With the arrival of each new US president, the incumbent UK prime minster hopes to revitalise the UK–US ‘special relationship’ in defence and security. It has largely been missing in action since the heady days of the Reagan–Thatcher relationship.
Having failed to beat the EU to the Indo-Pacific, and with US–EU relations less than ideal ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration this month, the UK could carve out a niche in Asia by aligning with US policy.
It has become commonplace to suggest that British people today would not accept the levels of casualties suffered on the Western Front during the First World War. In Afghanistan the loss of 454 soldiers caused deep public unease. Yet already the UK has lost over 80,000 people to coronavirus and people have become accustomed to the tragic daily toll.
As the UK formulates its post-Brexit relationship with China, one key policy interest is the possibility of stronger commercial ties. However, the benefits of doing business with China are less straight-forward in light of the complex commercial and political landscape of the world’s second-largest economy.