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What does a Donald Trump win mean for the UK?

By Dino Groshell Dec 16, 2016
Photo by Michael Vadon

2016 is definitely a year full of surprises, isn’t it? First, the UK voted to leave the EU and now, on November 8, Donald Trump sent shockwaves through the political establishment when he defeated Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. What is fascinating is that every polls showed Hillary Clinton leading and no one expected Trump to win. But now that he won, the question is how will Donald Trump election victory effect the UK? This is rather difficult to assess because Trump is a wild character but I will try my best.

Rise of the far-right

It is thought that Trump’s election victory will contribute to the rise of the far-right in the U.K and the EU. Donald Trump and Nigel Farage are good friends. In fact, Farage was the first UK politicians to speak to Trump after he won the election. Now, this is an extremely worrisome situation to be in because both Farage and Trump share the same views on many things. They both want to dramatically reduce the number of immigration. They both oppose refugees. They both want to privatise the healthcare  system. Since Trump and Farage are good friends, there is a chance Republican Party and UKIP will be working together. For example, policy exchanges. We may also see more UKIP MPs entering the parliament. This is because the Republican Party in the US supports UKIP, and Nigel Farage is their guest speaker for many conventions dating back to 2013.

Trade deals post-Brexit

We do not know what Trump’s position on trade deals is. He continuously went about how much he hates multi-national trade deals but he never explained about the trade deals he favours. He went on a rant on how much he hates NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement) and the TTIP (The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), which he called “rape of our country”. It is uncertain what Trump’s trade policies will be in the future. However, Trump has made sure that he “loves Britain” and he repeatedly said that Britain “would not be at the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the US. However, the UK cannot immediately start negotiating trade deals with the US or any other countries while still being member of the EU. Recently, the High Court has said Article 50 cannot be triggered without a vote in the parliament. So, we will have to wait couple of years to make trade deals with the US.

NATO and military alliance

Trump has a complicated stance with NATO, which the UK is a member of.  Trump repeatedly said that he might not come to the aid of NATO allies if they were attacked. This, however, will be a violation of NATO’s Article 5 on defence, which states that an “armed attack against one or more of them [members] in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all”. This is why NATO was involved in Afghanistan and War on Terror when US was attacked on September 11, 2001. Let’s say, if the UK got in to confrontation with Russia, which is likely to happen since Vladimir Putin has been sending war plans to the UK’s airspace, there is a chance that US under President Trump will not intervene. This is a scary situation.

The Special Relationship

Finally, the special relationship between the UK and the US. For those who do not know, the UK and the US have a special political relationship dating back to the WWII era. This relationship was strengthened during the Cold War and especially during the Reagan and Thatcher years. Both countries share highly-sensitive security materials, including nuclear codes. However, this special relationship could turn sour in the future. This is because Trump has friendship with leaders of authoritarian states like Vladimir Putin. He also said he will bring back torture and said he will do much worse than waterboarding.

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