On June 23 the British people, in a sovereign state called the United Kingdom (consisting of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), vote in a national referendum to decide whether they should remain in the European Union (EU).
What should Americans care?
Sovereignty can be defined in jurisprudence as the full right and power of a governing body to govern itself without any interference from outside sources or bodies.
While Brexit is clearly not our choice to make, it appears at least some Americans care a lot – as President Obama spent a few days in London with Prime Minister Cameron lobbying and campaigning hard for the remain vote.
Picture this: A foreign leader intervenes in a sovereign decision of another state. How would Americans feel if some other distant world leader, say, Francois Hollande of France or Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, came here to tell us what to do? Really.
Obama said Britain would “go to the back of the queue” (line, in British parlance) in U.S. interests if they did not vote to stay in Europe. He trotted out every argument in the book, also suggesting his globalist Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP, trade negotiations with Europe would be damaged if the vote were to leave.
Now, there are good reasons and bad reasons for and against Brexit, and within the U.K. the forces are about equally split.
One side, using figures from HM Treasury (albeit a government agency), suggests it will cost Brits jobs, economic growth and about $4,000 per head by 2030, if they vote to leave Europe. The calculations have been questioned, and the models seem a slight bit dire.
The euro-skeptics, on the other hand, say nonsense, that the cost of leaving is slight and the benefits of independence and a secure immigration policy outweigh the pro-European position. They say the bureaucracy and budgetary costs (estimated at the equivalent of $500 million a week) of staying in Europe – are far too expensive.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the EU’s most expensive policy, accounts for 40 percent of the EU budget – raising consumer prices by protecting inefficiency.
Euro-skeptics also calculate that the EU prevents the U.K. from other open trade, costing Britain about 4 percent of GDP to the economy. Further, for euro-skeptics, the euro zone crisis demonstrates what happens when ill-matched economies enter into a monetary union. Just look at Greece to see the type of severe consequences that are possible.
A year ago few people thought the Brits would actually leave Europe and were disappointed when it did not happen.
But today, after a rise in populism worldwide and growing nationalist sentiment, the U.K. decision to stay out of the Eurozone has a better chance to be prelude to a full-scale Brexit.
The idea that the Anglo-Saxons are Continentals has itself long been contested (since at least 1066), and European identity, let alone the flawed integrationist machinery of the Brussels experiment, is roundly questioned – well, perhaps detested might be closer to the prevailing view – especially as the Jean Monnet dream concept of “Europe” is being called into question in country after country.
The elite that that dominates EU decision-making is managerial, bureaucratic and socialist with a view to higher taxation and redistribution of wealth – all qualities the EU elite tout proudly, despite growing populist sentiment among an increasingly economically pressed middle class in virtually every EU-participating country.
Add to the mix the surge of Muslims fleeing the Middle East into Europe, and the strain on EU cohesion has reached a breaking point.
But from an American perspective should we care? Do we really have a dog in this fight?
London’s mayor, the ever colorful Boris Johnson, who wants himself badly to be the next prime minister, said that the Obama position was “ridiculous “and that his views on the subject reflect a “part-Kenyan heritage”… “driving him toward anti-British sentiment.”
Nigel Farge, the leader of the nationalist UKIP party, went further and told Obama to “butt out.”
The question U.S. citizens should puzzle is this: Would you want the United States to join anything like the EU – a federal superstate that curtails sovereignty? Reread the definition provided above, and you decide.
Of course the answer is NO.
We wouldn’t want that in any way, shape or form. And the British already, under Margaret Thatcher, decided not to become part of the flawed Euro currency and the European Central Bank. They have a kind of halfway house. In, but not all the way in. But the globalists that populate the EU, make no mistake, want a complete political union as the end game.
So here’s an interesting and novel alternative no pundit is yet suggesting, and I say it only half facetiously.
If our “Very Special Relationship” partners (forgetting the War of Independence as a spat between cousins, as well as their torching of the White House in 1812) don’t want to be Europeans (the island apart argument and Churchill’s notion of the English speaking peoples) – why not give them two other viable alternative choices?
The United Kingdom could join NAFTA, and we would rename it the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement. Nothing to sneeze at and no costs attached, just a bigger free trade zone. No attendant superstate.
Or, more radically, and I jest not (well, maybe), give the U.K. statehood status and a proportional number of members of Congress, with two senators. That would make our relationship truly special. Why not throw in an NFL franchise for London? We like the queen, so she could have some honorific role. How about Queen of Queens?
British culture, food and sport would all dramatically improve (at least from a U.S. point of view). and together we would win all the Olympic medals. Something to consider?
Seriously, we all should recall a profound speech given by then former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, in 1946, at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri.
It was perhaps his most significant post-war speech, where he launched both the phrases “iron curtain” and “special relationship ” into popular currency. He said our two countries shared a common history, a common language and a common literature, observing that in the course of the 20th century twice we had been on the same side in wars to defeat tyranny and dictatorship and for liberty and freedom.
Our mutual and abiding interests, common worldview, congruence of sympathies and the undeniably unique heritage of the Anglo-American tradition of liberty is our true future together. With a shared Whig history, the King James Bible, the Anglican Church, long historical memory – all of these things make up a valuable Anglo-Atlanticist patrimony. Britain belongs here, with us in the United States, not part of an increasingly disunited Europe.
The 21st century will need such Anglo-American leadership more than ever before. Perhaps, herein lie the sinews of lasting peace.