How can the leaders of two nations who are both inveterate and known liars and backstabbers negotiate a workable deal? It is hard to make a deal if you think the other party will renege on it at the first opportunity, even to the extent of not honoring any commitment that they themselves publicly make in the negotiations.
We may soon find out.
New British prime minister Boris Johnson has been described as dissembling, dishonest, dark, and duplicitous, qualities that he shares with Donald Trump. So while there may well be a genuine ‘special relationship’ between the two of them as individuals, I am curious about how they will arrive at deals since neither party can be trusted an inch to negotiate in good faith.
Trump cannot be trusted to keep his word on any deal nor to honor any deal made by his predecessors or even those made by administration officials who are supposedly negotiating on his behalf. He does not even honor his own words since he denies that he said anything when he has just said it and there are witness and even video evidence that he said it.
Meanwhile Johnson makes all manner of promises that he knows he cannot keep and is also willing to lie to get immediate advantage. He is desperate to make a deal with Trump to justify his pulling out of the EU, which makes him vulnerable to Trump’s bullying.
What we can possible expect after a meeting of these two geniuses is a joint statement that they arrived at a magnificent deal that immensely benefits both nations that we will later find is full of holes because neither of them can be bothered to work out the details that are the backbone of international deals.
But it is not clear that we will ever find out. In a by-election held a couple of days ago, the Conservative party lost the seat in Wales to the Liberal Democrats where the latter party forged an alliance with other anti-Brexit parties. Wales voted
against for Brexit back in 2016. The Conservatives now have just 311 seats and their ‘confidence and supply’ DUP allies from Northern Ireland have 10 seats, giving a total of 321 seats. This gives them just a one-seat majority over the opposition that consists of Labour with 247 and the 74 seats from other opposition parties for a total of also 321. The total number of seats is 650 of which the speaker is considered non-partisan and the seven members of the Sinn Fein never attend parliament, so effectively there are just 642 seats and a majority requires 322. (It seems like there is a tie in parliament but I see reports that the Conservatives now have a majority of just one. I don’t understand how that works out. Is it because by tradition the speaker votes with the government in the case of a tie vote?)
Johnson has been warned that his hard right turn in his cabinet and his drive to leave the EU even without a deal could risk defections from his party, leading to a collapse of his government and new elections that could result in him losing the premiership even before he can try to make any deals with Trump.