FPI Resources: Brexit’s Implications for the United States

June 25, 2016

The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union Thursday has ramifications for transatlantic security.  An E.U. without the principled leadership from London will be hamstringed as it confronts challenges ranging from Russian revanchism to Iran’s persistent nuclear ambitions—a grave situation for U.S.-European security cooperation.

The Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) strongly believes in the “Special Relationship” between the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as the transatlantic alliance between America and Europe.  FPI believes that the following resources will make clear how the United States, United Kingdom, and Europe can reinvigorate relations and cooperate on security, trade, and a shared liberal democratic vision of international affairs.


FPI Resources

Britain Will Live to Regret Leaving the E.U. – FPI Fellow James Kirchick – New York Daily News – June 24, 2016

“An E.U. without Britain is also more prone to appease Russia, which today poses a greater threat to European security than at any point since the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Soon to be a body dominated by France and Germany, where voices demanding accommodation with a revanchist Moscow grow louder every day, the E.U. is increasingly likely to lift sanctions on Russia regardless of its behavior in Ukraine. Indeed, if there is one world leader of whose reaction to Brexit we can be confident, it is Vladimir Putin, unquestionably delighted that the largest military power in Europe, and its strongest proponent of democratic freedom in Europe’s east, has decided to call it quits.”

FPI Conference Call Wrap-Up: The Brexit Vote – Foreign Policy Initiative – June 22, 2016

“On Tuesday, the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI) held a conference call that focused on the consequences of ‘Brexit’ for the transatlantic relations and the ‘Special Relationship’ between the United States and the United Kingdom.  Kristen Silverberg, the former U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, and Theodore Bromund, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, participated in the discussion, which was moderated by FPI Fellow Jamie Kirchick.”

Additional Resources

Britain Declares Independence – Editorial – Wall Street Journal – June 24, 2016

“Brexit will require London to renegotiate trade agreements—with the EU itself and trade partners such as South Korea and Mexico. The U.S. can help by offering to negotiate a bilateral deal with the U.K. or inviting it to join the North American Free Trade Agreement. This is an opening for Republicans and Donald Trump, in contrast to President Obama’s nasty taunt that Britain will be stuck in ‘the back of the queue’ for leaving the EU. The U.K. is the largest foreign direct investor in the U.S., and vice versa, and freer trade between the two countries ought to be an easy call in the mutual national interest.”

Brexit’s Stunning Coup – Tony Blair – New York Times – June 24, 2016

“The center must regain its political traction, rediscover its capacity to analyze the problems we all face and find solutions that rise above the populist anger. If we do not succeed in beating back the far left and far right before they take the nations of Europe on this reckless experiment, it will end the way such rash action always does in history: at best, in disillusion; at worst, in rancorous division. The center must hold.”

Letter from London – Mitchell Reiss – Foreign Policy – June 24, 2016

“Is there a risk that aligning ourselves with Britain will alienate our other friends and allies in Europe, most notably Germany? Of course. But there is also the risk that an America that is seen as abandoning its closest ally in its time of need might just be viewed as being a less-than-reliable friend to the other 27 members of the EU. Lost among all the other commentary in the last 24 hours is the fact that the United States now has the opportunity to reassert itself as the leader of a reimagined transatlantic alliance.”

After Brexit, Joy in Moscow – David Kramer – The McCain Institute – June 24, 2016

“In joining such institutions as NATO and the EU, countries cannot treat them as if ordering from a restaurant menu – picking what they want and rejecting what they don’t like. There is no doubt that the EU has many problems to fix; NATO, too, has issues it needs to address. But exiting from these organizations is unlikely to change them for the better.”

Brexit and the Real Crocodile in the Room – Danielle Pletka – AEI Ideas – June 24, 2016

“The answer is not to close the doors or run from humanity. It is to try to solve the challenge at its heart, in Damascus and Baghdad and beyond. ISIS and al Qaeda will find other ways to open the doors to London and eventually to the United States no matter how many votes there are to hide from that reality. Until Europe and the United States put together a concerted and effective strategy to manage the threat emanating from the Middle East, refugees and their terrorist embeds will continue to come. And frighten our people. And sometimes kill them. This is not tolerable, nor is it soluble by referendum.”

Europe’s Loss is NATO’s Gain – Admiral James Stavridis, USN (Ret.) – Foreign Policy – June 25, 2016

“[A] new British government will presumably be a very motivated NATO partner. Now that it has chosen to become a relatively marginal economic player on the international stage, it will have to look for new ways to demonstrate value in its partnership with the United States if it hopes to maintain anything like the “special relationship” it has become accustomed to (and dependent on). Britain will no doubt calculate that continuing or improving its good work in NATO – where it has always been strong to begin with – will be an important show of good faith.”

Implications for the U.S. of the Brexit Vote – James Jeffrey and Simon Henderson – The Cipher Brief – June 23, 2016

“Generally speaking, the UK has been an advocate within the EU for NATO’s predominant role in European security, including the diplomatic arrangements that undergird military decisions.  Without the weight of Britain, France and other countries suspicious of NATO as an American ‘Trojan Horse’ into EU diplomacy could push for a much greater security role for EU institutions, reducing NATO’s, and thus America’s, essential political military role—and with it, the political links between the U.S. and Western Europe, just when that role and those links are needed to deal with Moscow and a turbulent Middle East.”

How Brexit Challenges U.S. Security – Dov Zakheim – The National Interest – June 24, 2016

“With the reemergence of an aggressive Russia, and the renewed importance of what during the Cold War was termed the Greenland-Iceland-UK Gap, which ran through Scotland, the inability to operate from Faslane would be a major cause for concern for Washington, London and, more generally, NATO.”

Post-Brexit Defense Policy – Kori Schake – Foreign Policy – June 25, 2016

“But it may be in defense and foreign policy that Britain’s departure from the European Union has the greatest effect…Our European allies — including Britain — are about to be much less willing and much less able to help us shape and police the international order.”

Britain’s Decision to Leave the E.U. is a Warning to America – Anne Applebaum – Washington Post – June 24, 2016

“The slow agony of the divorce proceedings will take up precious political time and energy in London and other European capitals, so Europe’s leaders will not unite to cope with other crises. The U.K. will turn farther in on itself, so British energy and talent will not be dedicated to pushing back against the Islamic State, resettling migrants, resisting Russia. The situation of the U.K. will be unstable and uncertain for a long time to come, so investments will not take place.”

Brexit and the Weakness of the West – Walter Russell Mead – The American Interest – June 24, 2016

“From the 1920s to the present day, American engagement in Europe has been a necessary though not a sufficient condition for European success. And when the Americans walk away, Europe tends to fail. The Americans walked away during the Bush and Obama years, and the consequences of that withdrawal are becoming apparent. If we had engaged earlier and more effectively, Brexit might never have happened. Now that it has, a thoughtful and serious American re-engagement with our friends and allies in Europe is more important than ever.”

Britain's Exit is a Good Thing for Everyone – Nile Gardiner – USA Today – June 24, 2016

“President Putin doesn’t lose any sleep over the thought of the latest edict issued by the European Commission. But he is wary of the U.S.-UK special relationship. A post-Brexit Britain will be a resurgent and powerful force for freedom across the world, alongside the United States. And that calls for celebration.”

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The Foreign Policy Initiative seeks to promote an active U.S. foreign policy committed to robust support for democratic allies, human rights, a strong American military equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century, and strengthening America’s global economic competitiveness.
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