foreign leader hosted by President Trump in Washington, since he entered the White House. May and Trump, last January, agreed when they met at the White House, to set a new trade agreement to be signed as soon as Britain exits the EU in 2019. Mays’ visit to Washington reopened the door to any upcoming trade arrangement and at the same time enhanced the depth of “special relationship” of the two nations.


In between, some of Trump’s actions have met with criticism, as America’s withdrawal from the Paris climate-change deal, an action that left Donald Trump isolated on G20 Hamburg Summit.

TTIP agreement dead in the water

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently under negotiation between the EU and the United States, if agreed, would create a free-trade zone with common labour and environmental standards. Trump is opposed to the TTIP agreement, because he thinks it will hurt American workers and undercut US companies.


If UK quits the EU, will not be part of TTIP and will have to negotiate its own trade deal with the US.

Trade Partners

Donald Trump said at G-20 Summit: “There is no country that could possibly be closer than our countries. We have been working on a trade deal which will be a very, very big deal, a very powerful deal, great for both countries and I think we will have that done very, very quickly. Prime Minister May and I have developed a very special relationship and I think trade will be a very big factor between our two countries.”

Theresa May said: “The special relationship we have with the United States is the deepest and strongest defence and security relationship we have for our country”.

Realistically, according to European Union’s rules, formal talks between Britain and US cannot begin until after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.

“The point is we can’t negotiate with them or anyone else until we’ve left the European Union,” said Simon Fraser, former diplomat at Foreign and Commonwealth office.

New partners

May clarified she’s willing to negotiate a good free trade agreement with Brussels, but also has been already seeking strong trade relationships, they will build on after Brexit, including China, India and Japan.

“Britain has always been a great trading nation and as we leave the EU we will seize the exciting opportunity to strike deals with old friends and new partners. I have held another a number of meetings with other leaders and have been struck by their strong desire to form new bilateral trading relations with the UK after Brexit. This is a powerful vote in confidence in British goods, British services Britain’s economy and British people and we look forward to building on these conversations in the months ahead”.

A recently concluded trade deal between the EU and Japan could form the basis for a future deal between Japan and Britain agreed Japan’s president, Shinzo Abe.

India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, said he wanted to see the economic relationship between the two countries “getting deeper both now and after Brexit” and would work with Mrs May to put a concrete plan in place.

President Xi told May that Chinese investment in the UK had increased since the EU referendum “which shows China’s confidence in the UK”.

Evelina Nodara