The geopolitical implications of President elect Biden for Ireland, Brexit and the European Union

Published on 9 November 2020 at 10:22

As the dust settles on a tumultuous election, we can begin to anticipate what a Biden presidency may look like and how it may be of affect to the Emerald isle in the face of potential Brexit fallout. While many Presidents have claimed Irish heritage, in the hope of attracting votes from the many Irish diaspora, President elect Biden has shown frequent enthusiasm embracing his ancestry throughout his career.

When speaking at an event with former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, Biden stated that all those wearing orange may leave the room, and while quick to point out he was joking, this drew the ire of Ulster’s Unionist Party who demanded apology, one they still find themselves waiting for. After crossing the Electoral College finish line, when the BBC reached out for comment, Biden was swift to reply, “I’m Irish”, whether intentional or not, this is a very clear sign to those in Westminster that the future President of the United states is not mincing his words.

Recently the U.S. House of Representatives, voted unanimously to pass a bill, that was sponsored by Democrats and Republicans alike, stating their intent to fully support the Good Friday Agreement in the face of Brexit adversity. President-elect Biden is also on record stating his support, “We can’t allow the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland to become a casualty of Brexit. Any trade deal between the US and UK must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.” The Good Friday agreement may be one of the few issues to have bipartisan support in a divided America.

In the short-term, this is less than ideal for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in the wake of the Internal Market bill, which sought to renege on aspects of the Good Friday Agreement, whilst simultaneously dividing his own party however, it did manage to unite every past Prime Minister alive in opposition to the bill, who feared that this bill would break International law and sully the United Kingdom’s upstanding global reputation. But as if being referred to as a dictator by a past president of your own supreme court in response to the bill was not enough, Johnson has other qualms that are made none easier by the election of Joe Biden.

Biden is said to have a specific dislike of Johnson, which was forged in his time in the Obama administration, when Johnson commented that Obama had a predisposed dislike of the U.K. due to his Kenyan heritage. As well as this, Biden is likely to view Johnson as a miniature Trump, both leading figures in stimulating populism. It is also worth noting that both the Trump 2016 presidential campaign and Brexit found support in the dubious Cambridge Analytica, which was found to harvest personal information from social media, in order to target specific users to influence their voting behaviour.

A renewed trust from Biden, will have to be earned by Johnson, perhaps this will come in the form of respecting the Good Friday Agreement or to stop acting adversarial in its treatment of Ireland and the European Union as a whole? We will soon see, but Johnson’s quick congratulatory message to Biden, highlighting their current shared interests with Climate Change first mentioned, may be a sign of a want to improve relations between the two “key allies”.

However this may be too late, the United Kingdom may have lost its shine in the eyes of America, as it is no longer able to steer European Union policy, and since Brexit, those interested in not just maintaining the Union, but expanding it too are solidifying. With France and Germany discussing the possibility of combining their military capabilities and France supporting Greece with use of its Navy in order to uphold international law in a dispute with Turkey, talks of a E.U. army are growing. Neighbouring Russia and Turkey are growing ever more adversarial and after a Trump presidency, the EU has reason to want to be able to fully support its union on its own, with two if its leading members French President, Emmanuelle Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, keen to welcome President elect Biden to the international stage. Lessons have been learned from four years of Trump America first policies and there is no guarantee that the United states will no longer pursue more isolationist policies in the future

An added ally with a keen interest in Ireland is not all that Ireland may seek to benefit from a Biden administration, Ireland’s low corporate tax rate, which Trump would oft rage about, may be left to brew a bit longer. In order to fill the ever-growing deficit, Biden has pledged to raise taxes on corporations in order to recoup the mass government spending that has taken place due to the pandemic. We can expect gridlock on this in Congress, as right on schedule, in the wake of a Democratic Presidency, Republican’s are starting to coo about the deficit and how dreadful this is for American. But with another stimulus package desperately needed for working class Americans, as well as Biden’s 2 trillion Dollar Green energy plan, all coinciding with the deficit reaching highs not seen since post World War 2, it seems illogical that America’s ultra-wealthy can continue to avoid a higher tax rate. In the face of the European Commission’s general court ruling that sided with Ireland’s right to administer its own Corporate tax rate, large multinationals will most likely feel safer here, than a deficit ridden America.

But for how long is the question, Biden is previously on record condemning the low Irish tax rate and with the EU seeking to appeal that judgement, and the growing animosity towards large corporations that managed to grow their wealth in the midst of a pandemic. This issue is only delayed, and we are starting see support on both sides of the political aisle. There is a large possibility that come the next election in 2024, ending Ireland’s low corporate tax reign, may have support on both sides of political spectrum.

While the removal of a chaos agent like Trump from the international community may be welcomed by many, the results of the election show that the appetite for chaos has grown and in an ever changing geopolitical landscape, exacerbated by Climate Change and growing unrest around the globe, a Biden presidency will be a sigh of relief for many, but it may also be a deep breath before the plunge.


Add comment


There are no comments yet.