While Americans are holding their breath awaiting the results of the U.S. presidential election, many capitals in the world are concerned about the recent past and future of American democracy. London is perhaps one of the most concerned capitals, expending immense attention on the results of this disputable and contentious presidential election. British politicians resorted to silence rather than express choices in favor of either candidate before the results are official.
It is no coincidence that London is anxiously awaiting to learn who will occupy the White House for the next four years. It is not because Britain particularly cares about American democracy or Americans; rather, it is the unprecedented circumstances swaying the United Kingdom (UK) including exiting the European Union, the uptick in the Covid-19 pandemic, and the final stages of completing a possible trade agreement with the United States.
What is interesting about these dynamics is that British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, prefers President Trump to win reelection. The reason is that Trump’s second term provides Johnson an economic outlet after the UK exits the European Union with no deal. As a nation, Great Britain prefers Biden as a president who will be in position to repair the damage between London and Washington, both diplomatically, security and defense.
This comes on the heels on how British citizens view their prime minister as "British Trump" given his governance and populist style. Leaked information during a closed-door meeting reported that Johnson praised and stroke Mr. Trump’s ego describing him as the man who would restore power and greatness to the United States. Sadly, reality suggests otherwise given how the U.S. is United Kingdom perceived around the world.
It is not a rosy picture when considering the leaked information suggesting that Mr. Trump shouted and hang up the phone on Johnson once Trump learned of London’s decision to grant the license to equip the infrastructure of the fifth generation of the Internet, to the Chinese company Huawei, despite all the American warnings of this decision. Oddly, retired MI6 director, Sir Alex Younger has argued against this fear mongering toward China. All this truly shows how insignificant the U.S. has become.
Similarly, the United Kingdom decided not to support the United States sanctions against Iran despite Washington’s tactics to woo the UK. Rather than be persuaded by the US, the UK decided to side with the Europeans. That event was a diplomatic disaster for the U.S.!
It appears that the harmony between Johnson and Trump, on many issues, does not reflect how the Brits view Mr. Trump. A recent PEW Research Center study shows that only 19% expressed confidence in Trump! Clearly a very low margin by any political standards.
The other argument, involving Biden, is: The election of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden as the next U.S. president would be seen as an opportunity to the U.S. and UK to repair their relations. While all this is good, Biden may not forget Johnson’s mockery of former U.S. President Obama, who was opposed to Brexit, at the time when Johnson stated, "Obama opposes Brexit because of his Kenyan origins.”
It is my opinion that not only the UK, but key European countries, France and Germany, would prefer to see Biden win the U.S. presidential election. Biden's arrival at the White House, however, could give Britain an unprecedented diplomatic opportunity to return to the international arena, as the UK will be the host country for next year's Global Climate Summit.
While all await the result of the U.S. presidential election, the UK prime minister appears to have his own calculations, evidenced by postponing the decision to leave the European Union, with or without an agreement. Doing so allows him to see which direction the political winds in American politics are blowing for the trade agreement with the Americans.