The United Kingdom and United States have shared a "special relationship" that stretches back even further than when Winston Churchill coined the phrase in 1946. But in the wake of last week's Brexit referendum, a new rival — China — may increasingly compete for the U.K.'s favor.
The U.K. has long been seen as a strategic and powerful friend as Washington navigates foreign affairs with broader Europe. The language and in some cases the culture alone have encouraged leaders from both sides of the Atlantic to collaborate and exchange ideas. For the White House, London offered a window into European politics. The U.K.'s planned exit from the European Union shifts some of those dynamics.
"London has lost relevance to U.S. foreign policy," Charles Lichfield, a Europe specialist with research firm Eurasia Group, said on a conference call with media following the announcement of the referendum results.
President Barack Obama and Prime Minister David Cameron are known for being on friendly terms, and Obama even traveled to the U.K. to show his support for the remain camp ahead of the referendum vote last week. But Obama's efforts didn't help, and now Cameron is on his way out.
"Washington will not be pleased" with the U.K. leaving the European Union, Lichfield said. "Part of London's attraction for the U.S. was its role as a liberal voice within the EU."