A new US President always brings a renewed sense of hope and optimism, not only to the 50 states themselves but across the globe. Another norm in the early days of any new administration is a jostling for position from foreign allies and diplomats, not only to secure the trophies of early phone calls and presidential visits, but to build common platforms and alliances for the longer term.
This time has been no different and whilst the UK government’s opening gambit has gained some momentum, a report by think tank Policy Exchange into the failings of the UK diplomatic corps of the last four years shines a stark light on the ground that needs to be gained. But where should that focus be?
As Biden settles into the Oval office, the new president inherits an in-tray and set of challenges like no-one before. Measured by the flurry of leather-bound executive orders signed on his 1st day in the office, managing the pandemic and reversing Trump’s position on climate change are the top priorities. It is of course the economy that was the biggest topic on voters’ minds as they went to the polls especially as US unemployment more than doubled in the last 12 months. With the incoming Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen making it clear that the domestic economy is the priority ahead of signing any free trade agreements, what does this and the UK’s diplomatic failings mean for a post Brexit US – UK trading relationship and the approach to a breakthrough?
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