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Boris Johnson Must Change His Act

Summary:
The United Kingdom may struggle to forge a close and productive relationship with US President Joe Biden's administration. After all, Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has much to do to persuade the world that he does not regard Donald Trump as a fitting role model for a twenty-first-century liberal democracy. LONDON – Some of the United Kingdom’s right-wing newspapers – supporters of both Brexit and its principal advocate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson – have been quick to assure us that US President Joe Biden has already forgiven the Conservative government for its obsequious cheerleading for the departed Donald Trump. The new Democratic administration, they claim, will want to do business with a UK that is now

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The United Kingdom may struggle to forge a close and productive relationship with US President Joe Biden's administration. After all, Prime Minister Boris Johnson still has much to do to persuade the world that he does not regard Donald Trump as a fitting role model for a twenty-first-century liberal democracy.

LONDON – Some of the United Kingdom’s right-wing newspapers – supporters of both Brexit and its principal advocate, Prime Minister Boris Johnson – have been quick to assure us that US President Joe Biden has already forgiven the Conservative government for its obsequious cheerleading for the departed Donald Trump. The new Democratic administration, they claim, will want to do business with a UK that is now distanced from the European Union and ready to assume a new role as an influential global fixer.

Let’s hope those newspapers are correct. But Biden and his team will have to overlook quite a lot for the sake of such transatlantic goodwill. They will certainly have to turn the other cheek and forget about the UK government’s embrace of a policy that required special pleading to Trump rather than a special relationship with the United States.

That dispiriting story began with an embarrassed-looking Theresa May, Johnson’s predecessor, being told that the UK’s national interest required her to get along with the misogynist Trump. May was even prevailed upon to invite him to Britain for a sort of semi-state visit, without a carriage ride through London with the Queen but including a speech to both Houses of Parliament.

The then-Speaker of the House of...

Chris Patten
Associate Director of Design Thinking, Henry Ford Learning Institute. I use design to make complex issues more tangible and build empathy among stakeholders.

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