Ramesh Ponnuru: America, Stay Out of Britain’s EU Debate – Bloomberg
While we have an interest in making sure Britain continues to have global influence, the British themselves obviously have a larger interest in it. There is no reason to believe we can judge how to maintain that influence better than they can. They may even resent it if we lecture them on this issue.
The second point is that we aren’t likely to sway the British by making a case based on our interests, either. The referendum involves some of the most profound interests a nation can have. Many Britons see the European Union as a threat to their economy, their sovereignty, even their way of life. We cannot convince them they are wrong about these issues, and it is not our place to try. And it is not reasonable to ask people who have these concerns that they should look past them because we find their membership in the EU useful to our own foreign policy.
Threats about trade relations are worse than pointless. Refusing to negotiate a trade deal with a post-Brexit Britain would be a punitive gesture made at our own considerable expense. For that reason, the threat is not credible: Of course we would make a deal.