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Brexit "Nationalism Revolt" isn't the same as America's GOP Nationalism push

Objective Voice

DP Veteran
Apr 14, 2008
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Huntsville, AL (USA)
Political Leaning
I admit, this Brexit (Britain's exit from the EU) wasn't something I paid very close attention to until yesterday (6/23/2016) when it was announced that British nationals would be voting whether or not to leave the European Union (EU). Once the vote was in, I started doing some research to get a feel for the root cause(s) for Britain's eventual departure. Before continuing, I think it necessary to briefly summarize what the EU meant to Britain and why the majority of British nationals were upset enough to vote to leave. This article from BBC News does a thorough job of covering all the angles on Brexit from currency matters to passports to work visas, etc., etc. But make no mistake: Britain's exit from the EU had less to do with British nationalism and more to do with British sovereignty. From the article:

The European Union - often known as the EU - is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries. It began after World War Two to foster economic co-operation, with the idea that countries which trade together are more likely to avoid going to war with each other. It has since grown to become a "single market" allowing goods and people to move around, basically as if the member states were one country. It has its own currency, the euro, which is used by 19 of the member countries, its own parliament and it now sets rules in a wide range of areas - including on the environment, transport, consumer rights and even things such as mobile phone charges.

So, although recent immigration issues were the straw that broke the camel's back, immigration itself wasn't the main reason Britian voted to leave the EU. On the contrary, it had everything to do with "a weak centralized government run by partisan career (establishment) politicians who make decisions on economic and social issues without input from the British people". When you consider what being in the EU meant to Britain - which wasn't much in the grand scheme of things - leaving kinda made sense. It was about their sovereignty...the island nation's ability to make decisions which they believed were more in their national self-interest. Of course, if push came to shove, British subjects would come together in defense of their island nation. They're still unified as a nation. However, what the slight majority of British nationals apparently grew weary of was all the regulations/decisions that were being made without "the consent of the governed". Put another way, they grew tire of "legalization without representation" which I found rather odd considering that the British subjects were well aware that the Prime Minister whom they elected represented all of Britain at the European Council.

Now, there are some who believe that Britain's split from the EU was all about British nationalism, a referendum for British subjects to "take their country back". Well, in a way that's true but not in the way it's being conveyed.

From the perspective of unification, the EU took an "All-In" approach to governance all across the European spectrum and for a while it worked. But the Greek economic crisis, a resurgent Russia and migration problems all converged convincing a majority of British subjects to vote in favor of leaving the EU. For the U.S. (GOP-Trump supporters in particular) to claim a return to nationalism, we would have to experience problems on the scale the EU (and Britain in particular) has experienced. And while some would say there are similarities, I would have to disagree.

For starters, any "bailout" the U.S. puts forward it can recoup over time even if it choose to restructure the debt. That said, our congressional budget process allows us to pay down any debt as slowly or as quickly as we see fit as the power of the purse will always reside within on governing legislative body (The House or Representatives) the people ultimately control. We also have the ability to repeal any foreign aggressor who threatens our national sovereignty. The power can come either temporarily from the Executive via the War Powers Act or more sternly and long lasting via a formal declaration of war from Congress. The immigration issue can be resolved if Congress ever decides to find common ground on immigration reform. However, I do understand the pushback against immigration reform measures viewed either as Executive over-reach or a perceived unwillingness to enforce standing immigration laws.

Regardless of how you view it, Brexit isn't the presumed push for nationalism as some have proclaimed, nor could such a push for nationalism here in the U.S. win majority support since our mechanisms for regaining national sovereignty are much more clearly defined and "centralized" than that of Britain under the EU.

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