Obama interferes in UK

In a visit to Britain US president Barack Obama has urged a country he is not the leader of to remain a member of the European Union.

This choice is actually up to the people of the United Kingdom in a referendum. Democratic choice sort of thing,.

This looks like – and is – remarkable interference in the affairs of another country.

The Guardian: Barack Obama: Brexit would put UK ‘back of the queue’ for trade talks

US president, visiting London, says ‘part of being friends is being honest’ as he lays out perils of leave vote in EU referendum.

Barack Obama has warned that the UK would be at the “back of the queue” in any trade deal with the US if the country chose to leave the EU, as he made an emotional plea to Britons to vote for staying in.

The US president used a keenly awaited press conference with David Cameron, held at the Foreign Office, to explain why he had the “temerity to weigh in” over the high-stakes British question in an intervention that delighted remain campaigners.

Obama argued that he had a right to respond to the claims of Brexit campaigners that Britain would easily be able to negotiate a fresh trade deal with the US. “They are voicing an opinion about what the United States is going to do, I figured you might want to hear from the president of the United States what I think the United States is going to do.

“And on that matter, for example, I think it’s fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it’s not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, theEuropean Union, to get a trade agreement done”.

He added: “The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.”

That sounds like a blatant threat.

Standing alongside his visitor, Cameron said the referendum was the “sovereign choice of the British people” but it was important for voters to listen to the opinions of allies such as the president. “On this vital issue of trade, where Barack has made such a clear statement, we should remember why we are currently negotiating this biggest trade deal in the whole world, and in the whole world’s history, between the European Union and the United States.”

So Obama is trying to help Cameron influence the referendum. And Cameron is openly using Obama.

This is probably as likely to cause a backlash against Cameron as help his cause.

Quite a few people will be understandably very annoyed with this political interference in another country’s democracy by the US president.

According to this the probability of leaving is low:

Probability of Brexit Drops to 20% as Polls Move Against `Leave’

The probability of Britain voting to leave the European Union dropped to 20 percent on Thursday after the Treasury warned such a move might lead to decades of economic damage, according to the Number Cruncher Politics Referendum Forecast.

The forecast, generated by political blogger Matt Singh, is based on current polling and an analysis of how voters have shifted in previous referendums. The decrease this week reflects the way polls have moved toward “Remain” in the last few days. The index was at 24 percent when it was launched on April 13.

Will Obama’s interference swing the vote against European Union with Britain?

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32 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd April 2016

    I liked this Matt cartoon:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/04/matt-cartoons-april-2016/matt-cartoon-april-22/

    Boris Johnson has ridiculed Obama for advising the UK to accept EU restraints and controls that the US would never accept.

    Reply
    • Thanks, a great dig back at Obama, I’ve added the cartoon to the post.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  23rd April 2016

        I didn’t see the queue remark as a threat, just as a busybody remark that he has no business to make. Tell him to bugger off back to his own country and sort out their problems. Nosey parker.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  23rd April 2016

          I think if you read the context above the queue sentence it is clearly a threat and a statement that he prioritises an EU trade agreement far ahead of one with an independent UK. That is how both the Brits and Yanks are taking it and neither are impressed.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  23rd April 2016

            Either way, it’s a bloody cheek and totally unwarranted. He must be on something.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  24th April 2016

              Hillary Clinton is giving her opinion now, but she does have the justification of having been the Secretary of State-and hers is more reasoned.

  2. genuinely don’t see why this is a big issue. If he was advocating people vote Conservative then I would be more concerned, but this is a vote on international relationships ( despite most people focussing on the NHS and Winston Churchill )

    Reply
    • It’s political interference of the hugest kind. Great Britian was great long before it ceded over 60% of its laws to the EU. It’s preposterous dor Obama to scare, bully and threaten as he did when he said “Britain will go to the back of the queue”. I think Britain will do very well away from Brussels and Queen Angela.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  23rd April 2016

        Yes, that threat is disgusting and demeaning for the US. Obama is going from bad to worse.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  23rd April 2016

          I read a realclearpolitics story on this and the comments from Americans on this from Obama were unanimously scathing. He has done himself no favour at home whatever the Brits think.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  23rd April 2016

            How shaming-far worse than if John Key did it, we do at least have some links with the UK. What on earth can he have been thinking ? It’s the UK’s decision, thank you, Mr Obama. Go to the back of the queue of advisors.

            Reply
      • Missy

         /  24th April 2016

        I agree traveller, I think Britain will do well away from the EU – they will save a fortune in EU fees to begin with, and once they can stop paying automatic pensions to the Eastern Europeans that turn up for the higher UK pension, and stop paying for the healthcare of them in their own countries, they will save even more.

        There is of course a risk around trade, but some of the figures I have seen indicate that the EU countries import much more from the UK than they export to the UK, so it could be that the EU needs the UK more than the UK needs the EU, also the UK is the second, or third, largest economy in the EU, and the second largest contributor behind Germany. So financially it will be the EU that suffers more in the long run I think.

        Reply
    • Missy

       /  23rd April 2016

      It is a huge deal. This referendum is the biggest vote that the British will have in this generation – if not for several generations – and here you have the US president (who is on his way out anyway) threatening them to remain in a union that many in the UK do not see as being good for the country.

      It is not a vote on international relationships, that is so simplistic, for many in the UK it is a vote on how they want their country run, and who they want to make their laws, and it is a referendum on the EU’s migration policy – and yes that is simplifying to a degree many of the issues with this vote. It is a complicated issue, and there is a lot involved, and for many it is about their sovereignty.

      Would you be happy to have the US President tell NZers they should vote to cede much of their lawmaking to Canberra, or Ottawa? Would you be happy to have David Cameron tell NZers to vote to cede much of their lawmaking to Washington? And I am not talking the mythical ceding of sovereignty under the TPPA – I am talking everything from what rate GST can be, to what goods and services would be covered by it, to what our deportation and extraditions laws would be, to who we can and can’t let into the country, to how powerful our electrical goods can be, to what system of measurement we use, to workplace health and safety laws, to the size of drinks…. and the list goes on (it is early they are the only one’s I can think of off the top of my head).

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  23rd April 2016

        I really didn’t see the queue thing as a threat, but what business is it of his ? I imagine that he and his fellow Americans would rightly take exception to the UK PM going there and telling them what to do in such matters. Silly ass. I’d be really, seriously angered by this-even though I don’t live there, I find it annoying and interfering. Tell him to mind his own damned business. It’s appalling cheek. If he’d been asked to advise, that would be all right, but I bet that he wasn’t. I hope people tell him to bugger off back to the US.

        Reply
      • So you believe that his saying something will have an impact on the referendum ? If yes then the people are willing to take a short remark from Obama over the whole campaign from British politicians, if No then as I say its not a big deal ….this isn’t about whether you agree with the EU or supranational issues or trade deals , but I don’t actually care if Politicians from one country express views on things in other countries. Would I be happy for the US president to advise NZ cede votes to canberra – yes it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest. I wouldn’t take the blindest bit of notice of him though ….

        Reply
        • patupaiarehe

           /  23rd April 2016

          It’s not about what he said, the real question is why did he say anything about it at all? The tabloids will be all over it tomorrow. The real question, for an astute observer, is what else happened in the world today that would have been on the front page otherwise???

          Reply
          • so it was ploy to stop another story ?

            Reply
          • Missy

             /  24th April 2016

            He was invited by Cameron, it is believed by some that Cameron thought endorsement for the stay in campaign from the US president would help it.

            Reply
          • Missy

             /  24th April 2016

            Not just the tabloids – all the media are reporting on it, of course each outlet is reporting according to their (unstated) stand on the referendum.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  23rd April 2016

          It’s regarded as pretty rude and most politicians won’t do it since it is likely to harm relationships between countries. Obama seems to think it won’t matter to him because he hasn’t long to go in office. Time will tell.

          Reply
        • Missy

           /  24th April 2016

          It isn’t about whether it has an impact on the referendum or not, the point is that there are many in Britain that feel they have lost sovereignty to Brussels, and they feel they are fighting for the right for the UK to run the UK, and they see Obama’s interference in what is UK internal politics as being another bullying Government telling them what they should and shouldn’t do, a Government that would never cede any form of sovereignty to foreigh officials.

          Though on the impact question, time will tell, but there have been a number of comments on social media – and on the street with people I have talked to – where some who hadn’t made a decision will now vote for the Brexit, if that is the case his comments could very well have an impact, but not the one that Cameron wanted.

          Well you are a rare individual if you don’t care about foreign politicians and political leaders interfering in your country’s domestic politics, because there are not many people I know that appreciate politicians from larger countries telling them how they should vote – and believe me many in Britain have taken Obama’s comments as just that.

          Also, some have noted that the USA signed the Helsinki Agreement which explicitly states: The participating States will refrain from any intervention, direct or indirect, individual or collective, in the internal or external affairs falling within the domestic jurisdiction of another participating State, regardless of their mutual relations.

          It is rude, and not good politics to interfere in the political process of another country.

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  24th April 2016

            It’s like a much larger scale version of going into someone’s house and saying how you think they should run their lives and marriage.’Three children ? You shouldn’t have any more ! ‘

            Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd April 2016

      Yes, but Sean, it’s not HIS relationship and not his decision to make-or dictate.

      Reply
        • Kitty Catkin

           /  24th April 2016

          …and he should mind his own business. He doesn’t have a vote in the UK, so won’t be affected either way.

          Reply
          • Missy

             /  25th April 2016

            He personally won’t be no, the US may be if the UK vote out as they lose any perceived influence – the ironic thing is that the UK have little to no influence these days, and the more countries that enter the EU the less influence the UK actually has – nicely demonstrated earlier this year with Cameron’s ineffectual ‘negotiations’ for a better deal for the UK in Europe.

            Reply
  3. Missy

     /  24th April 2016

    I saw an article today about this that brought up an interesting point. The reason the US won’t want Britain to leave the EU is because apparently the rest of Europe are anti-american, and the UK gives a pro american voice in the EU, if the UK leave, then the US could lose any potential influence they may have had in the EU.

    Reply
    • Kitty Catkin

       /  24th April 2016

      As the sergeant in ‘It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum.’ used to say, Oh dear, how sad, never mind.’

      Tuff titty, suckers; you’ve been ths school bullies so long that you can’t stand the thought that the other children are joining forces against you.

      Reply
  4. Posted this in Open Forum in error.

    Pete Hitchen in America and Europe. Mail on Sunday.

    “America isn’t our special friend. It ruined our Navy, Empire and future.

    Now will we grasp that the United States is not our friend, but a foreign country whose interests are often different from ours?

    President Obama’s blatant intervention in our internal affairs is not a sudden breach of a soppy ‘special relationship’. The USA’s only real special relationship is with Saudi Arabia, a 70-year-old hard pact of oil, money and power, welded together with such cynicism it ought to make us gasp……

    ( a few paragraphs in the middle link below)

    During the Hitler war, the USA gave us enough aid to stay in the fight, but not enough to recover our former economic strength. The eventual peace was made on American terms, and Soviet terms, with us as onlookers. And after the war, Marshall Aid came with strings – open up the British Empire to outside trade, and then begin to dismantle it.

    Not wanting to get embroiled in any more European wars, the USA also put a lot of effort into creating a permanently united Europe. Documents came to light in the 1990s, probably by accident, showing detailed CIA involvement in the European Movement.

    I regard America’s behaviour as perfectly reasonable. It’s the sort of thing we used to do when we were top nation, and had more sense than to squander our wealth on idealistic foreign wars.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3555820/PETER-HITCHENS-America-isn-t-special-friend-ruined-Navy-Empire-future.html

    Reply

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