pcloudyn.png
Saturday September 26th, 2020 8:25PM

Ex-diplomat Darroch astounded by UK plan to break Brexit law

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

LONDON (AP) — Kim Darroch is astonished.

Britain’s former U.S. ambassador, whose career ended abruptly when his frank views on President Donald Trump were leaked, spent 40 years as a diplomat. But he says he’s never before seen a British government saying it plans to break international law.

“It’s all-round extraordinary,” Darroch said about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s intention to override part of the legally binding Brexit agreement that the British government struck with the European Union.

“It’s one of the things that we thought was a basic principle of Britain’s face to the world: that we stuck by international law and agreements,” Darroch said.

Darroch is speaking during a tumultuous political week. The British government says its “specific and limited” breach of international law is needed to guarantee trade can flow freely to Northern Ireland regardless of the outcome of EU trade talks. But Johnson’s proposed law has infuriated EU leaders, who are threatening legal action. A political battle is looming in Britain's Parliament, and the government’s top civil service lawyer has resigned.

“What does it do for our reputation? How will others look at us if we are saying: ‘We will sign a deal with you, … but if we look at it six months later and decide we don’t like that, we’ll just change it unilaterally, and you’ll just have to live with it?’” said Darroch, who also previously served as Britain's ambassador to the EU.

He could be forgiven for having a sense of déjà vu.

Darroch became envoy to Washington in 2016 and had a ringside seat for the first chaotic years of the Trump administration. He describes it in “Collateral Damage,” an entertaining account of his tenure in Washington and its dramatic end. The book is scheduled to be published Oct. 13 in the U.S. by PublicAffairs.

Darroch’s illustrious diplomatic career imploded in July 2019 when the Mail on Sunday newspaper published leaked confidential memos in which the ambassador described Trump’s White House as dysfunctional, incompetent, clumsy and inept.

Such frankness is expected by governments of their ambassadors. But an enraged Trump branded Darroch “a very stupid guy” and said the U.S. administration would no longer deal with him. Darroch was on a flight back to London within days.

The book vividly conveys the vertiginous feeling of being at the center of a political and media storm. But Darroch is remarkably philosophical about the sudden end to his diplomatic career.

“I don’t really do bitterness,” Darroch, who now holds the title Lord Darroch of Kew as a member of Britain's House of Lords, said. “It’s a deliberate choice.”

“Collateral Damage,” is just as interested in exploring how Trump’s insurgent, often dysfunctional administration operated as in analyzing the secrets of the president’s appeal. In the book, Darroch calls it an “intoxicating mix” of star quality, media savvy and an ability to tap into popular resentments.

Boris Johnson helped end Darroch’s career when, after the leak, he publicly declined to say that the ambassador should keep his job. But -- ever the diplomat —Darroch is even-handed about the British leader. He thinks parallels between Johnson and Trump have often been overstated.

Unlike Trump, Johnson is generally supportive of immigration, extols free trade and accepts the need for strong action on climate change.

But Darroch says Johnson, who shares a ruthless streak and an intense ambition with Trump, is “fascinated” by the U.S. president,

“Particularly by Trump’s use of language,” he said. “He does speak with a simplicity and a directness, also sometimes a divisiveness, that is kind of unique.”

There’s a similar directness to the simple slogans -- “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done” -- that helped Johnson win the 2016 Brexit referendum and the 2019 U.K. election.

Darroch also thinks Johnson may be emulating Trump in the British government’s disruptive approach in Brexit negotiations, such as the resent move to break provisions of the divorce deal and international law that has outraged and upset the EU.

Darroch said that Johnson gave a 2018 speech “saying that if Donald Trump had been asked to negotiate Brexit, he would have made some apparently outrageous and provocative demands right at the start. There would have been total chaos, lots of harsh words in both directions, lots of noise. But eventually things would have settled down. And maybe he will have got a very good outcome.”

“It’s the chaos theory of negotiating," Darroch said. "Making your negotiating partner think that you’re so crazy that you’d better give him what he wants, because who knows what he will do next. And I just wonder if there are some echoes of that” in the government’s Brexit approach.

So far, it doesn't seem to be working on the EU. But Darroch thinks that if Trump wins a second term, “Boris can be his best friend in Europe.”

“That relationship could be very close,” the former ambassador said. “I think you’d get a (U.S.-U.K.) free trade deal quite quickly, though one that involves us making some serious concessions on agriculture” such as accepting chlorine-washed chicken, something many in Britain find hard to swallow.

While many in British government yearn for the relative stability promised by a Joe Biden presidency, Darroch thinks a U.S.-U.K. trade deal would be harder to secure if Biden wins.

“Without overstating this ... I do wonder about whether for a Biden administration a free trade deal with the U.K. would be the absolute top priority,” he said. “Biden was part of the Obama administration, and Obama said we’d be ‘back of the queue’ (for a trade deal) if we left the European Union.”

Darroch took Trump seriously from the start, cabling London in February 2016 to say he was likely to be the Republican presidential candidate and could win the presidency. Once Trump took office, Darroch wondered how the president would deal with a major crisis.

“And I think we’re now starting to get an answer to that in terms of how the pandemic is going in America,” he said.

Still, he says, the president should not be underestimated.

“It would be very unwise to count Trump out,” Darroch said.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP World News, AP Entertainment, AP Business, AP World News - International incidents, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Ex-diplomat Darroch astounded by UK plan to break Brexit law
Kim Darroch was British ambassador to the United States until leaked comments about Donald Trump ended his 40-year diplomatic career last year
3:00AM ( 25 minutes ago )
Chinese military calls US biggest threat to world peace
China's Defense Ministry has blasted a critical U.S. report on the country's military ambitions, saying it is the U.S. instead that poses the biggest threat to the international order and world peace
2:50AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Paulette rolls toward Bermuda; Sally threatens Gulf Coast
Residents of Bermuda are urged by forecasters to prepare to protect life and property ahead of Hurricane Paulette
2:49AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Australia minister warns foreign journalists amid China spat
A senior Australian government minister has warned foreign journalists working in the country they might come under the scrutiny of federal agencies if they provide a slanted view of Australian affairs
9:36PM ( 5 hours ago )
The Latest: Domestic air travel recovers in Wuhan, China
Domestic air travel in Wuhan, the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak, has returned to pre-pandemic levels, authorities say
8:44PM ( 6 hours ago )
The Latest: Kentucky 'front line hero' dies of virus
A prominent Kentucky infectious disease specialist who was hailed by the governor as a “front line hero” has died after a nearly four-month battle against COVID-19
6:53PM ( 8 hours ago )
AP World News
Regina King introduces 'One Night in Miami' to Oscars race
Regina King is introducing her directorial debut “One Night in Miami” to the Hollywood awards race
5:32PM ( 9 hours ago )
Pioneering British designer Terence Conran dies at 88
Terence Conran, the pioneering British designer, retailer and restaurateur, who built a furniture empire around the world and founded The Design Museum in London, has died at 88
3:41PM ( 11 hours ago )
Indiana murder trial starts with warning of gruesome photos
The murder trial of a southern Indiana man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and eating parts of her body began with a prosecutor warning jurors they’ll see photos of the 2014 crime scene “worse than anything you would see in a horror movie.”
3:36PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
Smoke chokes West Coast as wildfire deaths keep climbing
Wildfire smoke that poses a health hazard to millions is choking the West Coast as firefighters battle deadly blazes
10:13PM ( 5 hours ago )
Amid smoke and ash, wildfire-scarred Paradise rebuilds
A California town is slowly rebuilding from wildfires even as new blazes threaten it
8:02PM ( 7 hours ago )
Trump's virus debate: Project strength or level with public
President Donald Trump is trying to place himself in the company of Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill as he assesses his response to the coronavirus pandemic
4:19PM ( 11 hours ago )
AP Business
Southern EU leaders urge Turkey to end "unilateral" actions
Leaders of seven southern European countries have urged Turkey to end “unilateral and illegal activities” in the eastern Mediterranean and resume dialogue to ease tensions in the region
3:56PM ( 2 days ago )
Macron urges tough EU stance against Turkish 'provocations'
French President Emmanuel Macron has urged fellow European leaders to stand up to the Turkish government as Turkey seeks to assert its energy rights in the eastern Mediterranean
9:38AM ( 2 days ago )
US withdrawing thousands of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan
The top U.S. general for the Middle East says the Trump administration will pull thousands of troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan by November
12:33PM ( 3 days ago )
AP World News - International incidents
Boris Johnson defends Brexit change to avoid UK 'carve-up'
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has strongly defended his government's plan to override sections of the Brexit deal that he negotiated with the European Union and accused the EU of having an “extreme” interpretation of the treaty that could jeopardize the U.K.'s future
6:45AM ( 20 hours ago )
UN assembly approves pandemic resolution; US, Israel object
The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution on tackling the coronavirus pandemic over objections from the United States and Israel, which protested a successful last-minute Cuban amendment that strongly urges countries to oppose unilateral economic, financial or trade sanctions
12:17AM ( 1 day ago )
Tech falters again as Wall Street ends worst week in months
Wall Street closed out its worst week since June with another day of churning trading Friday
4:37PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Economy
Chinese military calls US biggest threat to world peace
China's Defense Ministry has blasted a critical U.S. report on the country's military ambitions, saying it is the U.S. instead that poses the biggest threat to the international order and world peace
2:50AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Paulette rolls toward Bermuda; Sally threatens Gulf Coast
Residents of Bermuda are urged by forecasters to prepare to protect life and property ahead of Hurricane Paulette
2:49AM ( 37 minutes ago )
2 LA County deputies apparently ambushed in patrol vehicle
The Los Angeles County sheriff says two deputies were shot in their patrol car at a Metro rail station in what appeared to be an ambush
2:15AM ( 1 hour ago )
What's next? Devastating fires are latest challenge in West
Tens of thousands of people have been displaced by wildfires in Oregon, California and Washington state
1:41AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: India's cases rise to 4.75M with another spike
India has registered a single-day spike of 94,372 new confirmed coronavirus cases, driving the country’s overall tally to 4.75 million
12:59AM ( 2 hours ago )