, Volume 92, Number 3

Tim Oliver and Michael John Williams

A British exit from the EU would add to growing strains on the United States’relations with Britain and the rest of Europe, but by itself would not lead to a breakdown in transatlantic relations. It would, however, add to pressures on the US that could change the direction of the transatlantic relationship. From the perspective of Washington, Britain risks becoming an awkward inbetweener.

A British exit from the EU would add to growing strains on the United States’ relations with Britain and the rest of Europe, but by itself would not lead to a breakdown in transatlantic relations due to the scale of shared ideas and interests, institutional links, international pressures and commitments by individual leaders. It would, however, add to pressures on the US that could change the direction of the transatlantic relationship. From the perspective of Washington, Britain risks becoming an awkward inbetweener, beholden more than ever before to a wider transatlantic relationship where the US and EU are navigating the challenges of an emerging multipolar world. The article outlines developments in the UK, EU, Europe and the US in order to explain what Brexit could mean for the United States’ approaches to transatlantic relations. By doing so the article moves beyond a narrow view of Brexit and transatlantic relations that focuses on the future of UK–US relations. In the conclusion we map out several ways in which US views of the transatlantic relationship could be changed.

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