HAYES IN THE HOUSE:Trump’s record stands up far better than critics acknowledge.
The President of the United States, whoever the incumbent happens to be, is often described as the ‘leader of the free world’, simply because America is the world’s most powerful democracy – who governs there matters to us all.
Whatever the validity of President Trump’s claims about vote rigging – and, given the Democrats’ history, he may have legitimate grounds for suspicion – what’s done is done. The legal route Mr Trump seems determined to pursue is unlikely to make much difference and it would be wise for him to acknowledge the result and leave office graciously.
Regardless of the limitations of the American electoral system – which certainly compares unfavourably to our own – the ‘special relationship’ between our nations both helped to secure victory in the last world war and to ensure, through NATO, lasting peace since. Britain’s relations with America are longer lasting than any President, any Prime Minister or the personal chemistry between them.
President Trump’s record stands up to scrutiny far better than his left wing critics acknowledge. On his watch, unemployment fell, taxes were cut and incomes rose, whilst his interventions in the Middle East brought impressive results and his tough treatment of authoritarian China came as a breath of fresh air after the acquiescent weakness of the Obama years.
Yet, Mr Trump’s bombast, even though it inspired many Americans – after all he did win 70 million votes and triumph in 25 states – was sufficiently unappealing for enough Republicans to allow Mr Biden to build an electoral coalition stretching from the left to the centre and beyond. Donald Trump’s legacy will be squandered unless he now acts with dignity and grace – neither of which are his strongest suits!
It won’t be straightforward for Boris Johnson to build a personal rapport with Joe Biden, not only because of the President elect’s uncertain view of the UK, but also because Democrats are suspicious of the bond which our Prime Minister formed with Mr Trump. Nevertheless, the American establishment values Britain’s influence, in particular through the Commonwealth.
Most significant of all, as the world faces the ruthless power of China and Russia, is the close cooperation between our security services, critical to the safety of both nations and others too. The ‘five eyes’ security partnership is at the core of our international intelligence capability; the ‘eyes’ being: The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
Cooperation between these five free nations, rooted in sharing skills and data, is the most effective way to guard against the perpetual threat of terrorism, including the worldwide menace of Islamism, which tragically has taken the lives of nine people on the continent in the last month.
Indeed, as national ‘lockdowns’ intensify introspection, so enabling radical recruiters to prey on vulnerable individuals by stoking grievance and frustration, the battle against those who claim infallibility to enslave others will take a new turn.
The next President and his team appreciate the significance of shared security as well as America ever has. So the job of our Government is to consider ways in which the new beginning in America can be the start of an even stronger partnership with our friends across the Atlantic. Encouraged by Mr Biden’s pledge to govern for all, the task ahead of us is to make our relationship more ‘special’ than ever.