The foremost intellectual question and perhaps moral question on my mind at the moment is one which I have not fully resolved yet. The question is, which is worse: the creation of today’s dilemmas and problems in international society which predate 21st century American interventions around the world? Or America’s exacerbation and perpetuation of these dilemmas and problems in the 21st century? This is a question which I have yet to find a satisfying answer for, and this question still plagues my mind to a certain extent.
In turn, one of the most important rules of logic we must keep in mind when we analyze some of the consequences and fallout from decades of the exacerbation and perpetuation of the dilemmas and problems which predate us is appearance versus reality. In a sense, one should take actions into account rather than words when one analyzes phenomena on an international level. Diplomatic language and propaganda are one thing, and action and reality is another thing.
This discrepancy between appearance and reality is demonstrated most meaningfully and subtly when we analyze the recent phenomenon known as Brexit. For instance, on the surface, we have all the rhetoric of “Western unity” and the rhetoric of Joe Biden types in abundance. But what ‘Brexit’ demonstrated was the discrepancy between actions and words. In a sense, ‘Brexit’ was an action and a reaction taken in response to both American global hegemony and Donald Trump, even though ‘Brexit’ was carried out under the guise of a democratic referendum with a populist hue. ‘Brexit’ amounted to both a break from the organization and structure which was supposed to demonstrate ‘Western unity’ and it also was a signal that London did not want to be tied into the direction and manner in which this organization and structure was moving.
The way in which this organization and structure was moving is evident today when we see some of the political and economic pressures on Europe from America on one hand and Russia and China on the other hand as a result of geopolitics and today’s “global hybrid war.” What London managed to do through ‘Brexit’ was free itself politically from an organization and structure which was moving in the wrong direction and thus retain its political independence in addition to freeing itself of the economic burden and contributions to Brussels which were part of such a tie-down. As one scholar wrote:
“The British experience provides an object lesson in political economy on the grand scale: Outcomes are shaped by the interplay of both politics and economics. Those who would dwell on only one of these dimensions at the expense of the other cannot hope to gain a full understanding of what has taken place; nor can they appreciate the probable future course that Britain is poised to take in the twenty-first century.”
In turn, London retained its role as the world’s “offshore balancer” as a result of “Brexit.” Given the dichotomy in this “global hybrid war” between East and West, London was able to step back from this dichotomy through “Brexit” and in turn let the two sides balance each other out. Part of the balance can be explained by the failures of American foreign policy, the consequences of which London sought to mitigate through “Brexit.” Sanctions, for instance, although implemented ferociously in Washington, have been shown through empirical studies to backfire in a number of ways.
After its imperial decline which began at around the middle point of the 20th century, Britain largely became an appendage of America and had to go along with the whims of American foreign policy. But ‘Brexit’ demonstrated that Britain was longer going to be idly blown by the “winds” and by the senseless whims that were emanating out of Washington on a daily basis.