The United Kingdom’s Liz Truss took office this week as the 15th prime minister in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. The former foreign secretary has the desire and potential to be an exceptional American ally—if President Joe Biden does his part.
Truss is the country’s third female leader and fourth Conservative since her party returned to power in 2010. While she diverges from predecessor Boris Johnson’s big government conservatism, she very much represents a continuation of policy on foreign affairs. She is well and truly committed to the “special relationship” between the U.K. and U.S. The second phone call she took upon taking office, after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s, was Biden’s.
During her leadership bid, Truss talked up the need for strong responses to the threat from Russia, China, and Iran and made no secret of her admiration for former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “United with our allies, we will stand up for freedom and democracy around the world,” she said in her inaugural speech. “We can’t have security at home without having security abroad.”
As foreign minister she led the early international response to the crisis in Ukraine, and she succeeded in cobbling together early support. The U.K., Poland, and the Baltic states began sending weapons to the endangered democracy while others dithered ahead of the Russian attack. Likewise, she helped to secure a deal between the U.K., Poland, and Ukraine on economic and defense cooperation. The United States has since followed these policies.