Monday, June 16, 2003


Perry de Haviland mentions this website's "deep and festering suspicion of the USA". We're not suspicious, we know that the USA is not our (permanent) friend. Neither is France, China, Ireland, San Marino, Chile or Swaziland.

His problem is Andrew Sullivan's and Ramesh Ponnuru's view that America would do badly out of a European Union. Now maybe they would and maybe they wouldn't - remember that the Conservative Party in the 1970s enthusiastically supported the EEC because it would strengthen the Western Alliance against the USSR, so America's enthusiasm for Europe did and in many cases still does extend beyond rhetoric. However it is perfectly right for an American to worry about American interests.

However this is not how the wild eyed Samizdatans see it. Sullivan is "kicking the none-too-tight lid off latent anti-Americanism" by saying that keeping British semi-independence from Europe "should become a prime U.S. objective in foreign policy" as Britain is America's "most valuable military and diplomatic ally". Now some pro-Europeans may use this, considering the unpopularity of the Sumerian adventure anti-Americanism gets votes in Britain. But they'd say something like that anyway. However the idea that "his views are of little value in any positive way to people outside his American national collective" is bizarre. As far as I know it was the "American national collective" (right-Trot speak for the American nation) that Sullivan was addressing his spiel to. Why should Americans care about due process or jury trials outside their own borders? If we can't look after our own freedoms then we don't deserve them. I don't want the Americans to tell me how I should be governed even if, especially if, they care about my best interests.

What I particularly like is the shock at the idea that it might be in America's interests to keep us in the EU, no matter how awkwardly. We first applied under the most Atlanticist of Prime Ministers, Harold Macmillan. We kept in under the Cold Warrior Wilson (supported by the even more staunchly pro-American Thatcher). The treasurer of the Yes Campaign in 1975 has since claimed that CIA money played it's part in the 20-1 funding advantage for the pro-EEC campaign - although Lord McAlpine doesn't necesarily have to be believed straight away. There may be a pattern to this. Britain in the EU is in America's interests not least for the fact that as Enoch Powell pointed out it keeps Britain out of trouble in the wider world.

It may shock the Samizdatans but there are other areas where the British national interest clashes with American national interests, such as Ulster. It is not in our interests to give this to the IRA, as even our weak kneed governing classes recognise, but that's not what's happening. Why? Washington.

All this is not going to affect this small band of isolationists. Britain does badly out of the EU end of story. If America sees that for her own selfish reasons she needs to get us out then that's her business. I don't want America's sympathy, and I'm not particularly keen on America's help. But I don't want Britain to act against her national interests simply to spite America, it's as silly as acting against our interests in order to help America.


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