National Security & Defense

As Prime Minister, Jeremy Corbyn Would Destroy the U.S.–U.K. Special Relationship

(Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty)

Here’s an interesting fact. Jeremy Corbyn, new leader of Britain’s Labour party — the formal opposition party in Parliament — is an Iranian propaganda agent.

After all, like far-left British parliamentarian George Galloway, Corbyn has fed at Ayatollah Khamenei’s trough by hosting a show on Khamenei’s propaganda channel, Press TV. Corbyn is also a proud and open friend of Hamas and the Lebanese Hezbollah, and he hates the Middle East’s Sunni-Arab monarchies. Further, he supports Russia by encouraging Britain to abandon NATO and surrender its nuclear weapons. Of course, some say these concerns are irrelevant. They argue Corbyn’s current politics make him unelectable, so his views will have to evolve over time. For the special relationship between America and Britain, that’s a dangerous gamble. Corbyn is a skilled populist, appealing to anger and rejectionism. Were another major recession to hit before 2020, a Corbyn victory wouldn’t be so inconceivable.

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Consider what a Corbyn government would mean for the “special relationship.”

First off, Corbyn would play straight into Russia’s hands by opposing the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the greater free trade with the United States that it promises. As with its Trans-Pacific Partnership counterpart, TTIP would provide major economic benefits to both Americans and Britons. With markets opened to new competition, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic would benefit from better goods and services at lower prices. In turn, manufacturers and suppliers would benefit from new demand.

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In addition, stronger economic links between the EU and American democracies would probably motivate stronger international cooperation. In light of the authoritarian alliance between China and Russia, we have a growing need for a powerful bloc of democracies. Unfortunately, as a long-time supporter of the Chavezville asylum (the ludicrous government of Venezuela), Corbyn prefers kleptocracy and patronage to free-market opportunity. Consider that Corbyn also opposes increased trade with the pro-American, pro-free-market Latin American governments such as that of Colombia. Ideologically opposed to capitalism — though it has brought investment, economic growth, and better governance to the Colombian people — Corbyn wants investment to flow into the hands of the Castros and President Maduro.

#share#For the special relationship, a Corbyn government would do the most damage in the arena of national security. Consider the possibility that Corbyn could win a national election in 2019. In such a situation, the U.S. government would probably scale back its national-security cooperation with Britain in a wide range of areas. From the NSA’s vast signal-intercept cooperation with its British equivalent (Government Communication Headquarters), to the CIA and FBI sharing of reports by agent (covert sources inside terror groups and hostile governments) with MI6 and MI5, the special relationship would take a big hit. Foreign intelligence partnerships require trust. But a Corbyn government would fundamentally undermine trust: Because of Corbyn’s evident sympathy for Iranian and Russian foreign policy, the U.S, could not trust him with U.S. intelligence sources that he then might leak to Putin. And if it lacked access to U.S. intelligence, Britain would be less able to defend itself against enemies at home and abroad. Even limited restrictions on U.S. counterterrorism intelligence-sharing would pose a serious challenge in Britain’s current threat environment.

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But it’s not only in the matter of intelligence that a Corbyn government would wreak havoc for the special relationship. Traditionally, Britain has been America’s geo-strategic partner. This partnership affords both nations great influence in the EU. Knowing that the American president has the ear of the British prime minister — and vice versa — German and French leaders understand they must often placate the British government and listen to British representations of American concerns. But think for a short second: Would any American president ever trust Jeremy Corbyn?

This issue of trust is key. Since its inception following World War II, the special relationship has anchored global democracy and the rule of law. But it requires leaders who are willing to work together in shared interests and common trust. If ever empowered, Jeremy Corbyn, with his distaste for America and American values, would bury the special relationship.

— Tom Rogan is a writer, a panelist on The McLaughlin Group, and a fellow at the Steamboat Institute. He tweets at https://twitter.com/TomRtweets. His homepage is http://www.tomroganthinks.com.

Tom Rogan is a columnist for National Review Online, a contributor to the Washington Examiner, and a former panelist on The McLaughlin Group. Email him at TRogan@McLaughlin.com

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