- Jon Sopel
- Editor-in-Chief of BBC North America Affairs
Boris Johnson and Joe Biden will meet near the top of the cliff, overlooking Cornwall’s magnificent Carbis Bay, with waves from the Atlantic Ocean below.
The meeting will not have the intense and intense atmosphere when Ross Poldark and Demelza met (the two are the most famous pair of characters in the BBC’s recent hit drama). But this is an important relationship that deserves attention in development.
The reason why it may be terrible at the beginning is too easy to enumerate: Biden firmly supports Britain in the European Union, and Johnson is the main designer of Brexit.
Biden may be the most “Irish” of the recent US presidents (I added quotation marks because many Americans like to exaggerate their Irish ancestry in public life, but Biden’s ancestry is very obvious), “Belfast The Agreement is sacred to him. Therefore, he will make it clear to the British host that if it will damage the Northern Ireland Agreement, it cannot be repaired.
Boris Johnson apparently wants to withdraw from this legally binding agreement and complete Brexit, which actually creates a trade barrier between the British mainland and Northern Ireland.
In an interview before the visit, Biden’s national security adviser told me that the UK should not underestimate Biden’s feelings on this issue.
In addition, there is the background story of the two. Johnson is regarded by many Americans as the British Donald Trump (of course Donald Trump himself sees it so). He is a bit chaotic, populous, elusive, and a popular agitator. And Johnson generously praised the former business tycoon who entered the White House for entering the White House. Johnson said that he made the United States great again, and his work on North Korea deserves the Nobel Peace Prize.
No one would say that Biden has the same superior family background as Johnson. For some reason, I can’t imagine working-class Biden from Scranton, Pennsylvania, wearing the white tie of the Blington Club. In fact, Biden even described Johnson as a “physical and emotional copy” of Donald Trump.
But again, if you look for yellow newspaper clippings in the Manila paper folder, or just use a search engine, you will find a lot of comments from Johnson, talking about Trump’s “shocking ignorance” when he was the City of London. long.
All of this points to an obvious point. That was then, now is now.
If we say that Biden and Johnson are not similar, you might say that Cameron and Obama are not obvious confidants, but they have established a close working relationship. It is commendable that Cameron did not worry about this special relationship like others. Remember Gordon Brown chasing Obama in a kitchen at the United Nations? He wanted to talk face to face with the President of the United States so much.
If you are the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, your job is to deal with the now elected President of the United States. After the 2020 presidential election, Trump insisted that everything was fraud and he would overturn the election results (actually, think about it, he said the same thing after 7 months). The Johnson administration quickly noticed that Biden was a legitimate winner and sent congratulations from the United Kingdom in due course. And some countries are hesitant to worry about drawing Trump’s anger.
On some major issues around the world, Biden and Johnson are exactly the same. Perhaps most notably, the United Kingdom and the United Nations Climate Change Conference (the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties) to be held in Glasgow in November, as well as on national security issues, defense cooperation and intelligence sharing, the United Kingdom and The position of the United States is very consistent.
Looking back on history, few people would have thought that after the obvious “brotherhood” between Blair and Bill Clinton (they were empty words about the “third way” at the time), the British Prime Minister would effortlessly change, and George · Bush established such a close relationship. Of course, many people later criticized Blair for being too close to Bill Clinton’s successor.
In my opinion, the only thing that caused lasting damage to the relationship between the two countries was when Bill Clinton was elected president and John Major became prime minister. In order to help George Bush win re-election, Major allowed the Department of the Interior to investigate whether Bill Clinton had any “stains” when he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University. This is a huge mistake and may have a lasting impact.
It’s hard to believe that the relationship between Biden and Johnson will be a copy of Thatcher and Reagan, or earlier, Churchill and Roosevelt. In the terrible blitz of 1940, Churchill talked about winning over American leaders, building friendships, and endlessly trying to attract his attention and important support to involve the United States in World War II.
A few days ago, on our podcast Americast, I talked to Ben Rhodes, the former deputy national security adviser of Obama, and joked about this special relationship. Remember, this is something the British political class talks more about than Americans.
But Rhodes pointed out that there are so many common interests and so many common values that when you sit down with the British to discuss major issues, you will always find the same starting point. How to get to the end may vary, but like-mindedness is a good start for the relationship between Biden and Johnson. They are consistent in most things.
The UK is shaping the future of the post-Brexit era, which is of utmost importance.
These two people have one thing in common. They are both Roman Catholics. Although some people ridicule that one is a devout Roman Catholic, the other needs more practice.