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The Hollowing Out of the Special Relationship

The Bleak Future of the U.S.-British Alliance

British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump gesture towards each other during their joint news conference at the White House in Washington, January 2017. Kevin Lamarque / REUTERS

Despite intermittent runs on the pound sterling and a plunge in business confidence, British Prime Minister Theresa May has doubled down on her government’s commitment to go through with a so-called hard Brexit, a full-scale departure from European Union membership. The United Kingdom would be wise, however, to reconsider leaving the EU on the basis of a non-binding vote, for one of the principal costs would be the loss of the country’s outsize global role, mirroring the United States’ own nationalist tilt with the election of President Donald Trump.

By all accounts, Trump and May hit it off in their first meeting in January. Yet before May had even touched down in Ankara the next day, for a summit with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump had issued his seven-country Muslim ban, prompting numerous segments of British society and Parliament to pressure the prime minister to respond in

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