Memo to U.S. Pundits: Stop Looking for the Brexit Culprit in Washington

Memo to U.S. Pundits: Stop Looking for the Brexit Culprit in Washington
President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron after a joint news conference at 10 Downing Street, London, April 22, 2016 (AP photo by Carolyn Kaster).

In the aftermath of the Brexit referendum, the debate among U.S. foreign policy pundits has taken a predictable and customary turn: looking for who is to blame. Also predictable, but customary, are the usual suspects on parade. Not surprisingly, for many the culprit is ultimately to be found, not in London or Brussels, but in Washington.

After that, the partisan divide makes the trail harder to follow. But if partisan politics in Washington makes agreeing on a single culprit impossible, there is bipartisan consensus on at least one thing: Just about everything that happens in the world is determined in Washington.

The list of people who contributed to the Brexit disaster begins, of course, in London. British Prime Minister David Cameron comes to mind, for having called the referendum in the first place. Boris Johnson, the former mayor of London and Cameron’s rival in the Conservative Party, did not help matters by coming down forcefully on the side of the Leave campaign. There is also, of course, Nigel Farage, the fiercely Euroskeptic head of the U.K. Independence Party. And the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, is facing a party revolt for campaigning half-heartedly for Remain.

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