By Dickson Igwe, Contributor
Brexiters are clearly upbeat at this dawn of a new decade. Remainers/Europhoiles, like this Old Boy, are disappointed.
There is a feeling in the air that the UK has changed for good — and not necessarily for the better. It is waiting to see whether the UK will break up with Scotland and Northern Ireland remaining in Europe, as Remain countries of the UK. Wales today is clearly in favour of remaining in Europe.
Brexit remains a mainly English Affair. And will a new special — USA/UK Northern Atlantic — a relationship based on free trade overcome the dark clouds hovering over a Hard Brexit, as Johnson intends, with his 80 plus majority in the UK Parliament?
Time will tell! Now it is clear Boris Johnson is betting big on a new special relationship with the US as overcoming any loss in market power stemming from the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. That is the simple logic of a free trade agreement with the USA.
But will it work in replacing the losses in trade and markets of the UK leaving Europe? That is the biggest equation facing the UK Prime Minister in his readiness to make a hard break with Europe at the ending of January 2020.
The three key premises
There are three key premises on the belief that a US/UK alliance can be recreated into the type of military and economic alliance that formed the Post World War Two World Order. The first is that a mercantilist order based on open seas and free trade with hub freeports around the world can be initiated.
The second is that the Donald Trump and Boris Johnson friendship based on a populist and anti-globalist political culture is sustainable. The third is that the key global trading blocs: the European Union, China, and a non aligned Russia, India, and Third World will sway towards a new and assertive US and UK North Atlantic Trading Alliance, All of the preceding three ideas can be binned at inception.
First, the present global trading order based on large blocs trading with each other cannot be done away with, even with US economic power. In fact, the EU and China increasingly view the USA as an adversary in terms of trade.
Second: there is no guarantee Donald Trump is re-elected in November 2020 in spite of numbers showing that is much more likely, especially after the ‘impeachment saga’.
Third: Trump’s isolationist and adversarial global trade stance has created new synergies that make the global trading blocs equally isolationist and inward-looking.
The new trade wars will be between super regions, not individual countries. Still, it will be interesting to observe how the Trump – Johnson Axis evolves in terms of enabling and ensuring a successful Brexit.
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