“We benefit when the E.U. is unified, speaking with a single voice. That is in the American interest,” Gordon said. The British newspaper The Guardian remarked that the American intervention “appeared to be a clear message to the [British] government that the ‘special relationship’ [between the U.K. and U.S.] would be devalued in the eyes of the Obama administration if Britain left the E.U., or got bogged down in drawn-out negotiations on the details of its membership.” If anything, the American intervention, in the form of a soft threat, indicating its refusal to back Britain, shows that the “special relationship” is already over. That is, if it was not already over four years ago, based on Obama’s first act on his first day in office: the unsolicited return of a bust of Winston Churchill, on loan to the U.S. from to from Britain. (What would have been wrong with a closet?)
The White House also warned Britain that its significance to the world and to the U.S. would be weakened by leaving the E.U.. Persuading Britain to stay in the E.U. would be “in America’s national interest,” according to a senior U.S. official.
William Legge, the Earl of Dartmouth, reacted by pointing out that the position of the Obama administration is not in line with America’s traditional view: “There have been times in history when the U.S. had been very pleased that Britain has remained independent of the continent, and we expect that to continue,” he said. “It is not the job of the U.K. to make the work of U.S. diplomats easier. It is our job to secure our own interests.”
Dartmouth is a member of the European Parliament for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). This party advocates withdrawal of Britain from the E.U. It did very well in recent by-elections, and currently polls almost 14%. UKIP is also very critical of Islamization.
Clive Crook, senior editor of The Atlantic, criticized the Obama administration by comparing Obama’s attitude towards Britain and the E.U. with that of the U.S. and NAFTA: “I think Britain should call on the U.S. to start recasting NAFTA as a full monetary and political union. Be visionary, for heaven’s sake. Put the Federal Reserve in Mexico City as a measure of good faith. Europe would benefit if North America were unified, speaking with a single voice.”
John Redwood, a Conservative British M.P. and a former cabinet minister, wrote: “It is a crowning irony that the Obama administration now thinks the U.K. should be subservient to [E.U.] rule in many areas, just so the U.S. has a more acceptable lobbyist at the E.U. court. We wish to be self governing. We have no wish to be told that we should lose our democracy in the cause of advancing America’s.”
But, of course, what is at stake is not advancing America’s democracy at the expense of Britain’s. America’s democracy cannot be incompatible with Britain’s. What we are witnessing is the Obama administration actively interfering in European politics to advance European centralization. This is a threat to democracy and freedom in Europe. History will show that it will be a threat to democracy and freedom in America as well.
Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.
About the Author: Peter Martino is a European affairs columnist for the Gatestone Institute.
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