Analysis: Boris Johnson has played his hand well

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3 min read
fairly easy
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dealt a complex hand with Joe Biden. He has played it quite well.
This story was excerpted from the September 22 edition of CNN's Meanwhile in America, the daily email about US politics for global readers. Click here to read past editions and subscribe.

The man known by the previous incumbent of the Oval Office as "Britain Trump" got his first White House visit on Tuesday — eight months into the new President's term. He was well behind his predecessor, Theresa May, who got there within a week of Donald Trump taking office. But with the British press ever alert for any slight to add to the list of special relationship snubs, it is noticeable Biden invited Johnson to Washington. They could have met in New York since both were at the United Nations for the last two days.

Johnson arrived in Washington by train, perhaps trying to earn an attaboy from "Amtrak Joe." Early in Biden's term, Johnson seemed to struggle for the new President's attention. Biden, whose blood runs green, made clear that he backed Dublin and the European Union over a Northern Ireland border dispute. And the UK can no longer serve as Washington's ears inside the European Union.

Britain's biggest goal -- a free-trade deal with the US that it needs to replace its European market access -- is still elusive, as Johnson admitted this week. In fact, you might say the UK has gone "to the back of the queue."

But the affinity between Johnson and Trump was always…
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