Back in April, President Obama demanded that Britain reject the referendum on leaving the European Union, threatening to punish Britain on trade if the plan went through. Analysts widely considered this a come-on, the result of Cameron asking Obama to ‘bully’ voters to sway the outcome.
With the referendum having gone through yesterday and Britain deciding to leave, President Obama is quickly walking back those threats, insisting US-UK relations are too important for something like the Brexit to sidetrack, and that the “special relationship” must endure.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton echoed similar sentiments, and while Republican front-runner Donald Trump didn’t directly address the matter, he was in favor of the Brexit in the first place, so doubtless didn’t intend to “punish” Britain over it.
At the same time, US officials see the withdrawal of Britain from the EU as dramatically reducing that nation’s value as a US partner, since they will no longer be a tool for pushing US-backed measures on the union at large.
While it makes no real sense to “punish” Britain over the matter, the US interest in having sway over EU policy does suggest another EU member nation might quickly develop a new “special relationship” with America.