Why Theresa May’s Threat To Leave The Single Market Demonstrates Political Weakness

UK Prime Minister Theresa May has now indicated that she is willing to leave the EU Single Market. While many see this as something positive, the reality of her position shows profound political weakness and lack of resolve. It shows that she definitely studied at the failed David Cameron school of negotiation.

She is obliged by the Referrendum result to not just to threaten to leave things like the Single Market but to actually leave. The British people voted to leave the EU and the Single Market is the most significant part, and in fact the central pillar, of the EU.

If the UK does not leave the Single Market then the confidence of the British People in democracy will be lost and the political class will lose all legitimacy. That would be a very dangerous condition in which to put a country that already holds the political class in contempt.

A far more effective negotiating position would be to say that the UK WILL leave the Single Market and is willing to risk a trade war with the EU if the EU discriminates against the UK with regard to trade.

The EU claims to be a force for world peace and history shows that free trade is the most significant guarantor for such peace. Recent EU rhetoric about “punishing” the UK is offensive and indication of belligerency by the EU. So much for its peaceful pronouncements!

The EU’s aggressive eastern expansionism, and its desire to incorporate the Ukraine into its imperial project, has already alienated an otherwise peaceful Russia. It cannot afford to do the same on its Western flank to a country that merely wants to be its friend and to engage in peaceful free trade.

In any case, an EU that does not accept free trade with an independent Britain is an EU that is doomed. The EU is currently in a very vulnerable political and geostrategic position and Theresa May should exploit this and call the EU’s bluff. If the EU does not achieve a favourable trade deal with the UK the the whole EU project will fail.

The EU is on the brink of the abyss and it is in no position to dictate terms! There is too much emphasis on what the EU can do to the UK in the short term. Buying into this narrative would be a serious mistake with regard to the forthcoming negotiations.

Theresa May seriously needs to up her game to get the best deal for Britain!

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Trump’s One China Gambit and the Genius of Bargaining With Nothing!

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Donald Trump claims that Mexico will pay for the boarder defences that he plans to build on his country’s southern border. Today we get a glimpse of Trump’s strategic thinking and deal making genius, that maybe, just maybe might be applied to his most noteworthy proposed building project.

A few weeks ago he caused a furore when he made a simple telephone call to the leader of Taiwan. This tiny act upset the diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Previous administrations had followed a policy of not officially recognising Taiwan as a truly independent nation. This was a wink and a nod to the Chinese claim that Taiwan is nothing more than a rebellious Chinese province, even though in every real sense Taiwan is a country like any other. Trump’s phone call implied that he would be willing to recognise Taiwan as a fully independent nation.

However, in recent remarks, President Elect Trump appears to be suggesting that the One China Policy will be left intact, but perhaps only if the Chinese make some reasonable minor concessions in trading arrangements. The subheading on an article posted today on The Guardian website makes this exact point: “President-elect also hints that Beijing will need to show good faith on trade practices for him to commit to ‘One China’ policy”

This “hint” by Trump about future US relations with China, also gives us a glimpse of Trump’s strategic thinking and deal making genius. By taking part in the telephone call he uses something that is supposedly settled, the One China Policy, disrupts it and then puts a price on returning it to a state of normality.

The costs are all on China’s side and the net benefits are all American. If the One China Policy is ended then China would lose face, something that no Chinese leader is keen to endure. It might also encourage instability in some of China’s currently “non rebellious” provinces. Trump has already resolved to adjust what he sees as unfavourable trading relations with China, what he has done now is given himself and extra bargaining chip and doing so for free. The chip doesn’t even need to be played, and probably shouldn’t be played, but nevertheless remains in play.

Trump’s One China Gambit, gives an insight into how he will make Mexico pay for “The Wall”. He has definitely mastered the art of using absolutely nothing as leverage. All I can say is that I wish that my own country had a leader with such gifts and such commitment to the national interest. But, you never know, Theresa May could still surprise us in her dealings with the EU!

Trump is showing he can play the game that China and Russia have themselves played and perfected over the years, and to do so with equal or perhaps even superior skill.