Daniel Larison joins the ranks:
Personally, I am hoping that the Remain campaign loses. The EU is famously lacking in democratic accountability. If the only way to hold its institutions and leaders in check is by the threat of leaving, at some point one or more of its members has to make good on the threat to leave. Whatever the short-term economic disruption of withdrawing from the EU may be (and I assume there will be some), the case for leaving has always been a political one concerned with the ability of the governed to hold their government to account for what it does. British voters can’t fully do that right now as part of the EU. The Remain campaign has had to resort to constant fear-mongering because it cannot make a positive case for staying a part of a dysfunctional transnational organization for which almost no one feels any real loyalty or affection, and so it has to conjure up nightmare scenarios to frighten voters to their side.
Whatever the result is on June 23, the U.S. should aim to maintain good relations with the U.K. If Britain votes to leave, the U.S. should do what it can within reason to help make the transition easier, and we should do so in recognition that our relationship with the U.K. is a long, well-established, and close one that long predates the EU.
As fair and eloquent a case as you will hear. Though Larison’s expectation of some short-term economic disruption needn’t come true – particularly if we follow the Flexcit model and leave to an interim EFTA/EEA position, maintaining our access to the single market – he is right that the real argument is a democratic one. The crux of the matter is that British voters have no practical way of holding EU leaders to account that is not at least twenty steps removed, relying on other people doing other things. That is no democracy – despite the desperate attempts of some EU apologists to claim that the various elections to EU institutions make the EU a beacon of good governance.
Larison is right too that the United States should and will maintain good relations with Britain after Brexit. For while regained British independence from the EU may thwart the State Department’s dream of having just one telephone number to dial when they want to call Europe, in every important respect – military power, willingness to commit military forces, foreign direct investment, defence cooperation, security cooperation, academic and trade cooperation, cultural affinity – Britain is America’s closest and strongest ally, and in ways which have absolutely nothing to do with our membership of the European Union.
Remainers and EU apologists love to paint Britain as a puny and insignificant nation whose clout only comes about through our membership of international bodies (most of which have existed for little more than half a century, rather undermining the claim), but the special relationship between Britain and the United States is a partnership between two consequential countries which have and will continue to shape world events well into the future – at least if both countries can finally rediscover their national confidence.
And in this fight to make Britain a consequential player in the world again rather than a timid vassal of euro-parochialism, it is good to have the support of Daniel Larison and The American Conservative.
Top Image: City AM
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