Its isn’t hard to see that the Continent needs a vibrant U.K. more than London needs Berlin. Although this isn’t easy to see now, any quick glance of the emerging domestic, geopolitical challenges reveals that the entire continent is managing its affairs on a precipice. None of this will end well.
The British people went to the polls on Thursday, June 23, 20016 for a vote of independence that rivals in magnitude to the wiles of Thatcher. Any economist or strategist would have acknowledged that England’s short term view dominated any calculus. Yet the people thought otherwise. If the vast majority of English thought remaining meant influencing the continent to meet 21st century challenges, they’d be right. Needless to say, the English seek independence.
Since Roosevelt, American interests lay in a free and prosperous Europe, one having London at the center balancing an emerging Franco-Teutonic rapprochement. It has now come to pass and with it new lines of engagement in an old civilizational conflict that merges north African political economies to northern Mediterranean welfare states. Only a bungled migrant crisis brought this into relief. London wagered to keep itself from both the Euro and Schengen rules of passport free Europe, delivering the strongest growth in the old world. Nevertheless, in truth, E.U. rules never stopped England from embracing free market principals that Tories so brilliantly espouse. The obstacle to growth in England is British politics.
The origin of new volatility and uncertainty resides in acknowledging that any new relation between London and Brussels would mean re-negotiating trade rules for re-entry into the common market. This would mean re-accepting most E.U. rules on trade anyway. Typical optimistic British insight was to envision London at the helm of any E.U. relation tempering German mercantilism while generally promoting global commerce. This may never occur given Chinese prerogatives of the Silk Road and the growing threat of Islamism.
Without a doubt, the most promising Brexit argument is national sovereignty and democratic accountability. It was this political insight that drove the English to confirm independence.
Yet political risks remain.
Only the Tories were capable of weathering a fatal fracturing that Brexit demanded. They answered by elevating Theresa May, an advocate of remain! It is clear that the English want Tories to promote or fix the left’s agenda. It is also clear that Putin’s game of formatting secessionist movements close to a Trident in Scotland favors any brutal authoritarian. Although both Tory and Labor managed to consolidate political unity over Trident, Putin’s ambitions of having not to face unified opposition for his regional ambitions over the North Sea still stand.
With Islamists at the gates, here’s what E.U. members should be thinking: Either pursue growth and democratic accountability or face the wrath of emerging civil dissidents throughout the continent.