The Foreign Service Journal - April 2017
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APRIL 2017



Both Europe and the United States have a vital stake in preserving

and improving the trans-Atlantic relationship.



The Rt. Hon. Lord Campbell of Pittenweem CH CBE

PC QC was the Liberal Democrat member of Parlia-

ment for North East Fife, in Scotland, from 1987 until

he stood down in 2015. During that time he was his

party’s principal spokesman on foreign affairs and defense. He was

elected deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2003 and served

as its leader from 2006 to 2007. In the House of Commons he was

a member of the Trade and Industry, Defense and Foreign Affairs

Select Committees, and also served on parliament’s Intelligence and

Security Committee between 2008 and 2015. From 2010 to 2015 he

led the United Kingdom delegation to the NATO Parliamentary As-

sembly, of which he remains a member.


he guiding lights for my approach

to foreign affairs have been United

Kingdommembership in the Euro-

pean Union and the North Atlantic

Treaty Organizaion, support for the

United Nations and a profound belief

in the trans-Atlantic relationship.

These principles have been comple-

mentary and mutually reinforcing.

They have their roots in the recognition that a rules-based sys-

tem provides the most effective means to preserve and promote

peace and security. A rules-based systemmay seem perfect in

conception, but less so in practice. Still, history teaches us that

the alternatives are less effective.



Out of the ashes of the Second World War a new order was

established, comprised of Bretton Woods, the International

Monetary Fund, the United Nations, NATO and the European

Union, and other international organizations. The purpose was

to thwart nationalist ambition, to foster cooperation, and to

achieve and sustain postwar reconciliation and reconstruction.

Or, to put it another way, the goal was to identify and prevent the

causes and the consequences of conflict.

Have the members of these institutions always met the obli-

gations incumbent upon them? Of course not; because even in

a perfect world, if such existed, national interests would never

be entirely subordinate to supranational agreement. But the

obligations and the inherent values that these institutions and

relationships embraced have provided a benchmark against

which citizens could measure the performance of their govern-

ments and signatories could judge their fellows.

We should not hesitate to describe these institutions and

their values as liberal. Nor should we hesitate to recognize that

without them our world would have been less secure.

Brexit and New Challenges

But now we face challenges of an entirely different nature,

reflecting the disillusionment and even discontent many citizens

feel toward governments which, both in their domestic policies

and internationally, have acted in accordance with the obliga-

tions these organizations and relationships impose.

The unexpected outcome of the so-called Brexit referen-