We might be confused by Brexit, but the rest of the world is utterly baffled

It may be a mystery to many outside the UK, says Ahmed Aboudouh, but that does not mean the fascination with Brexit is any less intense beyond our shores

Brexit has tended to be seen as a local mess with no immediate implications anywhere else – but is that true?
Brexit has tended to be seen as a local mess with no immediate implications anywhere else – but is that true?

Many people outside the UK are asking: “what the hell are the British people doing to themselves?” When it comes to Brexit, are the Brits really going to scupper an already shaky world order just to placate some populist fanatics?

For decades, centuries even, the world order was shaped by the UK. The British empire was seen by others around the globe as the cornerstone of its stability (imperial injustices aside). This view arose from the former British colonies’ familiarity with British troops, British industry and trade, as well as British soft power (the royal family and BBC) and what it used to mean for them, for their past and future.

However, the increasing dominance of the US moonlight’s beam in the 20th century meant, naturally, the sunset of the British hegemony. Since the Americans grabbed the world’s remote control, there has been a reset – with the world order drastically changed in the American direction. And the world has received the new American cultural reality with few apparent conflictions, except one, the British legacy. British officials, institutions and soldiers may have left their ex-colonies, but their imprint has remained.

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