Costas Iordanidis COSTAS IORDANIDIS

A new chapter in US-UK ties?

COMMENT

TAGS: Diplomacy, Politics, EU

Friday’s meeting between US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May at the White House may signal a new dynamic in the relationship between the two countries responsible for shaping Europe last century.

We mustn’t forget that in the early 1990s Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher challenged the prevailing notions in the economic establishment not just in the West, but all over the world. There are those who will argue that the situation has changed dramatically since then, but this is true for every country in the world and every politician.

If there is one thing that can be said of Trump and May, however, it is that they are both radicals and risk-takers who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. Clearly they aim to restore the balance shattered by the economic takeover of China and Germany.

There are many who are skeptical about this relationship and concerned about what it may bring. They should remember, though, that Europe is running on a system that is in decline and that even the young politicians who emerge every so often soon retreat into the comfort of bureaucracy, European Union regulations and German hegemony – notoriously lacking in any flexibility.

The powers that be in the European Union, comprising technocrats and bureaucrats, have been busy analyzing and expounding theories that they hope will offer some insight into what policies Trump intends to pursue or help them erect barriers to May’s efforts to strike a bilateral trade agreement with the United States.

So while a new dynamic is developing between the US and the UK, continental European leaders are absorbed by national elections and fighting to stem the influence of the far-right in the Netherlands, France, Germany and perhaps even Italy. What they are actually fighting against, however, is the result of nationalist policies imposed by Germany in the areas of the economy and refugee crisis management.

There are also important developments afoot on the regional level. After Washington, May is expected in Ankara – causing some jitters in Athens. However, Turkey is a blatant case of the failure of European policy and there is a risk that the country may slip out of the European system.

Some may think this would be the best thing that could happen for Greece, but given how nonexistent the European Union is in terms of geostrategics, the last thing we need is a Turkey doing its own thing outside of NATO.

So what Athens needs to be looking for from May’s visit to Ankara should be a restoration of the alliance that was so badly shaken during the Barack Obama presidency.

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