Mon 25 Apr 2016
President Obama’s recent intervention in the British Referendum debate, threatening that the UK would be “at the back of the queue” for a US/UK trade deal, has rightly been treated with the contempt it deserves. It is totally out of order for a foreign Head of State to attempt to intervene in a domestic political issue in this way. Obama’s attempt to bully British voters was also not credible. Here are just a few of the zillions of reasons why.
First, Obama is a lame duck President. In the final year of his second term he does not command a majority in either house of the US Congress. While Hilary Clinton might take a similar view to Obama, (Crooked Hillary, who will take any view someone is willig to pay her to take)many Republicans would not and a lot of Democratic Party supporters would recognise that it is not the place of the US President to advise British citizens that they should act in America’s interests rather than their own country’s .
Secondly, neither the EU nor the UK has a USA trade deal today, so the UK outside Europe would be in exactly the same position with regard to US trade as it (and other EU member states) are today. Yes, there is an EU/US trade deal (TTIP) currently under negotiation, but it is highly controversial and looks more and more likely to fail as time passes. Both the timing and the outcome are extremely uncertain.
The UK joined the Common Market in 1973, and has been unable to make independent trade deals since then. In my view, we should have had a free trade deal with the USA decades ago had we not been in the EU.
Thirdly, trade deals are supposedly about mutual benefit. A good trade deal is beneficial to both parties. A free trade deal is a win-win deal which in the case in point would benefit the USA as well as the UK. President Obama has been criticised for following the worst examples of EU policy, and in seeking to use the offer (or denial) of a free trade deal as a a diplomatic lever for a political objective, he is doing so again.
The UK is a major trading partner of the USA. In threatening to withhold a UK/USA trade deal for political reasons, Obama is in effect threatening to disadvantage the very country he represents. This is why his threat is not credible.
This is a deliberate and impudent attempt at blackmail by a vainglorious little man who is desperately eager to salvage something of his reputation after eight years of a disastrously failed presidency. It should be dismissed accordingly.
More posts on the brexit vote and what happens next
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