US National Security Advisor John Bolton with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 10 Downing Street, London, August 13, 2019
UK newspapers were filled on Tuesday with the declaration of US National Security Advisor John Bolton that Britain is “at the front of the queue” for a trade deal after No Deal Brexit, and that initial sector-by-sector agreements can be reached quickly.
So what’s going on given that: 1) Bolton has no trade portfolio; 2) any trade deal is expected to take years to negotiate; and 3) talks cannot begin until after a UK crash-out from the European Union?
EA’s David Dunn and I explain to BBC outlets how the Trump Administration are using the “Wizard of Oz” deal: 1) to undermine the European Union; 2) to get London’s support for hard US foreign policy lines against countries such as Iran and China.
Bolton and Trump’s inner circle want a No Deal Brexit, and have worked with Boris Johnson for almost a year to get him into Number 10 [as Prime Minister], because they want to weaken the European Union. They see the EU as a rival, not an ally.
The Americans will extract a cost for any deal that they do with the UK. The first price is that they will demand a fealty in foreign policy. If the Americans give us what they regard as a preferential deal, they will expect the UK to fall into line on leaving the Iran nuclear deal, on boycotting Chinese technology in the form of Huawei, and a variety of other matters.