The Economist asks why Theresa May was so keen to hurry to Washington.
The magazine’s answer: because Brexit compels Britain’s leaders to show that the country has powerful allies and May is desperate to line up a Britain-America trade deal that can be closed as soon as Brexit takes place, probably in 2019.
'Whether this will end happily is uncertain. In trade negotiations, size matters. Larger economies can stipulate terms that suit them. Britain, an economy of 60m people, has much less leverage in trade talks than the EU, a market of 500m, or the United States, one of 300m. Mr Trump may promise an agreement "very quickly" and to show other countries that it is safe to leave the EU by giving Britain generous treatment. But more than anything else he is an America First deal-wrangler who knows he has the upper hand'.
The Economist warns of the risks of a rushed agreement, including a British health service opened up to American firms and the dilution of food standards. Such concessions, it predicts, could upset voters who supported Brexit partly in the belief that it would help the NHS.
The article concludes: 'The curious thing is that Brexit was supposed to be about "taking back control": immunising the country from foreign whim and interest, while asserting national dignity and independence. Increasingly that looks like a bad joke. The British elite feels it has no choice but to prostrate itself before an American president it clearly finds odious'.