Something is breaking down in US-UK relations? Discrepancies and common points


PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay Cool relations between Joe Biden and Boris Johnson have long been talked about in the backstage, despite the fact that the joint US and UK front on Ukraine gave the impression of an improvement in relations between the leaders. There are many reasons for the cooling down of relations between the United States and Great Britain, but one of the key points of contention is the intentions of the ruling conservatives to unilaterally terminate some of the provisions of the so-called Brexit agreement. Truss takes office, taking over many unresolved problems that may affect the future geopolitical vision not only of Europe but also of the world.

Free trade agreement

During his presidency, Donald Trump promised Boris Johnson an accelerated trade deal as soon as Brexit was over. The changing of the guard in Washington frustrated the ambitions of the former prime minister, who intended to conclude a deal with the country that is the second-largest “buyer” of British goods after the EU, and which receives 20 percent of it. British exports. Biden made it clear that the United States “does not want trade deals.” Negotiations with the UK were no longer prioritized, and advanced Trump-era talks have been frozen until further notice. As Liz Truss confirmed on September 20, there is not even a date on the horizon when negotiations could resume. Currently, trade relations between the two countries are regulated by the World Trade Organization and one hundred sectoral agreements. In addition, the United Kingdom aspires to accede to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), to which eleven countries belong.

Protocol on Northern Ireland

The day after the new Prime Minister’s official nomination, Joe Biden had a telephone interview with her. As reported by the White House, President Biden congratulated Truss, but also raised the topic of Ukraine, policy towards China and issues related to the so-called Irish protocol. This protocol is part of the agreement that Great Britain concluded with the European Union on leaving the Community. It was supposed to be a compromise protecting not only the British and EU economy, but also a solution supporting the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement. Under the Protocol, it was possible to avoid the creation of border controls between Northern Ireland and Ireland, which is to prevent tensions in the region. Its aim is therefore to protect the United Kingdom from a conflict similar to the one that took place in the 1960s over the province’s membership of Great Britain, which ended with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in Belfast. The subject of renegotiation of the Irish Protocol returned due to the difficulties in the movement of goods that had arisen within the Kingdom. Pursuing the provisions of the Protocol, goods shipped from Great Britain to Northern Ireland are subject to customs control. According to the Conservative Party, such a situation is conducive to separatist movements and threatens the integrity of the Kingdom. Part of the British public did not like the fact that Joe Biden raised the issue of the Protocol. There were voices that taking up this topic was an unauthorized intervention by the White House in the internal affairs of the British. Some commentators even stated that Biden tried to warn Truss against the temptation to activate Article 16, which allows the Protocol to be temporarily suspended due to “serious economic, social and environmental difficulties.” Launch of Art. 16 was one of the conservatives’ demands during the election campaign. Boris Johnson’s cabinet, including Truss, even prepared a bill allowing the United Kingdom to unilaterally modify the provisions of the Protocol. Joe Biden, who has Irish roots, takes the Protocol issue in a personal way. Moreover, the United States was a decisive party in the negotiations of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and also plays a role as a peace guarantor – hence direct intervention in the face of any decision that could revive a spark of the Northern Ireland conflict.

The war in Ukraine and the Chinese challenge

Great Britain is the second country, after the United States, to provide military aid to Ukraine. Truss intends to follow in the footsteps of Boris Johnson and this week will pledge to donate over EUR 2.7 billion to Ukraine (due to Zelensky’s successful counteroffensive), which is in line with the American plan to oppose Vladimir Putin. Liz Truss intends to call on Biden to use Ukraine’s lessons to demonstrate to Beijing “Western determination to defend democracy and world peace.” According to government sources quoted by The Daily Mail, Truss is in favor of a sharp tightening of the West’s stance on China. The British Prime Minister is convinced that Chinese rule poses “the greatest threat to Western values ​​and the Western way of life.” Despite London’s ambivalence towards Beijing so far – demonstrated by a formal invitation from a Chinese delegation to the funeral of Elizabeth II – Truss is expected to take a more firm stance towards China than her predecessor.

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