US President Joe Biden’s upcoming European trip, where he will be popping in to see UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, will no doubt reinforce the optics of the “special relationship,” but simultaneously conceal the underlying fact that London needs Washington far more than vice versa.

Sunak was, of course, polite and diplomatic when signing in June with Biden the “Atlantic Declaration,” a watered-down version of a full-fledged free trade deal with the US. But the unilateral recalibration of UK-US ties was not hard to miss. 

Sunak said a free trade agreement (FTA) was no longer “a priority” for either side and his officials said the declaration marked a “less sentimental and more pragmatic” approach to the UK-US “special relationship.” 

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