Immigration fear not limited to UK

Brexit is not confined to the British economy but will have strong effect on almost all the world.

Britain's intention to leave the European Union -- Brexit -- will greatly affect the rest of the world. It's not confined to the effect it will have on the British economy, even if that is likely to be major, nor on the adjustments the remaining 27 EU states must make.

There's more than a little suspicion in the UK that the continental elites are enjoying the mess the Brits are in, unwillingly forced to accept the will of the people and struggling to get a grip on the complexities of separating trade, legal systems, financial and political commitments built up over 44 years. When a friendly country, especially one perceived as arrogant (a widespread view of the British establishment) enters a time of trouble, something inside its close allies quietly rejoices. We compete, after all, not just in trade and growth, but in our national self images.

But schadenfreude is hollow. Most Western countries now face, in differing degrees of intensity, the same issues that impelled a narrow majority to vote for Brexit last year. These are closely tied together: immigration, fear of terrorism, the sovereignty of national parliaments, embattled ethnic identity, and lack of community cohesion.

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