Former British Foreign Secretary David Millibrand said Sunday the vote by Britain to leave the European Union will have an impact on efforts to maintain stability in the world.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Millibrand, president and CEO of humanitarian organization the International Rescue Committee, said he doubts, however, that efforts to schedule a second vote will succeed.
“This referendum was really an up-or-down vote for the European institution, which is undervalued,” said Millibrand, indicating there's no upside to the decision. “The trouble is you have to live with the consequences. Populism is popular until it gets elected.”
Millibrand said Americans should realize the Brexit decision will have an impact on them as well, citing the strong economic links between the United State and Britain as well as the partnership for “building international stability.”
“The great danger now is that while the friendship will stay between the U.K. and U.S., the partnership doesn’t have the same kind of influence or drive. And that’s what worries many of us,” he said, adding, “When [Russian President] Vladimir Putin is cheering, you know you’ve got a problem in the international system.”
Millibrand said it’s too early to say whether a second referendum will be scheduled, and he was appalled people voted first and then researched exactly what they had voted against after the results were revealed. (Google reported Friday a 250 percent increase in queries such as “What is the EU?”)“It is terrifying that people voted to leave an institution and are then suffering buyer’s remorse. … The challenge now is for Britain to show the common sense, the practicality, the sense of purpose that has traditionally been associated with us will continue to carry through,” he said, adding he doesn’t think the government can ignore the result.
Millibrand acknowledged the whole campaign was colored by controversy over immigration. Concerns in Britain center mostly around immigrants from Eastern Europe. He said Britons must realize they can’t have it both ways — access to the EU and a block on immigration.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said on CNN’s “State of the Union” he is upbeat about Brexit, adding it’s exciting to see Western civilization “realize that the direction we’re going is not a good direction.” Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he thinks the vote will draw America and Britain closer.
“There is massive resentment throughout Europe and the U.K. and into the United States about a global economy that works very, very well for large multinational corporations who are able to shut down in this country to go to China or Mexico and hire people for very low wages,” Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont said on “State of the Union.” “It’s a global economy that is not working in many ways for the middle class or working families. …
“What ordinary people are saying is give us an economy that works for all of us and not just the people on top, and I think to a significant degree that’s what this Brexit vote was all about.”