Let’s toy with this idea for a few minutes.
It all hinges on the election of Donald Trump as President of the US. Love him or hate him, the man is different. There would certainly have been no surprises if Hillary had cut the ribbon first; things would have continued the way they had been going with Obama except maybe at a much accelerated pace.
Trump calls Putin and true to his pre-election promise, he seeks rapprochement and cooperation with what both Obama and even more vehemently Clinton vilified as the Demon himself [Putin]. The world, at least the world outside the US, breathes a sigh of relief as there was not much doubt where pre-Trump US rhetoric was leading us towards. Now, at least in words, we have two superpowers that are showing a willingness to cut a deal and work together as “two equals”. No mention of “exceptional and indispensable nation” so far.
The UK, finding itself a little isolated since that memorable decision of the British people to opt for the Brexit, swallows all the slanging of Trump prior to the elections in the US and rushes PM May to Washington to be the first world leader, the first ally to meet with Trump, the new Commander in Chief, to make sure that Britain’s position as “First Lieutenant” of the US is not at risk. Britain has not objected to any US initiative and not taken any of its own, without the prior approval of Washington, since the fiasco of the Suez Canal in the sixties. British politicians can write a book on kissing American ass. Theresa May and her poodle Boris Johnson will fall in whatever line the new American Administration cares to draw and can now afford to turn their noses up at the EU snobs that have been shunning them recently. They are now well in with the “boss” and that boss isn’t taking any crap from European minions; not when he knows they are depended on him for so much.
Theresa has cozied up to Donald unlike Angela who still thinks she can dictate her terms. What Frau Merkel fails to realise is that the elections in the US are over; there is no more campaigning for her favourite candidate, she’s out; consigned to the trashcan of history and unless something catastrophic happens, as suggested by some German newspaper editors, like “an assassination in the White House”, Trump will lead the US and indeed the western alliance for the next four years. Unless the Europeans, under the sub-leadership of Germany, stop for a minute and take stock of their situation, they will find themselves bypassed in major decisions that doubtless affect them too. Trump is not a benevolent forgiving boss; he’s egocentric and dictatorial; he may forgive if his subordinates line up to pledge their allegiance to him, but he certainly does not forget. His new Ambassador to the UN has said it clearly: “We are taking names and will respond accordingly.”
What if in the next few weeks Trump unilaterally decides to lift US sanctions on Russia, as has already been hinted? How will the European minions react? Will Merkel keep to her promise to continue with the self-damaging European sanctions? Without the US moral support and approval that was a given under Obama and would have been enthusiastically provided by Clinton? That would depend on the catastrophic stubbornness of the Frau who may not realise when to quit and cut her losses. It would also mean either the “isolation” or the de-facto dissolution of the EU.
Trump may not have any experience in politics but he’s a fast learner. I reckon he’s already figured out that politics is not that different to business; it’s all about clinching the deal and right now, there’s a good deal in the making between the US and Russia. Trump will ignore the small-fry he already owns and go straight to the highest bidder; and that, is Putin.