Coffee House

Obama warns Britain that leaving the EU would be an isolationist step

13 May 2013

5:25 PM

13 May 2013

5:25 PM

President Obama took care this afternoon when asked about an EU referendum to give as nuanced an answer as possible. He emphasised repeatedly that this was a matter for the British people. He also affirmed Cameron’s ‘basic point that you probably want to see if you can fix what’s broken in a very important relationship’. Tory eurosceptics might be a little less impressed by this endorsement of Cameron’s strategy, but what they will be really unhappy with is the impression Obama gave that he believes an exit from Europe would be a sign that Britain is becoming more isolationist. The President said:

‘We have a special relationship with the United Kingdom and we believe that our capacity to partner with a United Kingdom that is active, robust, outward-looking and engaged with the world is hugely important to our own interests as well as the world. And I think that the UK’s participation in the EU is an expression of its influence and its role in the world.’

The argument that those in favour of leaving the EU make is that it doesn’t matter so much as it used to because other non-EU countries are becoming more important for trade. But this is weakened if one of those countries thinks membership of the EU is an important part of Britain’s ability to talk to others.

More Spectator for less. Stay informed leading up to the EU referendum and in the aftermath. Subscribe and receive 15 issues delivered for just £15, with full web and app access. Join us.




Show comments
  • evad666

    Probably correct Mr President however the EU and ist running dogs offer us no option.

  • itdoesntaddup

    Obama says “EU needs fixing”

    Asks UK to fix it for him

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Iain-Hill/100000917822376 Iain Hill

    One must always start from the assumption that a US president’s comments on Europe will reflect US interests and not Europe’s. Beware the Greeks……etc

  • James

    The EU is a corporate-serving empire that has ruined the lives of tens of millions of people and makes the Europe a worse place to live for the sake of making corporations richer. How dare Britain be bullied and accused of isolating itself because we don’t want to destroy more lives or be part of a financial scam that has ruined our country.

  • chan chan

    Who cares what the neo-Marxist thinks?

  • https://mikestallard.virtualgallery.com/ Mike Stallard

    The USA is a very important palce for us Brits to trade. So are Australia, New Zealand, Canada, India, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa……
    Mr Obama may not have noticed, but the Second World War was a very long time ago. American leadership of the world is fading as fast as the EU economy.

  • Roy

    What European leader in their right mind would possibly listen to the advice of this joker of an American who is taking the US backwards into bankruptcy and the camp of the Muslim extremists?

  • Jules

    Who cares what Obama thinks? He won’t be in office in 2016.

    A period of isolationism, ie not run by Europe and not ass-kissing the Americans is what this Country desperately needs!

  • 2trueblue

    Well as we have 76MEPs we certainly do not have much influence in the EU so Obama needs to look at the numbers, and it is the UKs decision where its future lies. The UK needs to re-evaluate what value our membership has and the electorate must have their say.

  • global city

    This claim of ‘isolation’ has to be knocked in the head. Reaching out to the rest of the world instead of remaining a part of an inward looking political project is exapansive… the absolute opposite of ‘isolationist’

  • jazz606

    Debating with telemachus is like teaching a pig to sing ( or dance ?) …..etc.

  • Terry Field

    Obama is a big problem for Britain.
    His clear dislike of Britain is a reflection of his ‘background’, but Obama will, mercifully, pass.
    Possibly the Americans will elect a more balance and less prejudiced ‘top chappie’ next time.
    Let’s hope so.

  • Alan Eastwood

    As I posted earlier “Let us remember how Obama thinks on the ‘special relationship’
    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/n…!

  • franknowzad

    Barry the Usurper has been wrong about everything else, why change?
    Why Cameron wants to identify with the loser is another question…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dominic-Adler/100002463560297 Dominic Adler

    With the greatest respect to our American friends, this really isn’t any of their business.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Well lets see how yanks like it if they had their sovereignty stolen from them and given to a pan American organisation based out of Guatemala or somesuch.

    Even Obama should realise that when something is so badly broken as the EU or Cameron’s relationship with his party that there is only one option remaining.

    All this proves is Obama is colluding with the thieves of Brussels proving he is just as corrupt as they are. I suggest Obama can shove his ‘expressions of its influence’ up whichever of his soci@list orifices he feels most appropriate!

    If we do leave the EU the Yanks will just have to deal with it and so will we.

  • JL

    Who cares? This is a man who’s happy to use the tax authorities as a political weapon (allegedly). Why should we be bothered about his opinion?

  • emiller7

    Mind your own business Mr. Obama!
    Oh, you are doing!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    The United Kingdom is a US plaything and has been so progressively throughout the 20th century. Rarely has an empire collapsed so readily into the arms of its main rival, or so completely as to become a mere appendage

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Well I guess if the foreign policy genius is warning us we’d better listen. The man who has been so influential in Egypt and so effective in Benghazi. When the man who lowers oceans speaks surely the loonies, fruitcakes, and racists tremble.

    Or is it, as Hilary might say ‘what difference does it make?’

  • Guest

    If it’s such a fantastic thing he’s welcome to sign his country up to it. Meanwhile, it should be up to the citizens of this country to decide whether we benefit from EU membership in a referendum.

    He, and Cameron, can both sod off lecturing us on the supposed benefits of the EU.

    • Fergus Pickering

      They are welcome to give their opinions and we are free to ignore it.

  • thanksdellingpole

    This is the joker who wants to limit the Second Amendment of his country’s (and I use that term loosely) own Constitution!

  • FrankS

    Surely the USA would find it easier to deal direct with Britain – no complicated multi-state negotiations, no need for a Babel’s Tower of translators, no sclerotic EU bureaucracy… a pleasure to do business!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      The US can do as it wishes but it might like to retain Fylingdales, Menwith Hill, and USAF bases – it would find it hard to replace them. They gave up Holy Loch

  • Austin Barry

    “And I think that the UK’s participation in the EU is an expression of its influence and its role in the world.”

    Yep, both declining.

    Obama may be the master of insulting ambiguity where the UK is concerned.

  • http://twitter.com/ianwalkeruk Ian Walker

    Obama’s like most lefties. If they don’t like your plan it’s a sure bet you’re doing something right.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    So Obama says Dave should “fix what’s broken” re the EU?

    Maybe it’s about time Dave let everybody in on “what’s broken”, or is that information only to be shared with the likes of Obama?

    • Russell

      Cameron had the cheek to say the British people do not want a ‘false choice’ in a referendum!!!!!
      His idea is that under the current terms of membership British people should not have a choice of if they want to remain in or if they want out and this is somehow false!.

      Cameron thinks his plan of re-negotiating our terms of membership and improving things for the UK whilst not telling the British what things and what would be better and waiting till 2017 before getting any choice is fair!

      You could not make it up. Wait till Farage is asked to reply to this nonsense and watch UKIP membership rocket upwards..

  • Curnonsky

    As a committed anti-Western, anti-colonial and anti-British leftist it is only natural that Obama would want to see the UK subordinated to the EU. The question is – why is Cameron so desperate to associate himself with a character like this?

    • telemachus

      It is the State Department view shared by successive Presidents
      None want an inconsequential offshore island as the major partner on this side of the Atlantic
      Look at it from the US perspective
      They want an influential voice in the second biggest world economic power the EU
      We provide that
      We are no use to them outside

      • Ron Todd

        If we do provide an influential voice it should be in our own interests, not as a ventriloquist dummy for the Americans.

        • telemachus

          It is a question of who will listen
          At present we have a worldwide audience in our unique role as the bridge between Europe and the US
          Ask yourself if say China or Russia would listen if we were outside Europe and had been cast aside by the US

          • Austin Barry

            China and Russia are currently listening to us?

            Sure they do.

            Time for Tele’s tablet, nurse.

            • telemachus

              I think Cameron got further with them on Syria than Kerry

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

                Do you really ? I very much doubt either Russia or China take him seriously, I doubt Lavrov even considers him worth the time

                • telemachus

                  Putin rates and fears the UK
                  Maybe because of history
                  Maybe because of our hosting of the oligarchs
                  But we do have a voice

                • dalai guevara

                  I see
                  In the sense that Russian oligarchs now dictate the speed with which we progress fracking and thus the drying up of one of their largest markets?
                  We have a voice?
                  I see

          • Andy

            You do talk some balls.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Tripe.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            Britain is not a bridge. You are pompous. Germany is they key to Europe, Britain is basically an aircraft carrier and the host for the largest CIA station in Europe and its main listening stations plus it has a supply of cutouts the US can use for operations it does not want to carry out itself

            • telemachus

              Even so
              Whatever the reason we have clout disproportionate to our population and economy because of both shared history and new history within the European fold

            • ButcombeMan

              And those relationships preceded the Uk entering the EU and would carry on if we left.

              Telemachus is a fool, out of his depth on this subject as on many others.

            • ArchiePonsonby

              Exactly! A bridge is something that anyone can walk over!

          • Terry Field

            I don’t care if nobody listens on an official basis, since nobody listens unofficially now!

      • Radford_NG

        This just shows how stupid the State Dept is.Mrs T.stood for Anglo-American values in the EU and the mantra always was:Mrs Thatcher is isolated;Britain is marginalized.

        • telemachus

          She did a splendid job fighting our corner from within
          This is what Cameron should be doing
          More integration is more influence however

          • Wessex Man

            wii someone shoot him?

      • Archimedes

        What a load of nonsense. I’m afraid it is not the job of Britain to look after the concerns of the United States in Europe. We give US operations moral legitimacy by taking part in those operations. There is no other country in the world that is as prepared as the UK to do that and so, as long as that is the case, we will continue to have a “special relationship” with the US, regardless of whatever little club takes our fancy or, indeed, does not.

        • telemachus

          I guess you miss the point
          We benefit greatly from being conduit honest broker land friend to each
          If outside we will get no benefit from and have no leverage with either

          I do not relish a role as Moldova

          • Colonel Mustard

            You are a paid propagandist for the Labour party and Unite.

            • telemachus

              I would gladly pay to achieve equality in our time

              • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

                Equality is impossible without killing everyone and starting almost from scratch…mind you most pseudo socialist and communist tyrannies have had a good go at killing everyone.

            • telemachus

              If you think McCluskey or Miliband would have any truck with an Ed Balls mole who trumpets the virtues of Stalin and hates the sight of the rising sun you are every bit what I thought you to be

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            Japan is not Moldova. Germany is not Moldova. France is not Moldova.

            • telemachus

              Germany and France are working towards a European Superstate and Japan is a very much bigger enterprise than tiny Britain

              • DWWolds

                If Germany and France are working towards a European Superstate they are having a good spat over the way to achieve it. Apparently, a private dinner held a few months ago was attended by the EU advisers to the German and French governments and the Polish EU Minister. Afterwards the Polish Minister remarked that he had learned the other two guests were agreed on just one thing: neither country was prepared to hand over control of banking and fiscal policy to Brussels.

                • telemachus

                  If we get in there and interact with the City expertise we will show the way

              • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

                Be kind of hard with Pew Research showing more support for the EU in Britain than in France

          • Ron Todd

            If Obama uses us as a conduit it is because America benefits not because we will benefit, If the Europeans want to use us as a conduit to America it is because they will benefit not because we will benefit.

            • telemachus

              But we also gain double benefit in these transactions
              History teaches us the economic benefit of being the middle man

              • Ron Todd

                How exactly do we gain?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

          Yes it is prostitution

        • Terry Field

          American ‘culture and values’ thoroughly raped Britain in the decades after the Second World War.
          It’s a bit late to recover ourselves; I wonder if there is anything left of a once great independent and confident country full of genius.
          The only satisfaction is to see the severe decline the USA is also experiencing.
          Part of that decline is the President who now sits in the White House.

          • Fergus Pickering

            You mean because he is black or for some other reason?

            • Terry Field

              I have absolutely no interest in, or concern over his skin tone.
              You are the one who has drawn attention to it.

              It plainly matters to you.
              It is his politics, and his attitiude-set that is of concern.

              One either likes it, or one does not.

              I do not. Many – and a growing number – agree with me.
              He had ‘charisma’ when compared to the alternatives. So did Blair.
              I suspect people will learn from that, and avoid the charismatic for quite some time to come.

              • Fergus Pickering

                I wouldn’t vote for a black Prime Minister. He’d be too busy being black for my liking.

                • Terry Field

                  Ah a dweller of the Emerald Isle!
                  Welcome!
                  I seem to recall that geneticists have identified a significant African heritage in the genetic makeup of the true ‘Irish’.
                  I thought we all began in the Quatara Depression?
                  Maybe your ancestors sprang fully formed from the peat-bog!

      • Colonel Mustard

        What is this “inconsequential offshore island” you refer to? The one that managed not just to survive perfectly well on its own for the thousand years before the EU existed but forged a maritime Empire the like of which no other nation has ever come close to achieving?

        It is only the poisonous words of treacherous little self-hating weasels like you which has robbed this country of its confidence, identity and potential. In every institution and field into which you and your fellow travellers have slithered comes corruption, despair, division and decay.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Encore!

          • telemachus

            Span Owls was rightly castigated for blindly following the master yesterday
            Peter long ago and Hess more recently had the grace to deny

            • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

              Truth hurts Tele, Colonel is spot on. I agree with many others too. Funny how you feel we need to follow each other yet disagreeing with you is so easy and so right.

              • telemachus

                As I said yesterday
                Your kowtowing to Nico has abrogated your right to be heard

        • telemachus

          I too was proud to read that Britain stood alone in 1940
          But it took Joe Stalin to finally see off Germany
          And Uncle Sam to see off Hirohito
          Of course in times gone by we used our integrated intelligence from waves of immigration to build an empire over a quarter of the globe
          But much of the power was a confidence trick as was shown in the late 1940’s and 1950’s
          Times move on as recognised by Heath, Wilson, Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown and now Cameron
          We cannot go backwards
          Look forward
          Please

          • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

            We don’t need to go backwards. All empires come to an end, what we do not need to do is cow down kowtow and apologise for helping more than hindering the whole world. Look at the Anglosphere, we should be rightly proud.

            • telemachus

              We are proud
              The Empire is ended but our gutter cunning will be of use in creating and driving the European Superstate

              • Colonel Mustard

                Get lost.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            Britain did not stand alone in 1940. Stop being idiotic. It had India, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, and raised a huge Army. It provided more manpower than the US belatedly provided. The chief strategist of the Battle of Britain was a New Zealander, the mainstay of the experienced pilots were Poles……at that time Stalin was supplying grain and oil to Hitler, shipping supplies from Black Sea ports to Germany and oiling the wheels of the German war machine

            • telemachus

              OK we had support by dint of history
              But that history and that support has gone
              We need truly to move on and rebuild our future in a dynamic Europe

              • Wessex Man

                Will someone please give him his medication, I’v got a really bad headache now!

            • ArchiePonsonby

              Brilliantly put, Tom, but you forgot South Africa.

          • Colonel Mustard

            I’ll look forward alright. But not to the replica of East Germany you and the other commies are creating here by stealth. You people have to trash our past in order to peddle your limited vision of our future which sells envy as equality, angst as harmony and the ZiL lane as egalitarianism.

            • telemachus

              Not East Germany
              A dynamic thriving Britain in the exciting egalitarian superstate
              All will be catered for
              None will go wanting

              • Colonel Mustard

                Puerile tripe.

            • Fergus Pickering

              You’re on a roll, Colonel.

        • ArchiePonsonby

          Bravo, Colonel!

          • telemachus

            You have earned your reward

            • ArchiePonsonby

              I’ll just take a UKIP government instead of the cash, thank you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        No. They want a Trojan Horse inside the continental bloc so they can keep Western Europe under control without which the USA has no countervailing power to Russia and no bases in Europe

        • telemachus

          Maybe part of it
          But they would soon take on Germany as primary partner

          • Terry Field

            They did a long long time ago.
            In 1940.
            Remember Jo Kennedy?
            Yanks – our dependable non-allies.

      • ButcombeMan

        “No use” is putting it far too strong, given the historic bonds of language and culture, of course the US would prefer the UK to have at least one foot in Europe, you should not confuse that legitimate position with them thinking the UK would be of “no use” outside.

        The US will need support and mostly will get support from the UK on most issues, with us in, or out. No other country in Europe can give that guarantee.

        Fact is, that outside the Euro zone, we are already semi-detached

        • telemachus

          Yes but we are at the councils and have dialogue with Merkel and Hollande at will
          Outside Merkel will have no incentive to talk

          • ButcombeMan

            Talk is cheap. It is deeds that matter
            Why would we have much reason to want to talk?

            It is NATO that provides for our security, not the EU. The very idea of the EU having a coherent and influential foreigh policy is a joke. That is why Labour could afford to put Ashton there.

            The EU is only useful in some parts of the world for the money it throws away on largely incompetent foreign aid.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Fine so that will be another puppetmaster dealt with then won’t it.

      • ArchiePonsonby

        In other words it’s only a special relationship when the Yanks want it to be. Why on earth are we listening to that Obama creep anyway, he doesn’t even like us? If Obama thinks that the EU is such a good idea let him put his money where his mouth is and sign the US up to it. I wonder how US voters would like having their laws made in Brussels?

        • telemachus

          Like Obama or not we are dealing with State Department power politics and we are not in that league

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            The State Department serves Israel’s interests largely and is not favourable to Britain. It has a completely different policy on the Falklands

      • Terry Field

        The world is big, and the UK will develop trade opportunities in many new areas.
        I’d rather be poorer than be ‘of use’ to the Americans.
        Their Empire declines relative to the rest of the world daily.

        • telemachus

          We with Europe are the Christian West
          We share common interests and must look out for each other

          • Terry Field

            Like the French look out for us!

        • Fergus Pickering

          I’d rather be ricer. I quite like Americans. More than frogs and krauts anyway. And much more than Russians. Americans aren’t quite as foreign, don’t you know.

    • Augustus

      Good point. Leftists are untrustworthy traitors.

  • Wilhelm

    Obama was a ”community leader”, he’s never had a proper job.

    • telemachus

      You forgot to remind us that Obama is black

      • Andy

        Really ?? How interesting.

      • FrankS

        You’re not saying that’s an excuse, I hope!

        • Hookeslaw

          He is talking to Wilhelm – dope!

          • FrankS

            You calling Wilhelm a dope? Bit rude!

      • Radford_NG

        Obama is half Kenyan and half white English hippy-dibby mother.Still I respect him for his decision not to go down the drug-pimp road.If he has doubtful political credentials they are not as bad as Old Joe,Jack and Teddy Kennedy’s.

        • telemachus

          How very true
          If only the Senate would recognise this

      • http://owsblog.blogspot.com Span Ows

        Odd thing to say, sounds racist to me

        • telemachus

          Comment on Wilhelm

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        No he is not. He is mulatto

      • chan chan

        He’s not black, he’s half white/half black.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      He was a bag man for the Pritzker family getting blacks to move out of areas they wanted zoned commercial

      • chan chan

        That’s a sweet gig for a half-caste.

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.hallam.50 Nicholas Hallam

    If it were possible to “fix” the relationship with the EU in such a way that our trade with the rest of the world were not disadvantaged, this would be an attractive option. This is what the debate should be about.

  • an ex-tory voter

    Regardless of what Obama said there is little he is ever going to say that would be of use, or interest to any conservative. The man is a danger to his nation and the free world.

    • telemachus

      Cept those were also the Bush views

  • Russell

    A Britain free of the EU would have had a trade agreement years ago, as it is, getting an agreement between the EU and the USA just drags on and on.
    Same with any other trade agreements we could make with China, Brasil, India, Russia etc.

    • Hookeslaw

      And if and when we leave the EU we will have to have a trade agreement with the EU and it will likely be on the terms of the one Norway has.
      As for America – we would get a trade agreement with them on the same terms that the EU eventually gets one. Talks started in 2011 so they have not been dragging on. maybe you are getting confused with Doha.
      Your notion is to surrender to America on every issue – as of we could throw our weight around.

      Why are you so sure it will a be different and be be better. The possibility if we were totally out is we would be frozen out of a massive free trade area.

      If you knew what you were talking about you might be dangerous. Just how do you tough it out with America over food and crops for instance?
      http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8d9d0c72-a6c1-11e2-885b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2TC7kPdlE
      i guess you would tough it out by accepting US standards instead of EU ones and dancing to their tune and not the EUs. This might be a good idea – but why not admit it?

      It is clear I would have thought that if we are not in the EU then for better or for worse it would be an isolationist step, only mitigated if we stay in the single market and its rules (ie the rules of a ‘trade agreement’) which discounts the main alleged point of leaving.

      Not that totally out of the EU and EEA we would have much to negotiate about since our car industry and airbus industry would be hived off elsewhere. (How can you prove otherwise)

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        I like Norway’s trade agreement. It has a persistent Trade SURPLUS with the EU

      • chan chan

        Do you still live at home, by any chance?

  • cc_star

    Headline doesn’t match what Obama said at all, either his actual specific words or his general tone.

    He basically gave the stock US answer that an outward looking UK is a key partner of the US.

    Then he somewhat surprisingly came firmly down on Cameron’s side on ‘fixing’ the EU relationship before giving British people a referendum. Quite striking really as he added it as a personal byline over & above the normal stock US answer to such questions.

    • Hookeslaw

      And the cabinet ministers and Boris who the BBC are trying to draw attention to have also explicitly agreed with the govt policy. And why not – they are in the govt.
      Good to see the lefty BBC and the resident nutjobs in agreement.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here