“Our message got through to The Hill,” says a Whitehall official working on the protocol negotiations. “The understanding that something has to change has increased.”
The idea of a “landing zone” has also caught DC’s attention: a term used by both UK and EU officials to discuss areas of agreement and compromise on the protocol. Truss’s emphasis on commonalities between the UK and the bloc, including commitments to sovereignty, democracy and liberal economic visions, has helped build trust in DC that Britain is acting in good faith at the negotiating table.
None of this is to say that Biden will soon come out to point the finger at the EU for its dogmatic approach to protocol, the bloc’s refusal to budge, or to recognize Britain’s standards as broadly in line with its own.
From a purely political point of view, America is already in a midterm election mentality. Right now, Democrats are at a severe disadvantage as price spirals have been successfully blamed on Biden for his nearly $2 trillion stimulus package last year that carried major inflationary risks.
Biden still sees Irish Americans, particularly those who are strong advocates of their ancestry, as a not-so-minor base to turn to when it comes to turnout.
But he may not be as vocal in using the UK-EU negotiation process to secure it as it has become more difficult for the president to lecture Britain in recent months, as he did last year. This is mainly due to two factors: Russia’s war and internal struggles in the United States.
Britain has taken on the role of Ukraine’s leading ally and Russia’s loudest critic. This current dynamic suits Biden well, as American voters on left and right have turned to more dovish sentiment after decades of botched military interventions, not to mention the president’s abysmal attempt to pull out of Afghanistan.
As long as Britain assumes the international role of Ukraine’s most vocal ally (and allows the US to quietly fund Ukraine’s resistance), it will be much more difficult for Biden to point the finger at Johnson on foreign policy issues.
In addition, with domestic political implosions in the States, there is a risk that President Biden will point the finger at him. With America’s Roe v. Wade verdict awaited imminently by the Supreme Court, Biden could face accusations from the West that American women’s rights are being scaled back by 50 years, and he will seek in Congress to introduce legislation that will remove even the most basic provisions for this included access to abortion.
Meanwhile, America’s failure to address rising violence since the pandemic (firearm deaths from homicide and suicide will reach 20,000 in 2022 alone) has also hampered the President’s ability to make great peacekeeping comments, not least because he was back then served as vice president Democrats had a supermajority in Congress under President Obama, but failed to introduce meaningful legislation to address violence and mental health issues, which are rampant across America.
The Biden administration will never condone the UK acting unilaterally over the protocol. But the US’s relative silence on the issue now stands in stark contrast to the official demarche – a most unusual act between such close allies – that the US dished out over the protocol last year.
Some of this is due to a shift in perspective, some to the harsh political realities in the States. Anyhow, the US, taking a calmer approach, is giving the UK more room to maneuver – and to press the EU for a compromise.
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/06/17/joe-biden-no-longer-cheerleading-eu-northern-ireland/ Joe Biden is no longer cheerleading for the EU over Northern Ireland