Theresa May knows her legacy depends on walking on the middle path: cosying up to Trump will not put her in the good graces of her neighbours; revealing her “Hard Brexit” stance has already pushed her against the wall. Desperate to strike a deal with the United States, May’s harping on their “special relationship”, could be outdone by Trump’s focus on “America first” leaving the middle ground as the only option she can tread on.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May has called on U.S. President Donald Trump to renew the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States and be the change in the changed world.
Trump met May, in what is his first meeting with a foreign leader, since he took the oath of office. May’s meeting with Trump has been seen as a clear shift in foreign policy for Britain which is hoping to snag a deal with the U.S. now that access to the world’s biggest market seems unapproachable.
Fanning fears such as the rise of economies in Asia which could “eclipse the West,” May is clearly eager for a deal.
There is also a growing threats from Islamic extremism and a resurgent Russia.
“So we – our two countries together – have a responsibility to lead. Because when others step up as we step back, it is bad for America, for Britain and the world,” said May to members of the Republican Party at their retreat. Her speech was reportedly punctuated by applause from an enthusiastic crowd.
“This cannot mean a return to the failed policies of the past. The days of Britain and America intervening in sovereign countries in an attempt to remake the world in our own image are over. But nor can we afford to stand idly by.”
Well aware that Brexit will shape her legacy, May clearly needs to demonstrate that Britain can prosper outside of the European Union despite vocal criticism at home to cosying up to Trump.
Dependent on a trade deal with the U.S. and eager to win a favour, May made it clear that both the U.S. and Britain share common values and contrary to Trump’s statement that NATO was “obsolete,” Trump reportedly told her he was committed to the U.S.-led military alliance.
Despite the appearance of bonhomie, there were the sticky points of the usage of torture, which is contrary to UK policy with May suggesting that Britain may not accept intelligence from such methods which are likely to be reintroduced by Trump.
With May revealing her “Hard Brexit” stance, she has threatened to walk away from any EU deal is she fails to clinch a good deal. Critics say, such a stance could give countries such as the U.S. the upper hand during negotiations for a trade deal.
Furthermore, if it appears that May is overtly friend with the U.S. president, against whom many EU leaders have voiced their concerns about, the chances of getting a decent deal from the EU may simply evaporate.
Furthermore, Britain and the U.S. are at odds over the issue of genetically modified organisms, including meat production and public procurements.
Although May is looking for some kind of a trade dal, she may not be able to sign any until after Brexit.
Although earlier May had stated that she will kickstart the process by the end of March, her timetable could be much delayed since she will require parliamentary approval to invoke article 50 of the EU-Lisbon treaty, which will trigger Brexit.