UK-US special relationship shaky following Brexit vote

What was told seven years ago is coming to fruition:

Goodbye, Britain. Hello, Europe.

The special relationship between America and Britain is done. Any talk of continuance that you hear is just that. The baton is now being passed to the Fourth Reich which will pave the way for Europe’s future.


Washington likely to hasten pivot towards Germany as top European ally

As one special relationship falters, another may beckon. The British vote to leave the EU could hasten a changing of the guard among Washington’s European allies, with Germany replacing the UK as its most important partner.

In the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the White House has gone out of its way to emphasise the enduring links that will remain between the US and the UK. “One thing that will not change is the special relationship that exists between our two nations,” US President Barack Obama said on Friday.

But Mr Obama has less than seven months left in office and much will depend on the attitude of his successor. The reality is also that even before the British referendum on June 23, the US had increasingly been looking to Germany, and to a lesser extent France, as its go-to ally in Europe — and that process is likely to accelerate as London’s influence in the region diminishes.

“Henry Kissinger’s famous question about ‘Who do I call in Europe?’ has now been settled. The answer is that we call the German chancellor’s office. That means we have to invest in the relationship with Germany,” said Nicholas Burns, a former senior State Department official in the George W Bush administration, who is now advising Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Britain introduced us to the EU and introduced the EU to us, playing a pragmatic role. But much of that will be gone,” he added.

However, “the US must face the fact that the UK will likely be less of an effective and reliable partner in global affairs,” said Jim Stavridis, a former Nato supreme commander and now dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University. “The US-UK relationship is about to get somewhat less special, unfortunately,” he added.

There is also a broad acknowledgment that the importance of Germany is bound to rise — at the UK’s expense. “We will now work to strengthen our relationship with Germany, given the UK’s influence in the EU has been greatly diminished. A more isolated UK reduces its importance in Washington,” said Brendan Boyle, a Democratic congressman from Pennsylvania.

Yet there are limits on how close the relationship between Washington and Berlin can become. The Obama administration and its German counterparts have different views on fiscal policy and the role of austerity in Europe — a division that was apparent during Greece’s economic crisis and that could flare up again if France, Italy and other European countries push for greater public spending as a response to rising populism.

“Germany will become even more dominant in the EU,” said Ben Cardin, the most senior Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee. “We have an excellent relationship with Germany, [but] it will be a challenge for us in dealing with the EU as we don’t have Great Britain as our interlocutor.”

With its postwar reticence on using its military, Germany also has a different stance on security to the US. “Germany is going to have to change. Where they have been hesitant to take a lead in security issues, before they could look to the UK and France,” said Mike Turner, US Congressman from Ohio. “It puts additional pressure on Germany and its membership in Nato.”

Full article: UK-US special relationship shaky following Brexit vote (Financial Times)

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