From the outset, I would like to remind readers that the idea of leaving the European Union was brewed in Britain years before the landmark 2016 referendum. Brexit then, not now. , is an unforeseen natural disaster that should surprise anyone. There have been, and still are, many misunderstandings in Europe about this particular event.
The majority of British people simply believe that, for many good reasons, that it is better for the UK that it should abandon the process of further integration into Europe. The general view among the UK public is that the EU is simply inactive. They are acutely aware that there will be many problems ahead, but it seems – and I am speaking as witnesses of this – that they are willing to pay the price.
Citizens of the UK want full sovereignty for their country and they believe that their politicians, as a result of Brexit, will be more focused on the specific needs of the British people. In other words, they believed that the combination of sovereignty and political responsibility would restore democracy in England.
In a way, Brexit was a quiet rebellion against the European integration model and British political elites. Some British historians even say that Brexit was a third European revolution, after the French Revolution of 1789 and the birth of the EU in 1993.
There are a number of other reasons as well. We are living in a time when the so-called “New World Order” is in the process of forming. The world needs new rules and British elites believe they, with their long experience in rule-based business, could be an important part of that process. Being a member of the EU limits their participation.
This is especially important in the City of London, the financial center of the world. In the process of introducing new regulations, London wanted more independence. Because of this, the British see Brexit as an opportunity for themselves and their country. Of course, it’s a long process, because making history takes time. The question remains, however, as to whether the British political class has the capacity to make all of this a reality. At this point, it is still not certain that they can.
This will require a tectonic change of cultural change. For better or for worse, time will show and history will be the judge. Regardless of the end result, the final Brexit vote remains the choice of the majority of the British people, and they have the right to hear their voice.
In many ways, Brexit is a bigger signal for the EU. That is a word of caution. Brexit is a protest against the dominant model of society symbolized by the European Union. The British people are not against Europe, they simply do not want to be part of the present form, which is filled with meaningless regulations and decrees for national governments.
Dissatisfaction with the current structure and way of functioning of the EU is rife in many countries. This could encourage other nations to regain control of their own destiny. It will happen? We still don’t know.
Of course, Brexit changed the international position of the UK. Although Britain remains a member of NATO and its larger security structure, it is now a “third country”. With that, the UK’s importance on the international scene is decreasing. The UK simply does not have the capacity to become a world power again. Some politicians believe that the UK may be as important as a transatlantic road, but this is impractical. In fact, it is too early to say what effect Brexit will have on UK relations with its allies.
The UK is still in a transition phase and the real effects on its status in the world may not be seen for at least a few years. This will be a process that will require major changes inside – including economic and political – within the UK.
When we talk about the EU, I don’t think Brexit does any significant damage. Some political and financial losses do exist, but not anything that can be called fundamental. Currently, Brexit does not seem to affect the fortunes of the EU.
The reason for this is that Brexit is a consequence, not the cause, of the EU’s own crisis. In fact, the European project has long been in crisis and that crisis will persist regardless of whether the UK is a member of the bloc or not. In other words, Brexit is a wake-up call for the EU.
However, it seems that many of the entrenched European institutions did not hear the alarm bells. This is one of the reasons why some countries, like France, are trying to cause problems with Britain. It seems that French policy has a lot to do with EU internal relations; mainly between France and Germany. Germany is the EU’s largest exporter to the UK and is very interested in maintaining smooth relations with London.
After Brexit, the so-called ‘special relationship’ between the UK and the US is also more complicated. The Biden Regulatory Authority recently announced that it supports the EU and considers it an important strategic partner. From that perspective, the UK becomes less important. This is especially important considering that Barack Obama’s previous administration, whose current administration is a continuation in many ways, was against Brexit.
A new trade agreement between Washington and London has yet to be implemented as many issues still remain and more time is needed to finalize details. The UK plans to be more commercially dependent on the United States, but in the best possible case, the UK could be a US subcontractor for less desirable international jobs.
Despite the fact that the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Unity are still part of the transatlantic Western bloc, Brexit signals that there may be challenges within the bloc. There may be changes in relations with the global community; most importantly to Russia, China and other emerging countries in the international community. This will be the main challenge among Western allies when there are significant differences between them.
There are differences in the usual concepts of defense, but overall, it seems that defense is the only area where the three are more or less linked.
In commerce, there are real differences. The UK, the US and the EU have completely different interests. The United States will continue its policy of confrontation with China and Russia. However, in Europe, some of the continent’s leading countries continue to work closely with China in investment and technology and with Russia in the energy sector. For the UK, China is a strategic partner in investment, finance and technology. Those countries simply cannot continue without China now.
Areas where many Western countries would be better off engaging in bilateral discussions with countries like China and Russia. Doing so may be the greatest challenge to Western unity. The main problems may come from British business cooperation in the US, as some countries are the target of US sanctions.
British businesses dealing with China are a post-Brexit strategic boon. The city of London was already a world trade hub for the Chinese yuans. As a result, Britain must continue to cooperate with China.
Under such circumstances, it is difficult to see how Britain will maintain a “special relationship” with Washington. It is impossible to rule out some serious tensions between London and Washington at one point in time. In general, the US is currently relying on the EU when it comes to general European policy.
It is important that we see what happens. We are living in a time of turmoil and international relations increasingly resembling those from the second half of the 19th century. This means alliances are changing every day.
Despite all the challenges, the key structure of the transatlantic alliance remains intact. The main problem is that America’s strategic interests are not in Europe anymore, they are in Eurasia and the Far East. Meaning the new Biden Administration will continue the policies of the previous two administrations. This may disappoint some in the European Union, but Washington will adhere to its own interests and may soon ask the EU to implement its policies, essentially, at this point, this goes against Europe’s own interests.
One of the examples is the controversial North-2 Flow oil pipeline constructed by Russia. This is not an American attempt to stop Russia, it is only a public excuse. In fact, it was against Germany and her further economic growth. Of course, everything depends on what each political day will carry. As former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan once said: “Events create politics, not plans”.
Climate change is one of the rare issues that the broader international community can truly cooperate with. The three main players of the West want to be the leader when it comes to this strategic issue. But there is also a difference between them in this. Climate policies, for example, are not the same in Great Britain and Germany. In the UK, industry is only a fraction of GDP, accounting for only 8.5% of gross domestic product. It’s easier for the UK to cut, but in other industrialized countries like Germany it’s much harder.
Additionally, climate change in many countries outside the West is seen as a political tool to control their development and as a form of extortion. It is difficult to see how climate policy will develop at a global level after the world’s major industrial powers fail to reach meaningful agreements on how to approach the subject. Many also may not believe the official report and simply refuse to believe the recommendations.
Most efforts should be directed towards promoting the development of new clean technologies instead of using climate change to stealthily tax and punish people and nations.
All of this suggests that transatlantic relationships will move towards recalibration, but not a complete detachment. The key partners in this regard are the US and the EU, not the UK. In fact, this is how the situation evolved long before Brexit. This means that Brexit will not fundamentally change the transatlantic alliance.