For many decades the most influential countries in the world, in both political and economic terms, have (arguably) been the US and the UK. But now, if we look around the globe, perhaps starting in Europe, we can see nations that are steadily progressing economically and politically while neither of the Anglo powerhouses seem to fit that description at all.
The UK appears to to be in danger of toppling out of the EU without any solid strategic force supporting its exit, while the US can scarcely recover from its recent governmental shutdown while trying to address its president’s declaration of a national emergency over the absence of a wall. Movement toward open markets and globalisation have been the call of both countries for a long time, but now that couldn’t look much more different.
In 2016, the British public voted in favour of their Brexit. Since then the impression given by the country to the rest of the world is of a chaotic move toward exiting the EU, and the the image of outward looking liberalism has been all but destroyed. The country has gone from being an indisputable leader to sometimes looking more like a pauper, having to find new means of currying favour with the developing nations with whom it wants to agree trade deals. On the other side of the Atlantic the effect of the election of Donald trump has had a comparably negative impact on globalisation, but on a larger scale.
The strength of the anglo nations is still present enough in the minds of the rest of the world, but how long can that last? They could recover fairly quickly, it seems that Brexit can be conducted in a way that doesn’t bring the UK economy to its knees and there’s still time for the US to see a swing in a different direction. Let’s not forget 8 of the 10 biggest companies in the world are American, and they are still dominant in the spheres of tech and finance. The Eurozone doesn’t seem to have filled the space left by the UK and the US, so the playing field is left somewhat open for bounce backs by those countries. But this stagnation in Euro/American economics leaves opportunity for the emerging markets of the world.
If the two English speaking nations are to make a recovery, they will need to do it soon because the visible dysfunction can’t go on forever without competitors exploiting the weakness it creates. It was momentum that made these countries great and right now that momentum seems much more evident in China, the rest of Asia, and beyond.