The Corner

National Security & Defense

U.S. Treasury Secretaries’ Hypocritical Open Letter Urging Britain to Remain in the EU

The Times of London carries a letter signed by no less than eight U.S. Treasury Secretaries from George Shultz to Timothy Geithner, advising the British to vote in their referendum on June 23 to remain in the European Union. Of course collective letters of this kind are a put-up job. Without any explanation of his previous reservations about the EU, Prime Minister Cameron has become a passionate advocate for staying in. Some PR man in his team no doubt had a brainwave that these eight Americans would form a useful pressure group, and so he set to working the telephones. The result is sad stuff out of contact with reality and pretty close to drivel. Not one of them would ever consider taking their own advice and handing America’s national sovereignty and independence to a transnational body over their heads like the EU.

The letter opens with the usual warmth about the special relationship the U.S is supposed to have with Britain. Their wish for a “a strong Britain within Europe,” is a figment of their imagination; the historic purpose of the EU is precisely to re-arrange the balance of power on the continent in favor of Germany and France at the expense of a weakened Britain. A British vote to remain in the EU would signify that the special relationship was over, and that Britain had sided with a body already giving vent to resentment and envy of the United States whenever possible.

In the say-so of the eight, a vote to leave the EU is “a risky bet” on the British economy and the global economy, too. They do not substantiate it. As imagination runs away with them, they cry wolf about “a paucity of global demand, financial crises when they occur, nuclear proliferation, pandemics, climate change and other environmental issues.”  To leave, they conclude, is to open this Pandora’s box that could even be “a major setback to the European project.”

In the past Europe has often taken wrong turnings, and someone is going to have to save it from this latest. If Britain takes on the task by voting for out, Cameron himself warns us severely, the price of socks will rise. So be it. Perhaps former U.S. Treasury Secretaries will then be kind enough to send over any spare pairs they may have.

David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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