Friday, January 31 looks like it will end up being sort of geopolitical Black Friday. Brexit will officially begin and the vote will be held on whether to admit witnesses in the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump, a crucial step in the ongoing process. These are actually two parallel matters that are closely linked and it is no coincidence that they both have a crucial deadline on the same day.
Brexit And The US Senate
After so much struggle, both internally and externally, on Friday Great Britain is detaching itself from the European Union in order to begin its solitary navigation through the global geopolitical sea. It is a withdrawal that is also a relaunch on the global chessboard which should be based on the restoration of the old relations with the Anglosphere (from this point of view the wildfires that recently incinerated Australia, the favorite former colony, are an ill-omen).
But Friday is also a crucial day for America as well. The Senate will be voting on the possibility of hearing other witnesses in the impeachment proceedings against Trump. It is a crucial point in the dispute. If new witnesses are excluded, the proceedings will be based exclusively on the documents scrutinized by the Senate. If this proves the case it will still not result in impeachment, given the crushing Republican majority the likelihood of the Senate voting to remove the President from office is virtually zero—about twenty Republicans would have to betray Trump. So it could be said that Trump is gambling a lot but not everything. If his line wins out—in other words no witnesses—he believes he is in the clear even if many things remain unpredictable.
The Two Meanings Of Black Friday
In order to call new witnesses, the Democrats must find a majority in the Senate. They currently have 47 senators and they need at least four Republican votes. Until a few days ago they were sure of victory given that some Republicans had stated they backed their request. But, as the The Hill and the New York Times explain, a cautious optimism is spreading in the Republican camp.
The recalcitrant Republican senators have apparently taken a more low profile position and seem more in line with that of the party. Thus Friday could mean Brexit and, at the same time, the end of the impeachment rows. Parallel victories for Johnson and Trump.
It could therefore become a “Black Friday”—in the negative sense of the term—for the many opponents of the two political leaders, identified as symbols and trailblazers of the return to national sovereignty and the end of “sacred and wild” globalization.
For the advocates of the return of the nation state it could, however, prove to be a sort of “Black Friday” along the lines of the now more widespread commercial meaning of the term—in other words an opportunity to gain advantages that could prove decisive.
‘The Deal of the Century’
All of this is happening, and it seems to be no coincidence, in the week in which Trump launched the so-called Deal of the Century in the Middle East, a veritable gift to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It is safe to argue that Trump expects Netanyahu—in exchange for the gift—to support his attempts to avoid the impeachment cage, disputes in which the neoconservatives are decisive.
A symbol of the Trump-neocon struggle is the duel fought by the standard bearer of the movement, John Bolton, with the White House. The former National Security Advisor is doing his best to get Trump into trouble, with the President forced on the defensive.
Netanyahu’s relations with the American neoconservatives are well-known. This gives rise to the possibility that the Israeli premier, having obtained the coveted Deal of the Century, could put in a good word for Trump in that area. It might not prove decisive but it could have some influence.
Johnson And Trump
It is worth noting that the Deal of the Century has so far only been supported unconditionally by one country in Europe: Great Britain. This support has been communcated via Johnson and his Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. London has therefore decided to play the game on Trump’s side
Obviously Johnson is entertaining the idea of acting as a playmaker in the Middle East, reviving the glories of the Balfour Declaration, when Great Britain laid the groundwork for a future homeland for the Jewish people in Palestine.
But behind this support is also without doubt the idea of redesigning the relationship with Washington (in parallel opposition to that of the EU) which is an essential part of the relaunch of the Anglosphere. This is the importance of Trump’s victory, in Johnson’s view.
On this crucial Friday both of them could achieve a decisive result. This is what Trump is seeking at least, even though he might, however, find himself more embroiled in impeachment than before. Trump’s game, in contrast to that of Johnson—which Brexit secured for him—still hangs in the balance. The possibility of being locked in the impeachment cage—an image we have not chosen by chance—remains.
The significance of the next Black Friday still waits to be seen. We shall see.
Translation by Dale Owens