brexit

The Old World is losing its “soft power”, its positive radiance and magnetism, as the support for the so-called “Brexit” becomes the symbol for the fear and rampant populism across the Continent. The Portland think tank’s “Soft Power Index” this year also found signs of Europe’s slide. The US has replaced Britain at the top and Germany has fallen from second to third place. And Canada bumped France down to fifth place.

Angry that only Americans can vote against Donald Trump? Bristling for a Brexit ballot though you’re not British? Now there’s a website that gives everyone worldwide the chance to cast their ballot. Global Vote is the brainchild of Simon Anholt, a U.K. independent policy adviser who has worked with leaders of more than 50 countries. The global vote is part of his Good Country movement, which aims to improve leadership for the good of humanity. 

Last Wednesday afternoon, four thousand miles away, Wolfgang Tillmans slouched at his desk. The photographer had Skyped me from the apartment above his Berlin studio, to discuss the poster campaign he’d released that day against “Brexit,” the British referendum on quitting the European Union, slated for June 23rd. […] if the E.U. is to survive, Tillmans said, it must become fashionable.

From the earliest moments of Barack Obama’s candidacy for president, there was an interesting debate about whether he would enhance America’s soft power in the world or not. Over the past eight years there have certainly been some data points that offer evidence of Obama’s soft power — but there has also been a legitimate debate about whether it means all that much for American foreign policy.

Brexit is in many ways just the British manifestation of the broader problem that the EU has never solved: There is a common European institution, but not a common European identity. [...] Obsessed with its own internal problems, it will fail to take the lead in standing up to Russia, it will fail to contribute to security in Africa or the Middle East...

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