Sakset/Fra hofta

Donald Trump, Nigel Farage og Boris Johnson. Fotografier: Carlos Barria, Hannah McKay og Andrew Yates / Reuters / Scanpix.

USAs president Donald Trump reiser mandag på statsbesøk til Storbritannia, og har i forkant av besøket gitt et langt intervju til Sunday Times i Washington, der han roser Nigel Farage og Boris Johnson, og oppfordrer britene til å forlate EU uten avtale dersom unionen ikke går med på Storbritannias krav.

The Donald har ikke mye godt å si om Labour-leder Jeremy Corbyn, som allerede har kunngjort at han kommer til å boikotte statsmiddagen med den amerikanske presidenten hos dronningen i Buckingham Palace mandag kveld. Trump antyder med en for ham sedvanlig frittalenhet at han ville nøle med å dele svært sensitiv amerikansk etterretning med en Corbyn-ledet britisk regjering.

Asked about Corbyn’s Marxist economics and previous associations with terrorist groups such as Hamas and the IRA, Trump said: “I think he is probably making a mistake.

“We are very, very good for the UK if you look at what we do for the UK in terms of many things, including — obviously — the military [and] intelligence as well . . . I would think that somebody in that position would want to and have to get along with the United States.”

Asked if he would have qualms about sharing the most secret intelligence with a Corbyn government, Trump made clear it would be conditional: “I would have to know him. I would have to meet. I don’t know him but I would certainly — before I would answer that question I would have to get to know him a little bit.”

Under besøket skal Trump møte statsminister Theresa May, men med tanke på at hun er på vei ut av Downing Street, vil de viktigste samtalene være myntet på hennes potensielle etterfølgere. Sentralt står spørsmålet om Kina:

Behind the scenes there will be tense exchanges over security. Trump made clear that he intends to press the government to tear up a plan to give the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei access to Britain’s future 5G mobile phone network. He called on Britain to seek “alternatives” to the Chinese firm and “be very careful”.

Last year America passed legislation banning Huawei from doing business with the federal government. Last month Huawei was banned from Google’s Android platform. At a meeting of Britain’s National Security Council in April, May ignored the objections of five cabinet colleagues and cleared the way for Huawei to play a role in Britain’s 5G plans. She then sacked one of the rebels, defence secretary Gavin Williamson, who she blamed for leaking the decision.

Sunday Times’ politiske redaktør Tim Shipman konstaterer at presidentens kontante verbale stil er uvanlig fra en statsleder rett før en viktig diplomatisk begivenhet: Trump nøler ikke med å gi britene råd om hvordan de skal håndtere utmeldelsen av EU i oktober, som er ny deadline, og anbefaler en hard Brexit:

Trump was quick to offer advice to the next prime minister on how to go about it, urging May’s successor to go for a no-deal Brexit by the end of October. “If they don’t get what they want, I would walk away,” he said. “Yes, I would walk away. If you don’t get the deal you want, if you don’t get a fair deal, then you walk away.”

Britene bør ikke betale regningen EU forlanger, mener han:

“If I were them, I wouldn’t pay 50 billion dollars,” he said. “That is a big number. I wouldn’t pay 50 billion dollars. That is me. I would not pay — that is a tremendous number.”

Storbritannia burde involvere Brexit-general Nigel Farage i forhandlinger med EU, sier Trump:

Of the Tories’ refusal to find a role for Farage, the president said: “I think it is a mistake. He has a lot to offer. He is a very smart person. They won’t bring him in. Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven’t figured that out yet.”

Trump er derimot kritisk til hvordan May har håndtert Brexit:

[H]e did little to hide his view that the prime minister had botched the talks by failing to put the EU under pressure, leaving them “with all the cards”.

“I just think it is very hard for the UK to get a good deal when you go into negotiation that way,” he said.

“At the same time, I can’t blame the European Union because they had very little to lose. They had no downside. That is why they were . . . willing to give so little . . . It was always so tough.”

En hard Brexit vil sette Storbritannia i stand til å handle mye mer med USA, sier Trump, som mener dette vil mer enn oppveie for redusert handel med EU.

Trump ser for seg at Boris Johnson ville bli en utmerket statsminister i Storbritannia:

His words about Boris Johnson could not have been more effusive, describing him as “a friend” who “would do a very good job — he would be excellent”.

Presidenten skal også møte prins Charles under besøket. The Donald vil ikke ha noe klimaprat:

Prince Charles is likely to raise the thorny issue of climate change. Trump insisted “I like Charles” but made clear he will not be lectured about America’s refusal to sign up to the Paris agreement.

Et amerikansk statsbesøk i USA ville i mer normale tider enn våre ha vært en mer rutinemessig affære, men dette er ikke normale tider: Den amerikanske administrasjonen vet nøyaktig hva den vil, og legger overhodet ikke skjul på det. I Storbritannias politiske establishment er man derimot desorienterte, rådville og famlende.

Vil britene erkjenne at det Trump sier, er fornuftig, eller vil de stritte imot ham av ren trass, for i stedet å føye seg etter det kontinentale Europa? Svaret på spørsmålet får stor strategisk betydning.

 

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