Irish Historian Warns Northern Ireland Might Be Joe Biden's Next Foreign Policy Blunder
The US president warned British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June of this year against opposing the Northern Ireland Protocol negotiated with the EU in 2020, thus demonstrating his stance on the contentious matter for the first time.
Following the chaotic and poorly prepared withdrawal from Afghanistan, the issue of the Northern Ireland border might be the next area where US President Joe Biden shows off his "ignorance and arrogance", Irish revisionist historian and writer, Ruth Dudley Edwards has suggested in an op-ed for The Telegraph.
The historian recalled a "joke" by Biden from St. Patrick's Day in 2015, when the then-vice president said "anyone wearing [unionist] orange" and not Irish nationalist green was not "welcome" at his home. Ruth Edwards alleged that Biden has an "utterly superficial take on Ireland", without having "a clue" about the island's history or politics.
According to the historian, the fact that former First Minister of Northern Ireland Lord David Trimble wrote a letter to Biden in which he warned POTUS about the risks of creating "political uncertainty" and "damaging the Northern Ireland economy" speaks volumes about the potential for new political blunders by the current American administration.
In his open letter, Trimble also claimed that Biden's White House is "contributing to the damage being caused to the [Good Friday] Agreement through your support for the Northern Ireland Protocol".
Ruth Edwards indicated in her op-ed that Biden is not the only prominent Democrat who allegedly sympathises with nationalist-minded Irish. She pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is planning to launch a fundraiser for the Martin McGuinness Peace Foundation, named after the famed former leader of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA).
What Lord Trimble Was Asking Biden and Why?
Lord David Trimble wrote his open letter to Biden in the wake of the latter's warning to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in June 2021 against failing to uphold the Northern Ireland Protocol. The latter was signed in December 2020 to resolve a conflict between the UK's new status as a non-EU member and the Good Friday Agreement, which had put an end to the bloodshed in Northern Ireland and guaranteed no hard border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland Protocol essentially established maritime customs in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain to the great dissatisfaction of the Unionist movement in Northern Ireland. Critics of the protocol argue that it impedes trade between the two areas of the UK, inflates prices and essentially allows the EU to dictate its rules and laws on the British territory of Northern Ireland.
In his letter, Lord Trimble suggested that instead of throwing his weight behind Brussels and the protocol, Biden should support the ideas proposed by the Centre for Brexit Policy, which offered a "Mutual Enforcement" deal as an alternative to the protocol. This offer suggested relying on the mutual trust that each side, the UK and the EU, will apply each other's rules in moving goods.