But the precise American interest in Britain’s relationship with the rest of Europe was made more explicit in a recent article by Richard Haas, who was formerly a policy director at the State Department and is the president of the influential Council on Foreign Relations. Haas wrote: «From my perspective (and that of many other Americans), a decision by the United Kingdom to exit the EU would be undesirable – indeed, highly undesirable».
He went on to explain: «One reason why the US values its ties to the UK as much as it does is the UK’s role in Europe. Britain is important not just as a bilateral partner, but because more often than not it can be counted on to argue for and support positions in Brussels consistent with, or at least not far from, those of the US».
In short, Britain is Washington’s gopher in Europe. Or to put it another way: without Britain, Washington would not be able to control European policies as much as it has done up to now. This has huge implications for both economic and foreign policies.
Boris Johnson is talking of opening Britain up to the world. It’s time to be brave, he says.
Imagine for a moment the European Union without Britain’s unswerving pro-Washington agenda. There is a fair chance that the EU would not have indulged the American regime change policies in the Middle East and North Africa, which have resulted in a refugee crisis tearing EU members apart at the seams. If it were not for Britain’s bullish advocacy of Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions and pro-NATO militarism generally, there is a fair chance that the current standoff between Europe and Moscow would not have transpired.
British inclusion in Europe is of paramount geopolitical advantage to Washington. Britain is crucial for driving the American wedge between Europe – especially Germany – and Russia. That’s what Richard Haas was referring to in his angst over a possible Brexit.
A socialist European Union independent from American foreign policy and one where normal relations with Russia are allowed to prevail is a preferred objective. But is that realistically achievable as long as Uncle Sam’s British bulldog remains snapping at everyone’s heels?
Perhaps the most expedient way forward is for Britain to leave the EU. From Russia’s point of view, a Brexit could be a lucky break.