When Barack Obama made his recent visit to the UK, he did all the usual things. There was a cute photo opportunity with the Royal Family, he played some golf in Hertfordshire, and glad-handed David Cameron for the benefit of the cameras. There was also some talk of our ‘special relationship.’ This is something that has never really been clarified, since it was first mentioned by George Bush and Tony Blair, who was then keen to support the war in Iraq.
President Obama then decided to give an ‘exclusive’ TV interview to a reporter. What followed seemed much more like a scripted conversation, allowing the US President to say what was on his mind. And what was on his mind was the forthcoming EU referendum, and the scant chance that the British people might actually vote to leave this failed experiment. He set about telling us, in a forthright manner, that a vote to leave was not acceptable to the USA. We would find ourselves excluded from trade deals, he told us, and America would continue to trade with the EU whilst making sure to leave Britain out in the cold, as punishment for doing what he didn’t agree with.
Personally, I don’t think he could care less. I doubt that anyone in the US cares whether or not we leave the EU, from a farmer in Wisconsin, to the Commander in Chief. I would hazard a guess that many Americans don’t even know what the EU is. Even in the UK, where the issue is supposedly ‘crucial’, many people cannot name more than a few other member states, and understand little of its setup and organisation. And Obama is leaving the presidency anyway, handing over to Ms Clinton, so why should he give a fig? Maybe they have offered him a lucrative job, but I very much doubt that. Perhaps he fears for the ending of the much-vaunted ‘special relationship’? I doubt that too.
He was probably just doing Cameron a favour. Maybe repaying some similar service, or an old debt from the times we have supported his country’s antics around the world. Who knows? He gave the interview, frightened the pants off of many waverers, and said pretty much what Cameron hoped he would say. The truth is, Cameron doesn’t want to be the Prime Minister at the helm if Britain leaves the EU. Just in case…Add to that the fact that he is representing the European business interests of so many pals and cronies, and it was understandable that he felt nervous enough to ask Mr President to step in on his side.
But just what was Mr Obama thinking? Is it really acceptable to tell the citizens of another country how to vote, then throw in a few veiled threats about what will happen if they don’t do as he says? I can only imagine the reaction of voters in the US, if a European leader like Cameron popped over there, had his photo taken with Michelle and the girls, played some golf at Augusta, then told them just who they should vote for in November. He might even be brave enough to throw in some vague threats about what might happen if they didn’t do as he asked, but I doubt it.
The world had high hopes for the first black president of the US, back in 2008.
I just have three words for him, in 2016. Shame on you.