The United States has become a caricature of itself. Like when the assistant secretary of state for Europe, Philip Gordon, traveled to London to lecture the British government on why it should remain in the European Union.
Throughout its existence Britain has enjoyed an identity separate from Europe. The British Isles were only a late and distant addition to the Roman Empire. The next invasion wasn’t until 1066. Since then none has succeeded: Britain fended off Spain’s King Phillip II, France’s Emperor Napoleon and Germany’s Adolf Hitler.
The UK kept its distance from the continent, switching allies like they were dance partners at a costume ball. After World War II, the European Union began as a more rudimentary continental Common Market and Britain joined late due to the antipathy of French president Charles de Gaulle. But the marriage was never entirely happy, with many Britons uncomfortable about surrendering their decision-making authority to a growing bureaucracy in Brussels.
This dissatisfaction grew faster as the EU turned into a debt union. Brussels is demanding control over national budgets even of states which, like the UK, had not joined the Eurozone. The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is gaining in popularity and the ruling Conservative Party is talking about repatriating power from Brussels and even leaving the EU. The government is planning to hold a referendum on the latter issue.