Reprinted from RT
Britain's stunning referendum vote to leave the European Union has thrown a cat among the pigeons, not least in Washington, where it is feared that the "Brexit" could scupper its anti-Russian policy.
That tacit policy is a foundation of the postwar international order whereby Washington -- thanks to its trusty British acolyte -- has been able to exert hegemony over Europe. Nearly seven decades of American transatlantic domination are at risk of crumbling.
The unscheduled, hasty visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry to Brussels followed by London on Monday is a sure sign that Washington is alarmed at the historic decision by the British electorate to quit the EU -- after 43-year membership of the bloc.
"Kerry urges Britain, EU to manage their divorce responsibly," was how American news outlet ABC reported the diplomat's detour. The outlet went on to say with a pretense of chivalry that Kerry's concern was "for the sake of global markets and citizens."
More to the point, Washington's perplexity is specific and self-serving. In particular, the loss of British influence inside the EU will impact on Washington's carefully constructed policy of trying to isolate Russia. American objectives to isolate Russia go much further back than the past two years over Ukraine. Indeed, one can trace the anti-Russia policy to immediately after the Second World War, a policy that was intimately shared by the British establishment, as expressed by Winston Churchill in his famous 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech, marking the onset of the Cold War against the West's erstwhile wartime Soviet ally.
Former US ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, gave full expression to these fears in an opinion piece in the Washington Post at the weekend. The headline read: "How Brexit is a win for Putin."
The tone is almost panic-stricken. McFaul alludes to Russia's growing economic and political influence with China and Eurasian integration: "Europe is now weakening as Russia, its allies and its multilateral organizations are consolidating, even adding new members. Putin, of course, did not cause the Brexit vote, but he and his foreign policy objectives stand to gain enormously from it."
The former US envoy, who also served as national security adviser to the Obama administration, laments how Britain as Washington's "closest ally" will have less leverage for American interests over the rest of Europe.
With regard to Russia, this means that the EU's economic sanctions against Moscow and the build-up of NATO military forces are put into serious doubt. Both aspects have been led by Washington, with Britain as a strident advocate of sanctions and NATO militarism. Now that London does not have a vote in Brussels, America's policy of hostility towards Russia is blunted.
Britain's exiting of the EU puts Washington's in a geopolitical dilemma. As the New York Times headlined: "With 'Brexit,' Washington's direct line to the continent suddenly frays."
The NY Times reports: "American officials struggling to re-imagine their strategy after Britain's decision to divorce the European Union say the most urgent challenge will be to find a way to replace their most reliable, sympathetic partner in the hallways of European capitals. It will not be easy."
When Britain first joined the early European Economic Community in 1973, it was following a policy directed by Washington. With its "special relationship," as coined by Churchill, Britain would ensure that Washington's geopolitical interests prevailed on the continental Europeans, in particular the Germans and French, who were always suspected of being inclined towards socialism and rapprochement with Russia.
It is arguable that the EU was a political project engineered by the American Central Intelligence Agency, for which Britain served a crucial steering role.
Britain would thus bring a strong NATO perspective to the emerging EU. The US-led military alliance's unofficial objective from its postwar inception in 1949 was, according to British Lord Ismay, the first secretary-general, to "keep the Americans in, the Germans down and the Russians out." And Britain's presence within the EU -- as the second biggest economy after Germany -- ensured that this anti-Russian ideology always remained a potent force, even 25 years after the Cold War supposedly ended.
Today, the 28-member EU bloc is barely distinguishable from the 28-member NATO military alliance in terms of adopting US-led policies, and in particular its anti-Russia policy. The renewal of European economic sanctions against Moscow has only served to inflict huge damage on EU nations. It is self-defeating and absurdly based on scant evidence of "Russian aggression." But the policy prevails in large part due to Washington's and Britain's "NATO-ization" of the EU.