søndag 19. juli 2020

Bullying Xi, predatory Trump: where does Britain turn in a divided world?

Life after divorce can be difficult. Having cut ties with the EU, its partner of 47 years, Britain’s new-minted relationship with China is in deep water. Tapping into Beijing’s enormous economic power is vital to Brexit’s success. But the relationship has soured. The spark has gone. The relatives don’t approve. Harsh words are flying. Boris Johnson is accused of two-timing China by succumbing to American pressure to break it off and backing Donald Trump’s electorally driven “new cold war”. Johnson would surely rather have it both ways. But he knows a show of defiance could wreck his other Brexit passion: a spanking new trade deal with the US.

What to do? Caught in this unlovely triangle, senior government officials are hedging their bets. On the face of it, they satisfied an importunate US last week by banning the Chinese telecoms firm Huawei from doing business in Britain.