An isolationist bent to British politics, what Sebastian Mallaby refers to as “little Englandism,” is not new to the British political tradition. While this perspective has long been counter-balanced by a Gladstonian internationalism, debates around Brexit have been conspicuously devoid of such idealism, speaking in a language that appeals only to pocketbooks rather than to common decency.
With the UK having voted to leave the European Union, uncertainty over the future of the bloc has intensified. Brexit supporters argue that the EU threatens sovereignty and stifles growth, while opponents counter that EU membership strengthens trade, investment, and the UK's standing in the world.
The United States is not the only place possessed by populism, and this week the results from Iowa coincided with a new lurch toward the gutter in formerly sane Britain. The country once governed by Bill Clinton-imitating centrists is now beset by its own version of Trump-Cruzery: a xenophobic nativism that would divorce Britain from Europe in defiance of ordinary good sense.
In the last year, some 39,000 migrants, mostly from North Africa, tried to make their way to the United Kingdom from the French port of Calais by boarding trucks and trains crossing the English Channel.
Despite the lack of foreign policy debate in the run-up to the UK general elections, pressing questions about the United Kingdom’s relationship with Scotland and the EU loom, says expert Richard G. Whitman.
"The biggest danger from this side of the Atlantic is that the British government will be preoccupied for the coming years with how to grant and manage greater autonomy not just in Scotland but in Wales, Northern Ireland, and England – and then further distracted by the debate over its contested relationship with Europe," argues Richard N. Haass in the Financial Times.
Responding to Prime Minister David Cameron's suggestion of confiscating the passports of British subjects fighting abroad, Ed Husain asks, "In trying to reduce the terror threat, is the government unwittingly increasing it?"
U.S. President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron held a press conference on June 5, 2014, after the G7 meeting in Brussels. They discussed relations with Ukraine and Russia and the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union.
The Tipperary Peace Convention announced today that Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass is to receive the 2013 Tipperary International Peace Award for his significant role in assisting the peace process in Northern Ireland.