Scotland's decision to overwhelmingly reject independence from the United Kingdom brought great relief to a White House worried about the impact of a schism on several different fronts.
Had Scotland voted to secede, the fear was, U.K. politics would have been thrown into turmoil just as the United States was counting on its British allies to play a key supporting role in the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and continue to pressure Vladimir Putin in Russia.
"We welcome the result of yesterday's referendum on Scottish independence and congratulate the people of Scotland for their full and energetic exercise of democracy," Obama said. "Through debate, discussion and passionate yet peaceful deliberations, they reminded the world of Scotland's enormous contributions to the U.K. and the world, and have spoken in favor of keeping Scotland within the United Kingdom."
Obama added: "We have no closer ally than the United Kingdom, and we look forward to continuing our strong and special relationship with all the people of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as we address the challenges facing the world today."
It's not as though an independent Scotland would have ended the so-called special relationship between the U.K. and the U.S. Indeed, over the long term it would likely have drawn a smaller and more conservative United Kingdom even closer to its American ally.
But in the near term it would have distracted Great Britain at a dangerous time with Islamic extremists trying to reshape the map in the Middle East and Vladimir Putin harboring dreams of a return to empire in Russia. Other separatist movements in Europe, including in Spain's Catalonia region, might have draw significant momentum from Scottish independence.