Donald Trump: Only a fool would fail to spot his real Brexit agenda – Henry McLeish

Supporters wait to see Donald Trump's motorcade at Mar-a-Largo in West Palm Beach (Picture: Luis M. Alvarez/AP)
Supporters wait to see Donald Trump's motorcade at Mar-a-Largo in West Palm Beach (Picture: Luis M. Alvarez/AP)
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Brexit will help US President Donald Trump weaken the European Union, which he has described as a “foe”, and transform the UK from the ‘British bulldog’ into an ‘American lapdog’, writes Henry McLeish.

President Trump is in London for a leaders’ meeting of Nato, now celebrating 70 years of the alliance. But not everyone is a fan. The original meeting was scheduled for Washington earlier this year. The organisers, however, felt Trump’s attacks on both Nato and the EU and his chaotic foreign, security and defence postures, were too embarrassing. It was downgraded.

No surprise then that Trump has seized this opportunity to visit London and, may once again, meddle in our election, talk up Boris Johnson as his “chosen one”, and try to help persuade us that a UK-US “oven ready” trade deal is more fact than fiction: Trump understands our Prime Minister’s desperation.

The political exchanges over healthcare and the possible damage that could be inflicted by American pharmaceutical giants are crucially important. But this may be the least of our concerns, if we fail to understand Trump’s real intentions.

The President is determined to use the UK to further American interests by weakening Nato, destroying the EU, providing space for further Russian aggression, despising multi-lateral diplomacy and taking advantage of the UK’s increased vulnerability outwith the security, stability and prosperity of the EU. Trump’s transactional world view is part of the dark relationship he is developing with Johnson.

People and opposition political parties in Britain need to waken up.

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Trump and Johnson dismiss Russian meddling in elections and suppress reports on the issue. Why? Trump doesn’t need a trade deal with the UK, so why is he pretending that this is his number one priority? Describing Nato as “obsolete” and the EU as a “foe”, Trump has no respect for the rules-based international order.

Instead he seeks to destabilise international institutions in order to make “America great again”. This is a dangerous foreign policy, combining selective isolationism and the menacing tyranny of other countries.

Trump can win again

Let us be alive to complacency. No one thought Trump would win the Republication nomination in 2016. He did. Everyone then said that the adults in the policy room would neuter and nurture him. They didn’t. And, for those who think that a President like Trump cannot survive for more than one term of office, think again.

A loyal base, an archaic and flawed electoral college system, compliant Republicans in fear of losing their seats, and the depressing plight of 18 democratic presidential hopefuls making little progress, bears testament to the possibility of four more years of chaos and crisis.

Trump is dangerous and can’t be trusted. The President lies as if truth hadn’t yet been invented and has no serious grasp of international affairs: why would a post-Brexit UK want to get closer and closer to the US?

The reason is simple. Johnson is in a very vulnerable position. He is desperate for an economic lifeline, as a consolation prize for turning his back on the biggest, prosperous and most stable single market and seeking instead an adventure with America.

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Our Prime Minister is creating the conditions in which Trump can turn the UK into an instrument of US foreign policy and exploit the UK exiting the EU: our Government has no idea of where the country is heading or what role we are seeking in the world. Trump, no matter how chaotic his approach appears, is determined to change how the world works and will exploit to the full the weakness of Johnson as the UK struggles and stumbles its way forward. Never has the UK looked so vulnerable to such an unprincipled adversary masquerading as a friend.

The President knows what he wants from his new-found friend in Number 10, but our Prime Minister isn’t clear about the UK’s interests. Only a fool or a delusional patriot could fail to see through the President’s agenda.

US will dictate terms

First, Trump’s main objective has already been achieved. The UK’s exit from the EU is vitally important, both to undermine and weaken the EU and provide the US with a compliant and willing friend to advance US interests on the edge of the EU.

Second, success in bludgeoning the UK to weaken its regulatory regimes on animal welfare and food standards will provide a base for the US to influence the EU, to drop their adherence to what in American eyes looks like over-stringent regulatory arrangements.

Third, although Johnson has said that he wants to scrap the level playing field of regulatory alignment, the US will force him to do this or there will be no US trade deal.

Fourth, the US will decide the terms of any future trade deal. Published US documents have shown who will be in charge by stating that there will be “full market access for US products”.

The UK is not the end game for the US. The ultimate ambition is for the US to open a bigger market on the EU’s doorstep.

The US is taking us for fools. Johnson, in his post- Brexit desperation, is not only putting the NHS up for sale, but the whole country and to a single buyer. No amount of lies, obfuscation, distraction and ambiguity can conceal the path the UK is on.

Looking for any port in a political storm is dangerous and highlights the reckless folly of Brexit and our attempts to make sense of it. The myth of taking back control is a cruel hoax. The UK is about to share its sovereignty with the US and hand more economic and political power to the Americans.

It is impossible to see what the UK gets in return for Johnson’s betrayal and surrender strategy, other than for us to win a fully-fledged permanent franchise of America’s favourite sport, the NFL, based in London! In the mean-time, Nato is in peril under Trump’s leadership as he seeks to undermine our collective defence obligations.

British bulldog or American lapdog? A big question for this election.