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29 January, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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Old wine in new bottle

Theresa May is suffering from the same illusion that Trump will share American glory with Britain, but Trump, like the other two ex-Presidents- Regan and Bush– may only treat Britain as just another American ally
Abdul Gaffar Choudhury
Old wine in new bottle

The demise of the Ottoman Empire was once the turning point in the history of the world. Following it the British Empire became the unrivalled world power. This change, however, did not create any uncertainty in the power politics of the world. After the Second World War when the demise of the British Empire became quite apparent there was a possibility of an emergent power vacuum in the world. But America very quickly filled that gap and emerged as a new empire. At first people used to call it Anglo-American Empire, but very soon the word Anglo was dropped and it was simply called American Imperialism. For a few years Britain tried to retain its imperial status by competing with America till the Suez War of 1956. But after losing India, the Jewel in the crown, they gradually realized their position and became junior partner of the American domain.

As long the former Soviet Union was present in the stage of world politics, Britain and other west European countries were a partner of Washington in the battle against Communism. After the collapse of the Soviet Union America became the lone superpower and Britain became more subservient to American supremacy. Traditionally, British Labour Party had a left-leaning and did not want to play a subservient role under America. Britain, under a Labour Government first opposed to join in the Vietnam War. But its independent stand did not last very long. Under the leadership of Tony Blair Labour lost its original character and became a shadow Tory party. Although under the present Corbin leadership Labour is again reasserting its former role but the party is almost divided now. 
Tony Blair created a new party inside Labour which is known as the Blairite group, who are not very loyal to the original ideals of the Labour Party. New Labour is now defunct, but Blairites are still active inside the Labour. Blair joined hands with American President George Bush Junior and created havoc in the Middle-east on the false claim of Iraq possessing weapon of mass destruction. The world at large is still suffering from the aftermath of that havoc. Blair did not realize that Britain is no more an imperial power and that he could not play the role of Churchill. On the other hand, George Bush had no talents and pragmatism like President Roosevelt. Bush-Blair had made a mess in the world affairs which has affected the world leadership of America and global capitalism is now passing through a series of depressions.
There is a saying that economic depression and crisis leads a country towards extremism. Donald Trump, a very controversial figure, could only make his way into the White House with pronounced extreme policies for this depression and crisis in the American economy. His slogan is -'America first', and he wants to take America towards isolationism. At the same time, Britain has also swung towards isolationism as Brexit gained ground and Britain decided to leave the European Union in a plebiscite. Now, the American nation is divided on the question of Trump Presidency and the British nation is also divided on the question of Brexit. Donald Trump is a supporter of Brexit and has assured Britain to keep a strong tie with them. The British Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May has rushed to meet Trump and they met last Friday night. May said that she will build special relationship with Trump. In reply to the question that how can they work together since both the leaders' characters are basically different, May replied, 'Opposites attract'. Her critics are asking how she can work with a man who declares, 'Torture works' and ordered to build a wall in Mexican border in the name of stopping the flow of immigration? Moreover, he has given order not to allow immigrants from a number of countries including war-devastated Syria and Iraq.
May said, that she and Trump may have different views, but they can lead the world together after his election win and the Brexit vote. She praised Trump saying, 'His victory was rooted not in the corridors of Washington, but in the hopes and aspiration of the working men and women across the land. As we renew the promise of our nations to make them stronger at home, let us renew the relationship that can lead the world towards the promise of freedom and prosperity.' The British PM of course mildly criticized President Trump on his opposition to Iran deal and his pro-Russian policy. But nobody expects that she could influence the President to change his mind. Many observers think that she might be forced to toe his line just like her predecessor Tony Blair who could not change George Bush but offered his loyalty to him unconditionally. Tony Blair thought that George Bush as the leader of a super power will share the world leadership with Britain, but ultimately he became a stooge of Bush and Bush did not care to inform him when his army attacked Iran at midnight.
Theresa May may suffer from the same daydream that Trump will share American glory with Britain, but Trump, like the other two ex-Presidents- Regan and Bush may only treat Britain as merely America’s obedient ally. Regan invaded an ex-British colony which was a member of the Commonwealth without informing Britain. It was reported that the Queen was so angered by the American invasion that she rebuked her the-then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. T
he new Labour under Blair, did not take lessons from history. After the Second World War in which Britain and America fought jointly, when America invented the atom bomb, the-then British Prime Minister Clement Attlee requested President Truman to give Britain the secret formula of making the atom bomb, which America bluntly refused. In the present time also if Trump's America go for isolationism and Britain's Theresa May fail to make a respectable deal with the European Union, then her dependence on America will be absolute and Trump will treat her as George Bush treated Tony Blair. 
British Supreme court did not make it easy for Theresa May to execute her Brexit plan. Court said that government should take prior approval from the parliament about the timing and its other conditions about Brexit. Complying with this court directive May government prepared a bill to trigger the Article 50 Exit Clause and finally put it before the parliament on 26th January, Thursday. But there were protests among the MPs of both Tory and Labour parties. Labour MPs were instructed to support the bill. But at least two Labour MPs did not follow the party dictates including Tulip Siddique, who resigned from Labour's Shadow Cabinet in protest against the party's decision. 
Trump's victory in election with ultra-nationalistic 'America first' slogan has divided the American nation. Similarly Brexit has also divided British people and politics. Nobody knows where Trump's isolationism would lead America and nobody can predict where Brexit will lead Britain. To join European Union Britain once made the Common­wealth a chattering club. Now they are leaving European Union. Some British political observers fear that this will make Britain more dependent on American whims. 
The division among both nations will not strengthen their leadership in the democratic world. Some observers say that the special relationship that Theresa May is attempting to renew with America is in reality the same relationship of obedience that both Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair ended building up. If that happens it will merely be old wine in a new bottle which may not help the world to reorganize its democratic future.

 London, 27 January, 2017

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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