Britain’s position heading into its Brexit talks is far stronger than it was a week ago, I argue in The Sun today. Why, because Donald Trump has changed the dynamics of global politics.
Brexit’s critics used to claim that this country would be isolated after it left the EU. But it is hard to make that case when the president-elect of the most powerful country in the world is in favour of it. Indeed, the next US President is more enthusiastic about it than the British Prime Minister. He was for it before June 23rd.
Theresa May now has a chance to create a strong relationship with Trump before other European leaders even start trying. The French and German elections next year, mean that their leaders will play Trump for domestic applause rather than trying to build a proper relationship with him: just look at Angela Merkel’s barbed message welcoming him to the presidency. This gives May a chance to make herself, and Britain, the bridge across the Atlantic.
This isn’t about agreeing with Trump, or backing his views. It is simple political reality: he will be President of the United States and the UK government has to work with him. After all, it is far less compromising dealing with Trump than, say, the undemocratic Chinese regime.
Even if May can’t make herself the bridge across the Atlantic, Trump still strengthens her Brexit negotiating hand. The uncertainty about Trump’s commitment to Nato means that the UK’s nuclear umbrella is suddenly far more important to European security, as I point out in this week’s magazine.
As one senior government figure says, if you’re the Baltic states or an Eastern European country you want a post-Brexit relationship with the UK that keeps security cooperation going. It is very hard to have that if you are trying to punish Britain for Brexit.