Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) would enhance the ‘special relationship’ between Britain and America, not diminish it, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton has said. He has criticised President Obama for telling the British people to vote to remain in, saying that his “fascination” with the EU “reflects his own statist inclinations.”
President Obama is not due to visit the UK for another month, but his potential visit has already caused controversy thanks to reports that he plans to recommend a ‘remain’ vote to the British people ahead of a referendum on EU membership in June.
Yesterday the Mayor of London and prominent ‘leave’ campaigner Boris Johnson slammed President Obama’s “exorbitant hypocrisy” on the matter, pointing out that America would never cede sovereignty in the same manner as he is suggesting Britain should.
Today, John Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, has joined the fray, accusing President Obama of “unabashedly supporting continued construction of a European superstate,” a position which Mr Bolton describes as “conventional wisdom” among the western elite.
“[President Obama’s] lack of international leadership perfectly mirrors the EU’s timid, ineffective defence of its own interests and values,” Mr Bolton has written in the Telegraph. “Of course [he] loves the EU.”
And he says that America is partly to blame for the illusion that the creation of the EU has brought peace to Europe, as NATO, largely an American project, has allowed European states to shelter “under Washington’s military umbrella”.
Consequently, European states, including Britain have “recklessly” cut military spending while ramping up social welfare programs.
“The results are not pretty”, Mr Bolton says. “The EU has not only retreated from the world stage, it is becoming incompetent in ensuring security within its own “borders”. Europe’s loss of defence capabilities, as well as will and resolve, are deeply inimical to defending the West against today’s increasing global threats.”
The timing couldn’t be worse. According to President Obama’s own intelligence officials, the global terror threat posed by radical Islamists is higher today than it was at the time of 9/11, thanks to the Middle East and North Africa’s descent into political turmoil and social chaos. Russian imperialism, the rise of China and a nuclear-hungry North Korea merely compound the problem.
Yet the situation could still deteriorate if America opts to withdraw from her role as the world’s policeman. Mr Bolton warns that this is not out of the question: “America’s international commitments are under attack from several populist directions in our ongoing presidential campaign,” he says.
“Some, especially among Democrats, simply do not value national security, preferring to focus on domestic issues, hoping – God forbid – to make America look more like social-democratic Europe.
“Others, especially among Republicans, think America’s allies have got a free ride, don’t appreciate U.S. efforts, and should be made to fend for themselves. If Britain votes to stay In, this view may prevail across Washington. So be careful what you wish for.”
Taken in this geopolitical light, Mr Bolton’s recommended course of action is for Britain to resume her independence and realign herself with her natural partner across the pond.
“Britain’s escape from the EU Titanic, combined with America emerging from eight years of folly this November, could revitalise the West as a whole, including the recumbent nations currently content to remain within the EU.
“The United States needs strong European allies, of which Britain has been and should remain the most important. We enjoy independence – you should resume yours. It works.”