Parallel Crises in the US and UK

It is strange that both the US and UK are entangled in serious crises relating to their relationship to their neighboring countries.  In the case of the USA it is in relation Mexico and the many thousands of illegal immigrants continually streaming over the southern border, in other words “the Wall.”  In the case of the UK it is the relationship to the European countries that make up the EU, in other words Brexit.

In the US, the failure of the Democrats to support the strengthening of the southern US border with a “wall” or fence has led to a crisis in which the US Govt. is shut down.  Even though opinion in the US is mixed, and even though many have ridiculed Trump’s statements, nevertheless there is a real case to be made for the need for such a “hard” border.  Of course, the leading Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, blame Trump for the Govt. shut-down and the failure of the Govt. to pay some 800,000 workers.

In the UK, Theresa May’s Govt. has been defeated in Parliament over her policy of negotiating a deal with the EU and presenting it as a fait accompli.  As she states, “it’s either my deal or no deal.”  Many of her own Conservative Party have shown their opposition to this approach by voting against her and in the latest fracas, a majority of 11 voted for an amendment to her Plan, that if it is voted down next Tues in Parliament, she will have to come up with a Plan B in 3 days!  This is really an embarrassment and a defeat for May, and puts her in a very difficult position.  This all started with the need for a “soft” border between Northern Ireland (part of the UK) which voted to stay in the  EU and the Republic of Ireland (Eire) which is in the EU.  This resulted in the the Ulster Democratic Party  (UDP), withdrawing their support for May’s coalition Government and her “backstop” border solution.

So you could say that in both cases the crises are over a choice between a hard or a soft border.  In both cases, May and Trump have basically put their political lives on the line in a take it or leave it stand, either for a hard border with Mexico, or my Brexit or none.  It will be very significant to see how they each fare in the two showdowns.  Afterwards they should meet for a drink to compare notes.

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