Naked Politics Blogger
The United States and the United Kingdom have maintained a “special” relationship for many decades. The two nations share a great deal of history and have many things in common with regard to their economic, political, and sociocultural agendas. Although this relationship has become increasingly strained during the Trump era, many are wondering if Brexit will usher in a new chapter between the two powers.
Regardless of how Brexit plays out, most scenarios foreshadow a frayed relationship between the EU and the UK. This means that the island state will be looking elsewhere to fill the gap. Having Britain look West, across the Atlantic is a likely outcome post-Brexit. Some have argued that Brexit, albeit to the dismay of many, will drive the UK into the arms of the US economy to support itself after the financial ruin that Brexit is sure to bring in following days.
The United States is already the largest singular trading partner for the UK. The trade between the two nations is valued at over $200 billion. Further, the US and UK already have over a trillion dollars invested in each other’s economies. Beyond this, the workforces of the two countries are already highly integrated with over a million Americans working for British firms and vice versa.
Another factor that may be a boon for Anglo-American relations after Brexit is the fact that Britain will no longer be tied down by EU regulatory policies. As Trump shows no signs of letting up his aggressive tariff policies against the majority of major US trading partners, the UK may find clemency from the erratic leader as most of the policy is directed at the EU.
Under the current EU paradigm, any gripe that Trump has with a major EU member such as Germany, for example, in regard to its trade policies on automobiles also falls heavily on the UK. This has up until this point, made a US issue with Germany simultaneously a problem with the UK. In a post-Brexit world, Britain has more incentives to cooperate with the United States as efforts to ameliorate a dispute won’t be so futile in the future with countries like France and Germany currently holding antagonistic positions against the Trump administration.
Still, it is very possible that there will be a sociopolitical backlash to Brexit that spills onto its relationship with the United States. There is no doubt that the ‘special’ relationship that existed between the US and UK has soured to a certain degree over the past few years. While Trump is responsible for a large degree of this souring, other events such as the tricky situation of sending British troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, more or less under US control, played a part in this as well.
Many Brits may be watching the events of Brexit unfold and believe that the whole situation is a complete disaster, but realistically speaking, it may provide ample opportunity for Britain to realign its political allegiances. There is a whole world beyond Europe after all. The member states of the European Union may be the UK’s closest neighbours, but the island nation, much like its geography and its currency, has often sought to separate itself from the rest of continental Europe.
How the results may unfold in relation to the US is still uncertain. However, to state that there is no hope and the United Kingdom is doomed to irreparable financial ruin is premature. The United Kingdom still has a behemoth scion on the other side of the Atlantic that is itching to leverage Brexit in its favour which cannot happen smoothly unless Britain benefits as well. The next few weeks will surely be tense, but there may be greener pastures on the other side.