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Analysis

Sucking up to Trump won’t get Johnson a good deal

by Hugo Dixon | 04.12.2019

The US president has not just slagged off Canada’s Justin Trudeau and France’s Emmanuel Macron. He has even slapped tariffs on a sycophant, Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

Donald Trump today described Trudeau as “two-faced” after the Canadian prime minister joked about his lengthy media appearances at the Nato summit. That’s after yesterday lambasting Macron for making a “very, very nasty statement” because the French president had said Nato was “brain dead”, criticising America’s waning commitment to the Alliance. 

One might say that this is nothing for the UK to worry about. After all, Boris Johnson is the US president’s friend. So long as he sucks up to him, he’ll be all right.

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But this misses the point that Trump is happy to bully his erstwhile friends. In October he imposed steel tariffs on his previous buddy, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan – despite Turkey being a Nato ally. Only this week Trump has done the same to Brazil’s president, who shares many of his right-wing views.

Trump will throw his might around – with friend or foe – if he can get away with it. The only way to stop him is to stand up to him.

As part of the EU, we have the strength to stand up to bullies all around the world. If Johnson gets his way and drags us out of the 28-nation bloc, we won’t.

Trump says he will do a beautiful trade deal with us. But it will be beautiful for him, and ugly for us. If Johnson doesn’t agree to push up the prices the NHS pays for US-made drugs and open up our market to chlorine-washed chicken, he probably won’t get a deal at all.

And what about our Prime Minister’s pledge to tax internet giants like Facebook and Google? The US president has already threatened to put 100% tariffs on French champagne, handbags and cheese, after Macron imposed a similar tax. Do we really think that, if we go solo, Johnson will be able to stand up to the bullying?

What’s more, outside the EU we’ll be in a weak position even if Trump is booted out in next year’s presidential elections. The US economy is seven times bigger than ours. The US is a formidable trade negotiator and will throw around its weight whoever is in charge.

Edited by Michael Prest

6 Responses to “Sucking up to Trump won’t get Johnson a good deal”

  • Stands to reason, clear for all & sundry to see, yet they’ll vote Johnson in. Can’t say they didn’t ask for whatever will come their way.

  • They really take us for a bunch of idiots. Obviously, Trump has been told to say the USA is not interested in the NHS. When he was last here, stood next to May, he categorically stated that everything, including the NHS was on the table.
    He was also told to state he did not want to get involved in the election but by the time he uttered his next sentence he had forgotten this pledge by saying Boris would be a good PM.
    He also said he did not know Prince Andrew which is untrue. The news outlets showed footage of the two together and they have also played golf together. What a liar. That’s populist politics for you.
    Meanwhile, Suella Braverman is using her infant son of a few months as a political weapon. Posing for photos captioned ‘Baby George says vote for Boris’. Outrageous the depths they will plummet to get a majority.

  • You had to laugh at how Trump came out with so obviously pre-rehearsed lines about the US’s non involvement with the NHS in a future trade deal. I can imagine Boris’ team were desparate that he say words to that effect, but why wouldn’t he? Trump knows its a big election issue in the UK, so why not try and help out his pal Johnson , at least until he’s elected.
    What happens in a scenario where the UK is seeking a post Brexit trade deal, is an entirely different matter. You can easily see a situation where a Johnson government, maintains there must be no deal involving the NHS, and Trump responds, fine, then no trade deal. And what could Johnson do about it? He couldn’t count on much solidarity from our former EU partners.

  • Yes. ‘hand on a silver platter’ sound more Johnson-like than Trump-like to me. Could Trump maybe have been taught to say what he did? (It wouldn’t trouble him that it was fairly recently that he’s said the opposite.)

  • I just read yesterday that BORIS’swithdrawal agreement contains grants “Henry viii” powers I thinking’s the media should be comparing these instead to the “enabling act” passed by the Reichstag under duress to grant the Nazi party these powers I.e to create or change laws without recourse to parliament. Boris’s and the “ERG” plan to take the Torres and hence the country to the far right bears comparison to the Nazi rise to power. Q. Demonise a section of people, immigrants or Muslims and tell the rest of the people that the country’s problems are not their fault but can be blamed on immigrants fdriving wages down etc.

  • If this bunch of demented Tories get in again the NHS is toast. The script writes itself: ‘We didn’t want to sell it but the Americans insisted…You’ve got to look at the bigger picture, this is a wonderful trade deal, the NHS is a small sacrifice to make…Anyway, the NHS was unsustainable…We’re giving you back control over your personal finances with tax cuts, you decide how much you want to spend on insurance’ etc etc. Only when these morons discover they have to sell the family home, spend every last penny of their savings to pay for an operation will they realise they’ve been conned. Too late, Banks is laughing all the way to the bank with your money.