- - Monday, March 2, 2020

In 1948, the greatest ever Anglo-American, Winston Churchill said in a speech in Scotland: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” Fast forward 70 years, Democrats would like to see a man in the White House who would bring this evil gospel to America and who would destroy our relationship with our staunchest ally, Great Britain.

While there have been a few bumps in the road for the Anglo-American relationship during President Trump’s first term, relations are strong and likely to hit a new level of positive cooperation with talks underway for a post-Brexit bilateral trade agreement. Our most important global alliance would sustain an unimaginable blow in the unlikely event of Bernie Sanders ever coming to power. We cannot afford to take that chance.  

Mr. Trump’s U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is currently in London meeting with U.K. Trade Secretary Liz Truss on a long-anticipated trade agreement which ideally will be a joint win in many sectors, but especially in digital and services.

The stakes are high because among Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s goals to making a success of Brexit is securing favorable global trade agreements, which the U.K. was prevented from negotiating for itself while part of the EU. Britain and the U.K. are each other’s largest investors, and motivations and hopes are high.

From early in his term, Mr. Trump has signaled his enthusiasm for a robust trade deal. In fact, upon Mr. Johnson’s election victory in December 2019, the president tweeted, “Congratulations to Boris Johnson on his great WIN! Britain and the United States will now be free to strike a massive new Trade Deal after BREXIT. This deal has the potential to be far bigger and more lucrative than any deal that could be made with the E.U. Celebrate Boris!”

Currently with 45 delegates pledged, Mr. Sanders is far outpacing his Democratic rivals. This should strike fear into the heart of the United Kingdom considering a Sanders win would compromise not only the long-anticipated trade agreement, but the very foundations of the special relationship.

A historical opponent to free trade agreements, it is conceivable that Sanders could abandon the efforts so painstakingly anticipated on both sides to this point. Mr. Sanders makes his position very clear on his campaign website: “I believe in fair trade which works for the middle class and working families, not just large multinational corporations.”

“We need to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies which demand that American corporations create jobs here, and not abroad.”

In addition to the economic relationship, a Sanders presidency would also change the critical defense and intelligence-sharing alliance that make our relationship with Great Britain so critical.

When Mr. Sanders ran against Democratic candidates in 2016 for the party’s nomination, his campaign manager told The UK Telegraph, “The UK should be prepared to re-evaluate that relationship if the Vermont senator’s surging campaign ends in a general election victory, as Mr. Sanders believes it is time the US stops ‘spending so much of its resources defending the rest of the world.’”

It is unlikely that Bernie Sanders will relish the age-old ties with our mother country. Ironically, Mr. Sanders shares much in common ideologically with Labor Party leader and fellow socialist Jeremy Corbyn, whom Mr. Johnson soundly defeated in December. Both men are enemies of capitalism and have little time for the underpinnings of the U.S.-U.K. special relationship.

Both men have an admiration for left-wing dictators, such as Fidel Castro, anathema to most of their countrymen. Furthermore in Middle East policy, both share and antagonism for the state of Israel, and an affinity for the Palestinians.  

Britain and America were spared the ravages that could have been caused if Mr. Corbyn had found his way to Downing Street. Likewise, notwithstanding Mr. Sanders’ performance in the caucuses, Democratic leadership and campaign experts are despondent at his prospects. In politics, it is normally a plus to know what a candidate stands for. In Bernie’s case, he stands for things that most of America and our allies find objectionable.

This is certainly good news for America and for the special relationship. Our U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Woody Johnson, said of the Anglo-American alliance: “It’s about as close as you can get; it’s like a family. You can have squabbles here and there, but then at the end of the day you’re all family — you come back and you agree on the important things.” With a President Sanders, one would be a lot less confident.  

• Lee Cohen is a fellow of the Danube Institute. He was an adviser on Europe to the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and founded the Congressional United Kingdom Caucus.

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