I am an American and not British. So why did I get that downslope roller coaster feeling when I read that the United Kingdom had voted to leave the European Union? Perhaps it was because European stability, so important to all of us, was such an optimistic exclamation point to two world wars; two wars that resulted in the deaths of roughly 100 million people. That's more people than currently reside in the UK (65 million).
Yet, the people of the UK have spoken and what happens next is hard to anticipate. And that is why I am going to make a prediction: If the UK does indeed leave the EU, England will seek some form of political and / or economic unity with the United States within 25 years.
Here is my reasoning:
England historically helped maintain its prominence in Europe by maintaining the world's most powerful navy by a magnitude. Like the United States today, England ruled the waves and whoever ruled the waves ruled the world. Nothing moves on today's oceans, anywhere in the world, if the United States Navy does not want it to. That was the way it was for England in the 19th Century and before.
According to The National Interest, England now has the world's fourth largest navy behind the U.S., Russia and China. Accordingly, its ability to protect its island home is not as assured as it once was.
Great Britain currently has, as stated above, a population of 65 million. The European Union prior to Brexit had over 500 million people. Even with the loss of the UK, the European Union will still be, by population, the fourth largest political / economic entity in the world.
The rest of Europe, like a spurned spouse in a divorce, is not going to be very happy with the UK. That could hurt because, with the exception of the U.S., nine of Britain's top 10 export customers are members of the European Union:
- United States: US$66.5 billion (14.5% of total UK exports)
- Germany: $46.4 billion (10.1%)
- Switzerland: $32.2 billion (7%)
- China: $27.4 billion (5.9%)
- France: $27 billion (5.9%)
- Netherlands: $26.6 billion (5.8%)
- Ireland: $25.5 billion (5.5%)
- Belgium: $17.8 billion (3.9%)
- Spain: $13.1 billion (2.8%)
- Italy: $12.9 billion (2.8%)
Unless the UK returns to its colonial days (not going to happen) it simply does not have the resources to competing economically or militarily with Europe. That is why the UK will turn to the US. The United States and the UK already enjoy what is called a "Special Relationship." There is a shared language, culture, rule of law and economic system. There is also a powerful belief in democracy.
It is for these reasons that the England will seek some kind of political and / or economic affiliation with the United States. That which broke apart in 1776 could come full circle by 2076.
What do you think?