Britain has taken stronger view than US on Ukraine, says ex-White House adviser

John Bolton will claim the UK now has a ‘independent role’ in Nato due to its departure from the ‘smoothie-making’ EU decision process.

Amy Gibbons
Monday 20 June 2022 18:15 BST
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian/PA)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office of Ukrainian/PA) (PA Media)

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Louise Thomas

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Britain has taken a stronger view than the US on Ukraine, with a “fully independent role” in Nato thanks to Brexit, according to a former White House adviser.

John Bolton, who was national security adviser to Donald Trump from 2018 to 2019, will claim that the UK can now have an “appropriate” part in the military alliance, not constrained by the “smoothie-making, decision-making process” of the EU.

He is to make the remarks at the launch of a new report on Tuesday, on Britain’s role in the world after Brexit.

On the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he will say: “Britain has taken a leading role in the West’s efforts to defeat this aggression and to make the point to would-be aggressors around the world.

“In many respects, I say with some envy, taking a stronger and more effective view than the USA.”

The report, from the Centre for Brexit Policy think tank, calls for a big increase in defence spending to sustain and strengthen the UK’s “special relationship” with the US.

Former US national security adviser John Bolton (Yui Mok/PA)
Former US national security adviser John Bolton (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Archive)

Mr Bolton will say closer ties between the two countries are a “high priority”.

“I am particularly glad that one consequence of Brexit is that the UK can have an appropriate, fully independent role in Nato – not constrained by the smoothie-making, decision-making process of the European Union,” he will say.

“We can see today all too graphically how important Nato is, with Finland and Sweden breaking decades of neutrality to apply. We need a strong Britain working closely with the USA and Nato.”

The report, compiled by about 20 politicians, foreign policy experts and academics, including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, says Britain’s military capability is one of the key pillars underpinning the formal and informal ties that bind the two countries together.

But it says the UK’s ability to “do things no other allied government can do” – which is of value to the US – is being strained by the planned cuts to the size of its armed forces.

It also warns of “active anti-American sentiment in the UK”, predominantly on the left, but also on the right of the political spectrum.

“There is no doubt that today, anti-Americanism is more powerful in the UK than Anglophobia is in the USA,” it says.

“We should aim for a mature UK-USA special relationship, one that recognises the indispensability of our alliance, and in which both sides work to refute the lies that seek to poison the alliance, but also one which recognises that both partners have other friends and interests in the world, and that fostering those partnerships actually serves the health of the special relationship by preventing it from trying to be the be all and end all of policy.”

It says Britain needs to push back “far more effectively than it has done to date” against “misunderstandings” of the Good Friday peace agreement, which it claims have caused “much harm to left-wing views of the UK” in the US.

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