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- We're doing things a bit differently tonight, exploring the state of America's alliances in a special report. It's 1,540 words (6 minutes).
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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Polls suggest Americans consider the U.K. to be their country's closest ally, a distinction prized by a succession of British leaders and supported by decades of shared history and close cooperation.
Why it matters: President Trump has reveled in Brexit Britain’s rejection of multilateralism, in general, and the EU, in particular. But the U.K.'s voice will now count for less in Brussels and Berlin, and likely in Washington as a result.
Driving the news: The post-Brexit era is off to an inauspicious start for the "special relationship." Shortly after Brexit was sealed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed that China’s Huawei would be allowed a role in building out the U.K.’s 5G networks — over vehement objections from Washington.
Peter Westmacott, a former U.K. ambassador to Washington, recalls similar incidents from the Reagan-Thatcher period and his own time in Washington.
There could be more squabbles to come over the U.K.'s planned digital services tax — the Trump administration has promised swift repercussions — and negotiations over a much-heralded U.S.-U.K. trade deal.
That could well be the case beyond trade. On many of the most pressing issues of the day — climate and Iran, not to mention Huawei — the U.K. is much closer to France or Germany than to America.
The bottom line: After Brexit, the U.K. will clearly no longer serve as Washington's unofficial envoy within the EU. It will have to pick sides as key decisions arise, and avoid getting squeezed between them.
Howdy Modi, and Trump. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images
Some in Washington envision a new special relationship, with India.
Why it matters: “India could be to America in Asia during the 21st century what the U.K. was in Europe during the 20th — the most reliable partner in great power competition,” says Husain Haqqani, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington now at the Hudson Institute.
Trump’s visit will be closely watched primarily for his rhetoric on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s domestic policies, including a controversial citizenship law that excludes Muslims.
Between the lines: That’s not only because Trump has a track record of embracing strongmen and rejecting concerns on human rights.
What to watch: The current realities stand in stark contrast to the grand vision.
Global opinions of the United States vary widely depending on who is in the Oval Office, even among close friends.
Trump visits Israel. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO via Getty Images
After Benjamin Netanyahu's eight years of tense relations with Barack Obama, Trump’s election was a dream come true for the Israeli prime minister, Axios contributor Barak Ravid notes.
The big picture: Coordination could hardly have been closer over the past three years. Trump withdrew from the Obama-era Iran deal, which Netanyahu loathed, and has ticked a number of items off of the prime minister's wish list. Most were welcomed across Israel’s political spectrum.
But, but, but: As corruption indictments and deadlocked elections weakened Netanyahu domestically, Trump insisted his relationship was with Israel, not just Netanyahu.
What to watch: The White House is clearly thinking about life after Netanyahu, Trump's closest international partner.
Remember this? Man was that bizarre. Photo: Bandar Algaloud/Saudi Royal Council/Getty
No U.S. partner will fear a change in administrations more than Saudi Arabia.
Flashback: Trump’s first overseas trip was to Riyadh. Since then, his administration has worked to shield Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman from bipartisan outrage, most notably over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The leading Democrats were all asked what they would do about the Saudi relationship in a Council on Foreign Relations survey. All condemned Khashoggi’s murder, but their answers for what should change going forward varied widely.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
1. The U.S. Justice Department today indicted four members of the Chinese military over the Equifax hack that exposed the private data of 145 million Americans.
2. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer is resigning as leader of Germany’s ruling Christian Democrats, and by extension as Angela Merkel’s heir apparent.
3. Xi Jinping donned a mask and made rare public appearances around Beijing today, urging “confidence” in China’s ability to win the “people’s war” against the coronavirus.
Moonrise at the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey. Photo: Gokhan Balci/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
"I didn't want to do the whole world at one time."— Trump today, signaling that his next trade war could be with the EU