What does Trump victory mean for UK-US ‘special relationship’?

© Stefan Wermuth
As property tycoon Donald Trump is named the next president of the United States following a fraught election campaign, RT asks what his rise to power means for the oft-cited, yet ill-defined, ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US.

Prime Minister Theresa May says she will speak to Trump at the earliest opportunity.

Britain and the United States have an enduring and special relationship based on the values of freedom, democracy and enterprise,” she said in a statement issued by Downing Street.

We are, and will remain, strong and close partners on trade, security and defence.

I look forward to working with President-elect Donald Trump, building on these ties to ensure the security and prosperity of our nations in the years ahead,” she added.

In a clear break with the sentiments of former Prime Minister David Cameron, who once branded Trump “divisive,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he feels the two countries’ paths still lie together.

Brexit

On the question of Brexit, many commentators see potential gains for Britain.

While outgoing President Barack Obama opposed Britain’s decision to leave the EU and warned it would leave the UK at “the back of the queue” for trade deals, Trump was an outspoken supporter of the move and said the country would be “treated fantastically.

It is unclear as to what extent his view on Brexit has been informed by his business portfolio in the UK, which includes two golf courses in Scotland.

At the same time Trump has struck a protectionist tone throughout his campaign, in particular on issues such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Military alliance

Trump has frequently spoken warmly of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This may jar with the increasingly hostile UK view of Russia in recent years.

He has also been openly critical of NATO, lamenting the failure of European member states to pull their weight in the military alliance. Britain is one of the few countries to meet the symbolic commitment of 2 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) paid to NATO annually.

In terms of the Middle East, where the UK has been wholeheartedly engaged in unpopular wars, effectively under US command, Trump’s rhetoric has been at times contradictory.

His comments have swung between calls to bring troops home from foreign engagements to suggesting he would consider hitting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) with a nuclear weapon.