Johnson leaves not promising to return

Johnson leaves not promising to return

Last night, British Prime Minister Teresa May appointed Jeremy Hunt as the new Foreign Minister of the country. The candidacy of Hunt has already been approved by Queen Elizabeth II. A few hours earlier, British Foreign secretary Boris Johnson had resigned from his post. May accepted his decision, paying tribute to the work he had done.

Boris Johnson left the government less than a day after UK Brexit secretary David Davis had resigned. Both of them were supporters of the ‘tough Brexit’, and after May's decision to ease the conditions for Britain's withdrawal from the EU, it became clear that the ways of key ministers and the prime minister drifted apart.

The Foreign Minister was a point-blank opponent of a creation of the free trade zone with the EU, which Teresa Mei intends to offer to the continental partners. He did not like the idea of a selective approach to goods and products that would be exempt from the future restrictions. In his opinion, such a scenario prolongs the stay of the UK in the EU, camouflaging it clumsily and illogically, and the most importantly - contrary to the desire of British citizens, who consider the membership in the association as an impermissible luxury for the country and the union itself as an unnecessary burden for the British state.

As the Foreign Secretary, Johnson generally proved himself to be not a very flexible negotiator, inconvenient for the dialogue partners. Except for one and the main one - the USA. Critics said that he was more like an informal representative of Washington in London than the head of the Foreign Office, always taking in consideration the interests of Washington, acting in close liaison with the US, but without raising its interests above the national ones.

Probably, in this context, the expert circles do not exclude the fact that Johnson's resignation was caused not only by the escalating contradictions with the Prime Minister but also with the coming change in the general atmosphere and the situation on the international arena.

A meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin which takes place in a week in Helsinki is on agenda.  No one is going to predict exactly what will happen in the capital of Finland. Political analysts are only cautiously suggesting which issues will be discussed by the heads of states in the state of the cold war. They are even vaguer in their arguments, what exactly Putin and Trump can come to and what they will be able to agree on. But practically everyone is sure that since presidents meet, it is certain that some compromise on any of the issues will be announced. And it is not at all ruled out that even on several at once. Otherwise, such political heavyweights would not meet. It is not customary that the presidents of the United States and Russia (in the past USSR) are unpleasantly shocked after the talks. And Helsinki was chosen not by chance as a venue for the meeting - the most significant and productive dialogues between Washington and Moscow took place in the capital of Finland.

Under the conditions of a possible warming of the political climate, Boris Johnson, a principled supporter of not only tough Brexit, but also of a  tough attitude towards Russia through the maximum tightening of various sanctions, who made a lot of radical statements with appropriate content - would fell himself uncomfortable. The minister would not have time to ‘change the plates’ in the course of the meal. And he does not have such a desire, because any softening of rhetoric towards Russia would mean a loss of prestige - he has proved to be Moscow’s irreconcilable rival, although he stressed his weakness as ‘convinced Russophile’ (!) of Russian literature.

It is sufficient to recall his words before the G20 meeting of the foreign ministers in Argentina: we envy the ability of Donald Trump to impose restrictions against Russian oligarchs and advisers to President Putin, and we hope that after the British withdrawal from the EU we will be able to pursue the same decisive policy against Russia in the issue of sanctions - after all, London will no longer have to coordinate its actions with someone else.

On appropriate occasions, Boris Johnson has repeatedly made it clear that only membership in the EU, forcing to inform Brussels about almost every step and impose its sanctions, prevents him from launching his own scenarios against Russia, which would be fatal to the ‘evil empire’. "We have our own schemes and approaches ... and when in March 2019, the UK  leaves the EU, then we will have an opportunity to take a tougher line. "

It is difficult to say which ‘schemes and approaches’ were stored in the safe in Johnson's office, but the topic of Russian oligarchs and ‘dirty money’ has become the ‘favorite theme’ of his judgments. In particular, according to some observers, the recent inconvenience of the Chelsea football club owner, Roman Abramovich during the visa obtaining procedure, most likely was provoked by Johnson's anti-Russian initiatives.

However, the sharp changes (we will see later whether they are really sharp) - the launch of the ‘soft Brexit’, and a possible detente in the US-Russian relations with the logically projected decline (at least) of the sanction war glow, Boris Johnson looks like a politician who has not caught  the wind of change.

Of course, we should not exclude his return to the political arena. First, because everything is possible in the politics. The second, in difficult periods of political antagonism, such figures become in demand, though not as the head of the Foreign Office.

”Many events on Downing Street are unclear, except for one - the government crisis is becoming more obvious,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented on Johnson's resignation. According to her, even the British king of political eccentricity did not want to stay in the ‘holey boat’ of Therese May’s government.


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