France’s president warned Boris Johnson that Britain risks becoming a vassal state of Washington after Brexit. It was a low blow, and hardly news to anyone in London, the capital of the 51st state.
Of course, what Emmanuel Macron didn’t admit during his meeting with the PM in Paris is that the situation is little better for him. Neither Britain nor France really has the luxury of avoiding vassalisation of some description; all they can do is pick a master. Or meister.
He had the Gallic gall to claim that relying on a future US trade deal to soften the impact of Brexit, means Britain will merely end up being a client state of the US saying: “Can the cost for Britain of a hard Brexit – because Britain will be the main victim – be offset by the United States of America? No… Even if it were a strategic choice it would be at the cost of a historic vassalisation of Britain… I don’t think this is what Boris Johnson wants. I don’t think it is what the British people want.”
This idea of foreign domination seems to play on the mind of Macron. Just last year he was at pains to point out that France is an “ally” of the US and not a “vassal state.” Methinks Monsieur Macron doth protest too much.
Being a member of the EU is in itself an exercise in handing over sovereign power to the other members of the union – more specifically, handing it to Germany. Macron’s France is proud and delusional enough to believe it’s big enough to act as a counter-balance to the Germans, but it’s not.
It’s a harsh reality that in its decline, there really isn’t very much London can do to avoid being a client state of someone, and at least there is some pragmatism in the UK’s targeting of a trade deal with Washington.
The British get dragged along on America’s ill advised wars and questionable foreign policy adventures all the time anyway; why not see if Washington is willing to throw a free-trade bone at its favourite lap dog in return?
I could also mention NATO (the mechanism by which the entire EU outsources its defence to the US) but that’s another story.