This article was first posted in The Commentator
Contrary to claims from the pro-European Union lobby, Brexit will not sour relations with the United States.
As two nations which have interacted and shaped each other culturally, economically and politically for many decades, the relationship between the United Kingdom and United States is truly unrivalled anywhere else on the globe.
On both sides of the Atlantic, pro-EU commentators are trying to downplay the benefits of Brexit. However, the wishes of many diplomats and legislators have not come true — the EU is yet to become a single coherent monolith. From migration, through welfare, international trade, and defence, internal clashes between member states are the norm, not the exception.
While our so-called ‘special relationship’ has been scorned as a romanticised view of Britain and America, it is undoubtedly true that the practices of law, finance and popular culture between the two nations have impacted upon the entire world. In our everyday lives, it would seem our transatlantic links affect us more positively than continental interference from Brussels.
Closer to home, we know the EU has a negative outlook towards international finance, seeks to compete with NATO, and has a painfully slow attitude to new trade deals.
You would hope most US commentators would appreciate British fears over EU expansionism. For example, the EU’s Lisbon Treaty was not approved by its citizens, but enforced with a top down approach. Like the US Constitution, Brexit simply recognises the will of the British people, and will place our consent above a political union we do not wish to be part of.
It is no wonder Conservative Prime Minister Ted Heath was a staunch advocate of Britain’s EU membership during the 1970s, while he simultaneously put Anglo-American relations on the wane.
As our unambitious leaders of the past played Britain down and took us along the integrationist route, the obsession with the declining EU showed a certain timid view of Britain’s influence abroad. It is the opposite of our outward looking transatlanticism.
The US would jump at the chance to sign a free trade agreement with Britain, circumventing the frustration which comes with forcing 28 EU Member States to agree. Using non-EU Switzerland as an example, previous research from Get Britain Out has shown that, on average, the small nation achieves free trade agreeements around 3 and a half years faster than the EU (4.2 years, compared to an EU average of 7.6 years).
While many American commentators and politicians are wisely reluctant to comment on Britain’s decision, some wade into the debate without any understanding of the frustrations of the Great British Public. One thing is clear so far — anti-Brexit statements from President Obama and trade representative Michael Froman (who previously worked for the EU) are simply rehashing the lines of the EU Commission.
Trying to understand Obama’s assertion that UK-US relations will strengthen only if Britain stays inside the EU, is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The gradual expansion of the European External Action Service and the straitjacket Brussels places over Britain’s trade arrangements, point to the other direction.
Abroad, the EU seeks to represent the member states, be it in trade, international welfare, or even military matters. The President may be wise to remember the North American Free Trade Agreement (between the United States, Canada and Mexico) has remained an economic arrangement. It has not evolved into an non-consented political institution like the EU.
On the other hand, some US spectators have seen through the EU’s false premise. If small non- EU nations like Switzerland and Norway can negotiate deals with bigger economies, Britain with the fifth biggest GDP in the world can surely do so too. Presidential hopefuls such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have not espoused any ‘know it all’ attitude.
Should Brexit occur, they have stated they would be happy to sign a UK-US Free Trade Agreement. For many of the new presidential hopefuls, the EU represents the complete opposite of Anglo American dynamism; centralisation, weak defence, and counter-productive regulations.
The EU pretends to be an integrated, powerful, and stable political unit. Any informed person knows this is clearly not the case. By not understanding the disparaging view most Britons have of the EU, the current US administration will shoot itself in the foot.
Threatening us with a rise in trade tariffs does not benefit anyone, and looks back in time to where global trade was limited by nationalism and protectionism.
The simple fact is, the US and the UK will work together and trade together after we leave the EU. The relationship with one of our most important allies will not wane just because Westminster regains its supremacy over Brussels.
The only threat to Anglo-American relations is the expanding power of Brussels itself, revealed in the Eurocrats’ dream of a European federal superstate. This is why we must Get Britain Out of the EU as soon as possible.