London, June 9 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News – June 9, 2021): The “special relationship” between the United Kingdom and the United States is an article of faith for generations of British leaders. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson rejects old piety as he begins his first face-to-face talks with President Joe Biden.
Leaders are expected to meet in Cornwall in south-west England on Thursday ahead of a weekend G7 summit devoted to the coronavirus pandemic and climate change, among other priorities.
Even as a member of the European Union, Britain tended to look to Washington for inspiration in its foreign policy. After Brexit, one would expect the transatlantic connection between English-speaking free trade democracies to take on a new urgency.
New York-born Johnson, however, told Biden on a phone call that he “didn’t like” the term “special relationship,” according to a long profile published this week by The Atlantic magazine.
“To Johnson, it seemed needy and weak,” the article said, with the prime minister instead projecting his vision of a “world Britain” regaining its momentum after ending five decades of membership. the EU.
“The Prime Minister has said previously that he would rather not use the phrase,” Johnson’s official spokesperson told reporters in response to The Atlantic’s profile.
“But that in no way detracts from the importance we place on our relationship with the United States, which is our closest ally.” For the White House at least, the expression remains in Money.
With Johnson, Biden “will affirm the lasting strength of the special relationship,” before highlighting US priorities at the G7, including shared democratic values, climate change and pandemic recovery, according to press secretary Jen Psaki.
The relationship – special or otherwise – is back on a more even keel after Biden took over from Donald Trump in January, picking Johnson as his first European leader for a post-nomination phone call.
While former reporter Johnson is seen as a populist in Trump’s shade and has a trail of out of color remarks in the press denigrating Democrats and former Biden boss Barack Obama, he’s much more in tune with this White House on the biggest crises.
The two leaders share a determination to tackle climate change, and their governments have adopted similar views on the challenges posed by Moscow and Beijing, as Biden heads to a separate summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva.
Just before the Cornwall summit, Britain joined Biden’s push for G7 countries to adopt a minimum floor for corporate tax rates, in a bid to prevent multinationals such as the giants from technology to play with the global tax system.
And the two governments ended a Trump-era trade feud that made Scotch whiskey makers, among other industries, look bad.
But there is some tension over Northern Ireland, with the White House uncomfortable with British attempts to reverse its post-Brexit trade commitments to the EU, threatening the fragile peace in the province.
International relations expert Julie Norman of University College London said the results of the UK-EU talks on Wednesday over Northern Ireland should play a role in the Johnson-Biden meeting the next day.
The White House has warned London that any withdrawal from the 1998 Northern Ireland peace deal, which was negotiated by the Bill Clinton administration, could jeopardize slow progress towards a US-UK trade deal.
“Biden was quite forceful in his comments about it, even during the campaign, even before he was elected, saying how much he wanted to make sure that whatever happens, the Good Friday deal is protected,” he said. Norman told AFP.
“So he was speaking those words very clearly to Johnson.” But more generally, Norman added, the notion of a special relationship is “more than just rhetoric” on both sides, although Johnson would prefer to reframe his portrayal.
“At the end of the day, the relationship, the alliance is strong, and I think that’s what matters no matter what adjective we put on it,” she said.