After weighing the potential costs of undermining their close diplomatic and military ties with Britain, the United States of America seems unlikely to follow through on its threat to consign its ally to second-class status once the said country leaves the European Union.
It should be remembered that President Barack Obama had cautioned prior the Brexit referendum that Britain would be placed to the back of the queue on US trade priorities if it voted to leave the trading block, well behind a much-bigger US-European trade deal now under negotiation.
However, now that Britain had ultimately voted to leave the EU by almost 52% and severe financial market reaction has erupted, US officials are creating more supportive remarks about the strength of the US- UK alliance, as well as emphasizing that they are still evaluating the Brexit impact on European trade talks.
US-UK Alliance on Defense
According to security and trade experts, Washington is restrained of adding to Britain’s economic misery, which could obstruct its ability to maintain its commitments to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and US-led efforts to fight terrorism.
A more indigent Britain may not be able to afford its guarantee to spend 2% of its GDP on defense at a time on escalating threats coming from Russia, not a new fleet of nuclear submarines that form a major role of the West’s nuclear missile deterrent.
Nicholas Burns, a former US NATO ambassador, told reporters on Monday that Britain could become smaller and weaker—and should that happen, one can question their ability of sustaining defense spending and the effort to be globally oriented.
“That's what we worry about with Britain leaving. Britain was the strongest American partner inside the EU.”
Trade experts also stated that an agreement on the US-European Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was implausible for years now without Britain, which could bring in a chance for a separate deal with Britain.
Gary Hufbauer, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute of International Economics, said that the “back of the queue” statement will mostly be disregarded by the next administration, if not sooner.
“In my view, TTIP is either dormant or dead in the wake of Brexit.”
In regards with that, Miriam Sapiro, a former deputy US Trade Representative added that, “A U.S.-UK agreement could create leverage to get TTIP done more quickly, and it's an easier agreement to do,” since it is easier to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with the UK, a “like-minded” country that Is more open to free trade than the rest of the remaining EU members.
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