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Thursday, 1 June 2017

Lonely Boy

Recently, the German chancellor said: “The times in which we can fully count on others are somewhat over, as I have experienced in the past few days. We Europeans must really take our destiny in our own hands. Of course we need to have friendly relations with the US and with the UK and with other neighbours, including Russia. But we have to fight for our own future ourselves.”

The FT claims her speech was a blunder for 5 reasons: (1) the Trump presidency is only 4 months old, (2) European NATO spending is indeed mostly below 2%, (3) Trump’s non-endorsement of NATO’s article 5 was just an "error", (4) the German chancellor is sidelining the UK, and (5) comparing Russia, UK and USA is wrong.

The UK factor in reasons 2, 4 and 5 is intriguing. Trump’s non-endorsement of NATO’s article 5 (reason 3) is not an "error". It's a deliberate move in the Trump-Bannon Revolution of Disruption, Chaos and Destruction. The German chancellor must have seen that too. Reason 5 might be less “wrong” once the foreign interference in the crashing voter registration site, preceding the Brexit referendum, gets a proper investigation (eg, Guardian 1Electoral Commission, Guardian 2).

The UK has tested Europe’s loyalty ever since Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990). The Brexit referendum and the nasty divorce discussions have cast further doubt on UK's loyalty. The choice for Nationalism in the UK (Labour and Tories) and USA (Trump), collides with Europe's recent choice for Internationalism. The German chancellor must have noticed that too (eg, FT).

Indeed the Trump presidency is only 4 months old (20 January 2017) though its aftermath feels like more than a year. Trump's presidency may last several years as impeachment is difficult given the required supermajority of 2/3. The scenario of a retroactive annulment of Trump’s presidency is, however, getting more likely than his impeachment (eg, PBPR).

The renewed French-German axis is probably the main reason for the German chancellor’s words. There is a sudden window of opportunity in Europe that should be leveraged upon. The German chancellor 4th - and perhaps last - term, and the French president’s 1st term may create an unique opportunity for a joint historic legacy.

Such a cooperation would indeed sideline the UK. It should however be stressed - in all fairness – that the UK has sidelined itself from Europe decades ago. The recent observations by Tony Blair (Labour) and George Osborne (Tory) also stress the lack of Internationalism in the UK. Their choice for Nationalism indeed aligns Russia, UK and USA.

The renewed French-German axis, as well as Trump's America First approach leaves the UK alone. The special relationship between UK and USA was also rooted in UK's influence over Europe & EU. Without the UK taking the EU hostage, the UK doesn't add much to America First, or its special relationship. The UK is about to become a Lonely Boy.

Lonely Boy (1977) by Andrew Gold - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Lonely Boy (2011) by The Black Keys - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2