WATCH | Could the Trump-May relationship be as impactful as the Reagan-Thatcher relationship?
During the Cold War, former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher were closely aligned leaders who reshaped world order with their joint focus on a strong national defense and a limited domestic government.
The days of the Cold War are gone, but with the British voting to leave the European Union last year, the relationship between the U.S. and Britain is as important as it's ever been. So can Donald Trump and Theresa May create a bond like Thatcher and Reagan?
The special relationship between our two countries has been one of the great forces in history.
Both Trump and May acknowledged the uniqueness of their relationship in their opening statements at their joint press conference on Friday.
"The invitation is an indication of the strength and importance of the special relationship between the two countries," May said. "A relationship based on the bonds of history."
May and Trump hope to begin a bilateral trade agreement-- and despite Trump’s dim view of NATO, they both indicated their support for the Transatlantic Alliance on Friday.
Trump's move to support NATO despite his previous complaints about the organization shows signs of the two sides' willingness to work together on a global stage.
“Oh I think there is the potential. Donald Trump has seized on May as a kindred spirit," said Edward Alden, the author of 'Failure to Adjust: How Americans Got left Behind in the Global Economy.' "He very much needs a friend in the world and he has picked May. From her perspective there are advantages as well.”
There will be times when we disagree and issues on which we disagree,
But a relationship as tight as Thatcher and Reagan isn't guaranteed.
“Theresa May is not a populist, she is much more of a traditional conservative leader," Alden told Circa. "So I think there is going to be more daylight between the two of them than there was for Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher who really were kindred spirits.”
They could be the harbinger of a broader global nationalist shift and in that sense potentially as important a partnership as Reagan and Thatcher
But with Trump provoking Mexico, the European Union, and China, combined with the UK leaving the EU, a US partnership with the UK has the potential to change the global political order.
While the Reagan-Thatcher relationship was one of shared ideology, the Trump-May relationship may be more out of necessity given their current positions in the world.
So for now, the relationship between the UK and US has the potential to gain the stature it found under Reagan and Thatcher in the eighties, but there is no guarantee that the two leaders, Trump and May, who have policy differences will be able to be the same tight-knit brethren that Regan and Thatcher were.