Why should Americans care about Brexit?

R.A Brock
Copy Editor / Staff Writer

PC: Mastertux

With the due date for Brexit looming next month, one question remains for many Americans: why does it matter to me? To answer this, we need a little history lesson.

The United Kingdom has a history of being unsure when it comes to joining or leaving the European Union. This sentiment dates back as far as the 1960s and ’70s. These ideas remain irresolute based on the U.K.’s ever-changing political atmosphere, which over the years has had a tendency to turn on a dime, even today. 

On June 23, 2016, The Brexit Referendum was voted on, receiving a turnout of 71.8 percent. David Cameron, the Prime Minister before the vote, resigned the next day after the vote verified 51.9 percent of the Britons’ decision to leave. He later stated, “…the realities of modern politics make it very difficult to continue on the backbenches without the risk of becoming a diversion to the important decisions that lie ahead for my successor…” 

Within 20 days, a new Prime Minister, Theresa May, was appointed to deal with the state of the country through the unforeseen difficulties that would come with such a massive undertaking. Eight months later, on March 29, 2017, she executed the beginning of the peoples’ will to leave the EU by invoking what is called, Article 50(2) of the Treaty on the European Union, or just “Article 50,” triggering the monstrous proceedings that we call, BREXIT.

With the U.K. leaving the EU, more questions are posed as to how badly it would affect the EU. Politically, it could end up a nightmare. The U.K. has a plethora of influences in European politics and with other European leaders; other countries may follow the U.K.’s lead towards separating from the EU. 

When more than one of these EU countries decide to leave, the EU grows weaker with power and influence, especially with many of the departing countries sporting  major economies.

Immigration becomes a major geopolitical issue for this area, considering many countries in the EU have what is called an “open visa policy,” meaning residents of EU countries can move freely across borders for work and travel. Without the U.K. as part of the EU, this subject becomes blurred.

Economically, Brexit means so much more. The potential ramifications for the U.K. alone could be catastrophic, including housing collapse, food shortages and hyperinflation. However, the consequences for countries partnered in the EU could be even more worrisome.

Ireland is very dependent on the EU. Other countries like the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany, who have high trade volumes with the U.K., would be hurt from Brexit initially. Their economies are very intertwined in the agricultural, automotive and fishery sectors. 

The industries most impacted will be any industry producing major imports and exports for trades in countries between the U.K. and EU due to a tariff hike. If the U.K. and EU are wanting to maintain their economic statuses, they will have to come up with a deal that will keep many of the same agreements and tariff structures in place. However, those types of deals are very hard to negotiate in the current political atmosphere. 

If the EU loses that extra £9 Billion yearly, a significant amount of its foreign aid budget would be impacted. That aid goes to helping countries riddled with civil, armed, economic and health conflicts. Without that aid, fewer countries will be helped and the status and influence of the EU will plummet.

But how does this affect the U.S.? 

The United States is worried because of its investments, both in the U.K. and EU. With the U.K. showing weakened support for Germany, it is thought the EU will put less pressure on the economic sanctions imposed on Russia.

When the EU is weakened, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is weakened as well, meaning our security and peace of mind regarding monitoring competition, like Russia and China, go out the window.

With Boris Johnson as prime minister, the possibility of a “no-deal Brexit” comes into play. He is attempting to suspend parliament and the actions of members to avoid such a thing. A no-deal Brexit would be Britain leaving the EU without retaining any current benefits from membership. This could be near catastrophic for the world economy in a worst-case scenario. This is because London is a “global city.”

A global city is a center of economic activity and a “node” for information, commerce and trade with other countries. A major disruption of a global city, while rare, has the potential for an economic collapse.

Categories: Opinions

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