I had a secret fear that a Brexit vote might lead to the UK becoming ever more closely tied to the USA – commercially, culturally, diplomatically, militarily, and by an ever-increasing level of electronic communication.
Some of us recall the more dubious side of US assistance during the Second World ar, and its immediate sequel.
We cannot now stand in ‘splendid isolation’, sending gun boats and Dreadnoughts to impress our will on the rest of the globe: we can, however, aim for a ‘splendid independence’, in the wake of Brexit. In fact, the world needs this. There is an urgent need for a historically-respected nation, with considerable influence, to arbitrate between Russia and the USA, and to maintain a friendly but – where need be – critical stance towards both. The United Kingdom is best-placed to assume that role, better placed, I think, than the French.
In the case of the USA, we need to resist aggressive trade deals and what I once heard described as ‘Cultural Imperialism’. In the case of Russia, we might show willingness to work together for stability in areas where there is none (belatedly), and also show that we value Russia as the historical origin of many of Europe’s cultural treasures. We did work together to aid the resurgent Greece in 1821, when they rose against the Ottoman Turks.
In all such discussion we encounter a widespread conceptual distortion, whereby we tend to have a false mental map in our heads which makes us see the world as a cylinder, in which the USA is just ‘over there’, – an impression which was magnified in the Second World War – while Russia lies in a misty cold fog in the far distant East.
Of course, we would not want one-sided aggressive trading from Russia either, but when did you last see something bearing the inscription Made in Russia”?
We should look at Russia – and most countries – on a globe atlas, rather than on the Mercator’s Projection all the time.