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RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: We all live in a nuclear submarine... Boris Johnson must hope he catches Joe Biden on a good dayBy RICHARD LITTLEJOHN FOR THE DAILY MAIL
17 September 2021
Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall when Boris Johnson meets Joe Biden in America next week?
That should be a meeting of minds, Sleepy Uncle Joe with his homespun philosophy and apparent Alzheimer's and BoJo with his classical allusions and labrador-like eagerness to please.
Best if Boris resists the temptation to chuck in some Ancient Greek. If he starts referring to Homer, Joe will probably think he's talking about The Simpsons.
That's always assuming that the President can remember Boris's name, and doesn't start calling him 'Lyndon'.
A few weeks ago, after the fall of Kabul, I commented on the fact that at a Press conference to discuss the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida, Biden forgot the name of the head of America's Federal Emergency Management Agency — someone he'd been speaking to five minutes earlier.
Wouldn't you just love to be a fly on the wall when Boris Johnson meets Joe Biden in America next week? Above: Mr Johnson and Mr Biden with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison at the G7 Summit in Cornwall
He'd previously called his Veep Kamala Harris 'President Harris', and had failed to remember the name of his Secretary of Defence, Lloyd Austin, whom he described as 'the guy who runs that outfit over there'.
This week, Uncle Joe's been at it again. During a joint Press conference to announce a new tripartite nuclear submarine alliance between the U.S., the UK and Australia, the name of the Aussie Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, completely escaped him.
This is despite the fact that Morrison was beaming out of a hi-def widescreen TV alongside the presidential podium.
'I want to thank . . . that fella Down Under. Thank you very much, pal.'
Biden went into Men At Work mode, leading observers to conclude, not for the first time, that the President is a Vegemite sandwich short of a picnic.
It helps explain why, more often than not, Biden rarely ventures out in public without his wife Jill on his arm, like one of Young Mr Grace's nurses in Are You Being Served?
Absent a firm hand on his tiller, Joe has a tendency to go off-piste — as he did recently when he failed to find his way to the Oval Office from his helicopter, Marine One, parked on the White House lawn.
To the obvious alarm of his minders, the President wandered off into the rose bushes.
Boris must hope he catches Biden on a good day. There's bridge-building, or rather bridge reconstruction, to be done after the debacle of the chaotic retreat from Afghanistan.
It was reported that the President didn't bother telephoning the Prime Minister for 36 hours to tell him about the pull-out.
The alliance announced this week will go a long way towards repairing the damage caused to the Anglosphere by the Taliban's recent victory. Under this historic agreement, the US and UK will build Australia's first fleet of nuclear submarines to help counter the growing Chinese menace in the region
This was interpreted as an indication that the special relationship was kaput. To be charitable, maybe Biden was having a senior moment and simply forgot.
In the wake of the Taliban victory, I wrote that what we were seeing was the collapse of the Anglosphere, Churchill's famous alliance of the English-speaking peoples which has done so much until now to keep the world free from tyranny.
The good news is that the alliance announced this week will go a long way towards repairing the damage.
Under this historic agreement, the U.S. and UK will build Australia's first fleet of nuclear submarines to help counter the growing Chinese menace in the region.
It will also create hundreds of highly-skilled, highly-paid jobs here, exactly the sort of post-Brexit, Global Britain bonus we were promised when we voted to leave the EU.
The alliance has been welcomed by Taiwan and Japan, countries alarmed at mounting Chinese aggression, and also has the added advantage of upsetting the French.
The Australians have ripped up a $90 billion contract to buy 12 conventionally powered subs from France in favour of the joint U.S./UK nuclear variety.
The not-so-good news is that Canada and New Zealand, our partners in the 'Five Eyes' intelligence-sharing arrangement, are not joining the new pact, which will be known as AUKUS.
The two Leftist-led nations have long-standing 'no nukes' policies, and are markedly softer on the Chinese than America, Britain or Australia.
Furthermore, under the over-praised PM Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand will not allow Aussie subs into her territorial waters —despite the fact that the vessels are merely nuclear-powered, not nuclear armed.
Perhaps Ardern will have a change of heart over AUKUS when the Chinese fleet anchors off Auckland.
Still, anything which strengthens the military links between the U.S., UK and Australia has to be welcomed.
Chinese expansionism is the biggest global threat to Western security, and it is reassuring to learn that America is still determined to help keep the peace beyond her borders.
After Kabul, it was assumed that the U.S. was withdrawing altogether from the world stage. Much ridicule and criticism was levelled against Biden, not least in this column.
But with the Chinese threat, Russia's Vladimir Putin increasingly flexing his muscles, and Afghanistan now in the hands of the maniacs who brought you 9/11 and other terrorist attacks, the world has become a more dangerous place.
We may laugh at Biden's forgetfulness, we may question his mental acuity, but we are going to have to deal with him at least for the next three years.
The free world needs America engaged militarily. AUKUS is a step in the right direction. If Boris ladles on the flattery next week, so much the better. The alternative doesn't bear thinking about.
RICHARD LITTLEJOHN: Boris Johnson must hope he catches Joe Biden on a good day | Daily Mail Online