The Neocon Strategy for Britain and Europe

Brexit, Iran, Huawei: What John Bolton’s ‘interim deals’ could cost

How far from European policy will the US national security adviser try to pull the UK?

John Bolton, the national security adviser to Donald Trump and one of the pre-eminent advocates of “America first”, could not have been more solicitous to the Boris Johnson government – but his overtures may come with a sting in the tail for the UK.

The messages of solidarity poured out. We are with you, he vowed, saying Brexit was in the US national security interest, with or without a deal with the EU by 31 October. Laced with a few barbs at the expense of Brussels, he presented his credentials as a pioneer Brexiter, arguing he was a leaver before there were leavers.

But Bolton did not just vow friendship or repeat the oft-made promise that the UK will be at the front of the queue for any trade deal: he came with a specific proposal

Britain and the US could strike interim deals lowering trade barriers in specific areas, such as manufacturing, before a comprehensive trade deal could be signed some years down the line, he said. He was sure such deals could be greeted with unanimous bipartisan support by Congress, the body that sanctions US trade agreements. Some doubt the possibility of striking deals before everything is agreed, however.