Remember Clark Griswold, that happy-go-lucky everyone who makes the trip of a lifetime, humiliates his hosts, and confirms every prejudice he has about Americans? Welcome to “Joe Biden’s European Vacation”.
The President is reviving the National Lampoon Series on his visit to England for the G-7 summit. Too bad it is his own nation he is teasing.
Like the Griswolds’ summer vacations, these trips are planned down to the last detail, only to end up with everything going wrong. On Wednesday night, as the President and Dr. Griswold slept on Air Force One, British papers The story broke that Yale Lampert, the new US ambassador to the UK, had issued a demarche to Boris Johnson’s government.
One of the fancy foods that Griswolds eats in France is not demarcation. It is diplomatic to put your enemies on notice. Or, as in this case, insulting your closest ally and making the delicate situation worse.
Last week, Lampert warned that Johnson and Brexit were “inflammatory” tensions in Northern Ireland. It stipulated a US-UK trade deal for Britain to surrender to the terms of the European Union, as Britain and the EU negotiate the details of their economic relationship.
Right now, the UK and EU are arguing about sausage. These are made from horse meat in Europe and sawdust in Britain. But Biden’s real beef goes deeper.
Biden is a proud Irish American. They don’t think Northern Ireland should be part of Britain. Nor do I, like most Englishmen. The difference is, I think the future of Northern Ireland is for the people of Northern Ireland to decide.
The president is also a proud Democrat. The Good Friday Agreement, which covered the crises in Northern Ireland, is a democratic legacy, and a good one. It is inconceivable that terrorism and military occupation will return to Northern Ireland – unless a Democratic president stirs up the situation by accusing the British government of breaching the Good Friday Agreement.
Like the adventures of the Griswold family, which become less and less funny, we’ve seen this movie before. Ahead of the Brexit referendum in 2016, President Barack Obama warned cheeky Brits about declaring their independence from the corrupt and undemocratic European Union: if they voted for Brexit, they would risk themselves for striking trade deals. “Behind the queue”. US
The British love nothing more than to wait in line. They love nothing less than to be told by foreigners. He pointed two Churchillian fingers towards Obama and the European Union.
Johnson won that Brexit vote, and he eventually won the office of prime minister as well. Surface’s resemblance to President Donald Trump — eccentric hair, sense of humor, patriotism, elaborate personal life — angered leftists on both sides of the Atlantic. As Donald put it, “They call him Britain Trump.”
It wasn’t like all Democrats saw Boris step two with Trump. But Boris is a liberal, a free marketer and an Atlanticist. He is exactly the kind of PM that the Democrats, if they are wise for a moment, would love.
The press may have asked Biden why he resumed Obama’s strategy of insulting your friends, but Biden did not hold a joint press conference with Boris on Thursday. Now, it’s true that my colleagues in the British press make bloodied Rottweilers look like Snoopy. But it’s also true that facing one from Fleet Street comes with the territory.
This is the first time in modern history that the President of the United States has baffled the press following his inaugural meeting with the Prime Minister of Britain. It’s clear Biden isn’t ready for the biggest job in the world.
Jibberin Joe Riparti on the good day is not sharp at all. Multiply the massive drop of the president’s faculties by the jet lag of five hours, and Biden will end up looking like one of those lost tourists “If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium.” Meanwhile, Banterin Boris is a natural comedian who can recite Homer in the original Greek.
The jokes are on the United States of America this European holiday. And on the queen too. The Bidens are going to have tea with Elizabeth II on Sunday. It will be a memorable occasion – for him anyway, as his memory is still working.
Dominic Green is the deputy editor of the world edition of The Spectator.