The cascade of commentary on Britain’s decision to leave institutional Europe has described the epochal event primarily in the vocabulary of calamity. However, the coin of the realm for statesmen is not anguish or recrimination; it should be to transform setback into opportunity.
A disintegrating Europe could subside into an impotent passivity that will shrivel the entire Atlantic partnership, which represents one of the greatest achievements of the past century. Britain, in whatever mutually respectful legal status it arranges with Europe, is an essential element in this design. Its history and emotion are Atlantic; its current necessity requires as well a link to Europe. Today’s established international order was founded upon conceptions that emerged from the British Isles, were carried by Europe around the world, and ultimately took deep root in North America. American leadership in reinvigorating the contemporary order is imperative.
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