World
Martin Sieff
March 5, 2021
© Photo: REUTERS/POOL New

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

Britain’s shameless tabloid newspapers still ludicrously try to sell dithering, panic-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Second Coming of Winston Churchill (The ‘Third’ Coming really since Margaret Thatcher beat him to it). But it is now hilariously clear that far from being Westminster’s new Iron Man, Boris is instead a spineless dessert of quivering blancmange.

Times are tough for Boris: After four years of sycophantic flattery he has dropped his old friend and champion, former US President Donald Trump under the bus in a desperate, even contemptible and spectacularly unsuccessful effort to curry favor with new President Joe Biden. However, this is a Mission Impossible if anything is. For Biden has inherited and is continuing the strongly anti-British prejudices of his old long-time boss Barack Obama.

Obama’s grandfather was tortured by the British Empire in Kenya in the 1950s when the Kenyans were desperately struggling for freedom from their colonial overlords. Obama openly despised British prime ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron and routinely humiliated them.

Now, Biden, only the second Irish-American president in US history after John Kennedy, has already made clear that improving relations with the European Union takes precedence for him far above bailing out desperate, isolated Britain.

In January, Biden shook the world by taking a decisive and unmistakable bold step in foreign policy: He removed the bust of Winston Churchill that his predecessor Trump had installed in the White House.

In doing so, Biden was once again loyal to the policies and values of his close friend former President Barack Obama whom he loyally served for eight years as vice president.

Obama humiliated three successive British prime ministers – Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May – by the offhand way he treated them as President, Before leaving office he praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel as by far his closest ally in Europe. No US-UK Special Relationship for him! For Johnson, who himself served as the always treacherous, always backstabbing foreign secretary to May, a treacherous Brutus to her own blissfully unaware, sleepwalking Julius Caesar, the lesson should have been clear.

For all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, the British media and popular culture remained in fascinating denial of every humiliation and shrug off that Obama dealt their long-proud nation. In one of his later novels, Frederick Forsyth, one of the best-selling spy and action popular novelists of all time, even portrayed Cameron and Obama having especially close personal ties as they waged happy war together on the Great Unwashed of the rest of the world.

Eager to find favor as a favored White House poodle, Gordon Brown, as prime minister sent Obama, the first African-American president, a president of a desk made from the timbers of a Royal Navy warship that had fought the Africa-to-America slave trade in the 19th century. Obama immediately banished it to the White House storerooms.

Trump like a most US conservatives revered Churchill (Britons are more divided, their grandparents and ancestors suffered or were needlessly killed by too many of his misadventures and bungles). He brought the bust of Churchill into the Oval Office. Biden, obviously made of more sensible stuff (He is, after all, an Irish-American) promptly through it out after he took the Oath of Office in January. It was one of the very first things he did as president.

Johnson, who made his political reputation as the King of Bluster did not exactly show Churchillian pride or backbone at this “outrage.”

“The Oval Office is the president’s private office and it’s up to the president to decorate as he wishes,” was the only comment the prime minister’s official spokesman expressed.

Yet back in 2009, Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, devoted an entire newspaper column to sneering at President Obama for getting rid of Churchill’s bust the first time. He called it a “snub” to Britain that was caused by the “part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.”

That was Johnson’s English elitist way of indirectly acknowledging that Obama’s paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who had fought for the British Empire against Japan in Burma in World War II, had been horrifically tortured during Kenya’s long, bitter struggle for freedom.

According to the testimony of surviving eyewitnesses, Hussein Obama was viciously whipped daily over a long period of time and permanently scarred. He may also have tortured with so-called castration pliers, a common British practice against jailed Kenyan freedom fighters at the time.

Biden is proud of both his Irish ancestry and his close friendship and partnership with Barack Obama, Only last year, Biden compared Boris Johnson to a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump. He has given no sign that he has revised that considered opinion.

On February 19, an increasingly desperate Johnson gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference trying to position himself as the optimistic champion of the transatlantic alliance between Europe and America that he himself by championing Brexit – the British withdrawal from the European Union against the repeatedly expressed warnings of Republican as well as Democratic foreign policymakers in Washington alike.

Johnson’s speech was predictably short on substance and relied instead on the frenetic optimism that has been the mark of all US presidents since Ronald Reagan.

“Let me respectfully suggest that the gloom has been overdone and we are turning a corner,” Johnson said. “And the countries we call the ‘West’ are drawing together and combining their formidable strengths and expertise once again, immensely to everybody’s benefit.”

This must have produced guffaws of raucous laughter in Paris, Brussels and Berlin where the Brexit (British exit from the EU) policies that Johnson used to topple David Cameron from power in 2016 and then become prime minister himself three years later have opened wider and deeper divisions between the Western European nations than anything since World War II. And Russia and China had nothing to do with any of them.

The clear, obvious reality is that Biden, loyal to Barack Obama’s precedent in European affairs as in so much else, is giving priority to restoring close ties with Germany, France and the European Union. Britain is not anywhere among his priorities. And he will not trust Johnson to his dying day. And if Vice President Kamala Harris from California eventually succeeds Biden, there is even less likelihood that she will see any “Special Relationship” with Britain as necessary or even desirable.

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

Why the Special Relationship Won’t Rescue Britain and Boris Johnson

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

Britain’s shameless tabloid newspapers still ludicrously try to sell dithering, panic-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Second Coming of Winston Churchill (The ‘Third’ Coming really since Margaret Thatcher beat him to it). But it is now hilariously clear that far from being Westminster’s new Iron Man, Boris is instead a spineless dessert of quivering blancmange.

Times are tough for Boris: After four years of sycophantic flattery he has dropped his old friend and champion, former US President Donald Trump under the bus in a desperate, even contemptible and spectacularly unsuccessful effort to curry favor with new President Joe Biden. However, this is a Mission Impossible if anything is. For Biden has inherited and is continuing the strongly anti-British prejudices of his old long-time boss Barack Obama.

Obama’s grandfather was tortured by the British Empire in Kenya in the 1950s when the Kenyans were desperately struggling for freedom from their colonial overlords. Obama openly despised British prime ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron and routinely humiliated them.

Now, Biden, only the second Irish-American president in US history after John Kennedy, has already made clear that improving relations with the European Union takes precedence for him far above bailing out desperate, isolated Britain.

In January, Biden shook the world by taking a decisive and unmistakable bold step in foreign policy: He removed the bust of Winston Churchill that his predecessor Trump had installed in the White House.

In doing so, Biden was once again loyal to the policies and values of his close friend former President Barack Obama whom he loyally served for eight years as vice president.

Obama humiliated three successive British prime ministers – Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May – by the offhand way he treated them as President, Before leaving office he praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel as by far his closest ally in Europe. No US-UK Special Relationship for him! For Johnson, who himself served as the always treacherous, always backstabbing foreign secretary to May, a treacherous Brutus to her own blissfully unaware, sleepwalking Julius Caesar, the lesson should have been clear.

For all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, the British media and popular culture remained in fascinating denial of every humiliation and shrug off that Obama dealt their long-proud nation. In one of his later novels, Frederick Forsyth, one of the best-selling spy and action popular novelists of all time, even portrayed Cameron and Obama having especially close personal ties as they waged happy war together on the Great Unwashed of the rest of the world.

Eager to find favor as a favored White House poodle, Gordon Brown, as prime minister sent Obama, the first African-American president, a president of a desk made from the timbers of a Royal Navy warship that had fought the Africa-to-America slave trade in the 19th century. Obama immediately banished it to the White House storerooms.

Trump like a most US conservatives revered Churchill (Britons are more divided, their grandparents and ancestors suffered or were needlessly killed by too many of his misadventures and bungles). He brought the bust of Churchill into the Oval Office. Biden, obviously made of more sensible stuff (He is, after all, an Irish-American) promptly through it out after he took the Oath of Office in January. It was one of the very first things he did as president.

Johnson, who made his political reputation as the King of Bluster did not exactly show Churchillian pride or backbone at this “outrage.”

“The Oval Office is the president’s private office and it’s up to the president to decorate as he wishes,” was the only comment the prime minister’s official spokesman expressed.

Yet back in 2009, Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, devoted an entire newspaper column to sneering at President Obama for getting rid of Churchill’s bust the first time. He called it a “snub” to Britain that was caused by the “part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.”

That was Johnson’s English elitist way of indirectly acknowledging that Obama’s paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who had fought for the British Empire against Japan in Burma in World War II, had been horrifically tortured during Kenya’s long, bitter struggle for freedom.

According to the testimony of surviving eyewitnesses, Hussein Obama was viciously whipped daily over a long period of time and permanently scarred. He may also have tortured with so-called castration pliers, a common British practice against jailed Kenyan freedom fighters at the time.

Biden is proud of both his Irish ancestry and his close friendship and partnership with Barack Obama, Only last year, Biden compared Boris Johnson to a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump. He has given no sign that he has revised that considered opinion.

On February 19, an increasingly desperate Johnson gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference trying to position himself as the optimistic champion of the transatlantic alliance between Europe and America that he himself by championing Brexit – the British withdrawal from the European Union against the repeatedly expressed warnings of Republican as well as Democratic foreign policymakers in Washington alike.

Johnson’s speech was predictably short on substance and relied instead on the frenetic optimism that has been the mark of all US presidents since Ronald Reagan.

“Let me respectfully suggest that the gloom has been overdone and we are turning a corner,” Johnson said. “And the countries we call the ‘West’ are drawing together and combining their formidable strengths and expertise once again, immensely to everybody’s benefit.”

This must have produced guffaws of raucous laughter in Paris, Brussels and Berlin where the Brexit (British exit from the EU) policies that Johnson used to topple David Cameron from power in 2016 and then become prime minister himself three years later have opened wider and deeper divisions between the Western European nations than anything since World War II. And Russia and China had nothing to do with any of them.

The clear, obvious reality is that Biden, loyal to Barack Obama’s precedent in European affairs as in so much else, is giving priority to restoring close ties with Germany, France and the European Union. Britain is not anywhere among his priorities. And he will not trust Johnson to his dying day. And if Vice President Kamala Harris from California eventually succeeds Biden, there is even less likelihood that she will see any “Special Relationship” with Britain as necessary or even desirable.

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

Britain’s shameless tabloid newspapers still ludicrously try to sell dithering, panic-stricken Prime Minister Boris Johnson as the Second Coming of Winston Churchill (The ‘Third’ Coming really since Margaret Thatcher beat him to it). But it is now hilariously clear that far from being Westminster’s new Iron Man, Boris is instead a spineless dessert of quivering blancmange.

Times are tough for Boris: After four years of sycophantic flattery he has dropped his old friend and champion, former US President Donald Trump under the bus in a desperate, even contemptible and spectacularly unsuccessful effort to curry favor with new President Joe Biden. However, this is a Mission Impossible if anything is. For Biden has inherited and is continuing the strongly anti-British prejudices of his old long-time boss Barack Obama.

Obama’s grandfather was tortured by the British Empire in Kenya in the 1950s when the Kenyans were desperately struggling for freedom from their colonial overlords. Obama openly despised British prime ministers Gordon Brown and David Cameron and routinely humiliated them.

Now, Biden, only the second Irish-American president in US history after John Kennedy, has already made clear that improving relations with the European Union takes precedence for him far above bailing out desperate, isolated Britain.

In January, Biden shook the world by taking a decisive and unmistakable bold step in foreign policy: He removed the bust of Winston Churchill that his predecessor Trump had installed in the White House.

In doing so, Biden was once again loyal to the policies and values of his close friend former President Barack Obama whom he loyally served for eight years as vice president.

Obama humiliated three successive British prime ministers – Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Theresa May – by the offhand way he treated them as President, Before leaving office he praised German Chancellor Angela Merkel as by far his closest ally in Europe. No US-UK Special Relationship for him! For Johnson, who himself served as the always treacherous, always backstabbing foreign secretary to May, a treacherous Brutus to her own blissfully unaware, sleepwalking Julius Caesar, the lesson should have been clear.

For all eight years of the Obama-Biden administration, the British media and popular culture remained in fascinating denial of every humiliation and shrug off that Obama dealt their long-proud nation. In one of his later novels, Frederick Forsyth, one of the best-selling spy and action popular novelists of all time, even portrayed Cameron and Obama having especially close personal ties as they waged happy war together on the Great Unwashed of the rest of the world.

Eager to find favor as a favored White House poodle, Gordon Brown, as prime minister sent Obama, the first African-American president, a president of a desk made from the timbers of a Royal Navy warship that had fought the Africa-to-America slave trade in the 19th century. Obama immediately banished it to the White House storerooms.

Trump like a most US conservatives revered Churchill (Britons are more divided, their grandparents and ancestors suffered or were needlessly killed by too many of his misadventures and bungles). He brought the bust of Churchill into the Oval Office. Biden, obviously made of more sensible stuff (He is, after all, an Irish-American) promptly through it out after he took the Oath of Office in January. It was one of the very first things he did as president.

Johnson, who made his political reputation as the King of Bluster did not exactly show Churchillian pride or backbone at this “outrage.”

“The Oval Office is the president’s private office and it’s up to the president to decorate as he wishes,” was the only comment the prime minister’s official spokesman expressed.

Yet back in 2009, Johnson, who has written a biography of Churchill, devoted an entire newspaper column to sneering at President Obama for getting rid of Churchill’s bust the first time. He called it a “snub” to Britain that was caused by the “part-Kenyan president’s ancestral dislike of the British empire.”

That was Johnson’s English elitist way of indirectly acknowledging that Obama’s paternal grandfather Hussein Onyango Obama, who had fought for the British Empire against Japan in Burma in World War II, had been horrifically tortured during Kenya’s long, bitter struggle for freedom.

According to the testimony of surviving eyewitnesses, Hussein Obama was viciously whipped daily over a long period of time and permanently scarred. He may also have tortured with so-called castration pliers, a common British practice against jailed Kenyan freedom fighters at the time.

Biden is proud of both his Irish ancestry and his close friendship and partnership with Barack Obama, Only last year, Biden compared Boris Johnson to a “physical and emotional clone” of Donald Trump. He has given no sign that he has revised that considered opinion.

On February 19, an increasingly desperate Johnson gave a speech at the Munich Security Conference trying to position himself as the optimistic champion of the transatlantic alliance between Europe and America that he himself by championing Brexit – the British withdrawal from the European Union against the repeatedly expressed warnings of Republican as well as Democratic foreign policymakers in Washington alike.

Johnson’s speech was predictably short on substance and relied instead on the frenetic optimism that has been the mark of all US presidents since Ronald Reagan.

“Let me respectfully suggest that the gloom has been overdone and we are turning a corner,” Johnson said. “And the countries we call the ‘West’ are drawing together and combining their formidable strengths and expertise once again, immensely to everybody’s benefit.”

This must have produced guffaws of raucous laughter in Paris, Brussels and Berlin where the Brexit (British exit from the EU) policies that Johnson used to topple David Cameron from power in 2016 and then become prime minister himself three years later have opened wider and deeper divisions between the Western European nations than anything since World War II. And Russia and China had nothing to do with any of them.

The clear, obvious reality is that Biden, loyal to Barack Obama’s precedent in European affairs as in so much else, is giving priority to restoring close ties with Germany, France and the European Union. Britain is not anywhere among his priorities. And he will not trust Johnson to his dying day. And if Vice President Kamala Harris from California eventually succeeds Biden, there is even less likelihood that she will see any “Special Relationship” with Britain as necessary or even desirable.

For all the frantic flailing of their ministers and diplomats, the British today are irrelevant ghost-walkers in Biden’s Washington. And Boris Johnson has no one to blame for this but himself.

The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

See also

July 21, 2021

See also

July 21, 2021
The views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.