An Agreement forged in Hell: US/UK Free Trade Treaty?
The Covid19 Pandemic is revealing some very vivid differences between nations influenced by a whole number of interrelated factors:
- The influence of Neo-liberal, individualistic, Free Market dogmas has had an almost entirely malign effect in different countries abilities to cope with the pandemic. The USA and Britain can be taken as one example. The ability of their governments to cope has been almost totally undermined by the dismantling of the public sector apparatus. The one advantage that Britain has over the US is the survival of the free at the point of use National Health Service in hospitals and in a network of local surgeries. However, the care sector running homes and providing support for the sick and elderly was (disgracefully) ignored by government. Also neither the US and British governments have been able to provide effective leadership in coping with the pandemic, or source supplies of essential equipment. In Britain, government stocks of essential equipment seem to have been run down and become obsolete in warehouses.
- By contrast, nations based on collaborative, mixed market ideas, such as the Scandinavian countries; and in its own way the European Union, which is struggling towards a more unified and supportive strategy, with integrated attacks on the Pandemic and support for weaker members
- Those nations that have been misled by autocrats or have adopted “Go it Alone” strategies are suffering alone. Britain is facing the terrible prospect of Brexit, at the best of times a disaster waiting to happen; now a full-blown catastrophe on top of the Pandemic, given the terrible and probably long lasting effects of leaving the European Union. The US seems to be hell-bent on removing support from many essential international alliances and supranational bodies.
And now, the two international pariahs seem to be angling towards a free trade agreement??
The two countries most blighted by neo-liberalism seem to be angling for a Free Trade agreement, probably driven by President Trump’s paranoia about China, and particularly his desperation to find something or someone to blame for the blight suffered by the US following its inept performance in dealing with the Coronavirus.
Both the UK and the US are in danger of suffering from acute isolation, the UK by its near-suicidal decision to leave the European Union, its biggest trading partner by far, and the Trump administration’s “America First” isolationist policies. One effect is to leave the field open to the Chinese government to vastly increase its political and economi9c dominance
The idea that any good can come out of a treaty between these two dysfunctional nations stretches the imagination – in particular because it would leave Britain at the mercy of a far bigger and narcissistically self-interested ally in the United States under its current leadership. Even if the US administration was to change at the next election, the damage left behind will take years to overcome as the country is hugely split politically and economically.