US officials have woken up to the idea of a possible Yes outcome in the Scottish independence referendum taking place on Thursday, Sept. 18 — and they are hardly thrilled.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Monday that the US government has ldquo;an interest in seeing the UK remain strong, robust, and united.”
The language is similar to that used by President Obama in January last year, when the administration pushed for the UK to stay in the European Union. For the US, the UK is a positive influence on the EU, and some American banks are fretting about the consequences of a British exit.
A senior U.S. administration official told The Financial Times: “That is our nightmare — Scottish independence followed by a British exit from the EU.”
Independence would be “a tragedy for the west just at a moment when the US needs strong partners,” former World Bank president Robert Zoellick added.
Meanwhile, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told the FT that forecasts of a prosperous post-split Scotland were “so implausible they really should be dismissed out of hand.” Greenspan adds to the list of high-profile US economists who have warned against a Yes vote.
And it’s not just the US that’s fretting. Both the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada have intervened in opposition to the move. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott even went so far as to say “the people who would like to see the break-up of the United Kingdom are not the friends of justice, the friends of freedom.”