Trump’s historic visit to the UK – protestors & high-minded editorials from the UK’s Guardian newspaper should not forget the importance of ‘realpolitik‘, the chance to influence events in a practical way. Although I’m no fan of Mr Trump & Mrs May, they are democratically elected leaders. By calling the UK a ‘vassal state‘, the Guardian is also guilty of peddling fake news. With Germany completely marginalized, the UK has a real opportunity to influence US policy, especially since Boris Johnson‘s departure. ‘Realpolitik’s’ a system of politics or principles based on practical rather than moral or ideological considerations. Surely, this was the objective of Brexit?
There is another thread, we should learn from the relationship of Angela Merkel and Donald Trump. Angela Merkel has been one of Germany’s most effective leaders since WWII, yet she has been isolated by Trump on trade and defense. With Merkel struggling to deliver NATO’s required 2% defense spending in the years ahead, Trump is now demanding 4% – this is totally unacceptable to German voters and her fragile coalition. If we fast-forward to the likelihood of Britain’s first Far-Left government, led by Jeremy Corbyn, it’s worth reflecting on the parallels with Germany under Merkel. As highlighted by the Economist, it’s easy to see Jeremy Corbyn slashing defense spending and drive Britain out of NATO, and possibly making the UK a vassal state of Russia or China. Let’s face it, Jeremy Corbyn does not have Angela Merkel’s leadership skills – he’s a protest politician, the polar opposite of a practitioner of realpolitik. So are we to conclude that Theresa May is right to be pragmatic, leaning towards realpolitik, given her difficult hand?