What the UK Election Results Mean for the World
The Conservative Party's decisive victory in Britain's May 7 elections has launched a cottage industry of doomsayers predicting the United Kingdom's dissolution, its exit from the European Union -- dubbed "Brexit," and a further diminution of its role on the global stage. While Scottish secession looms as an abiding concern, Britain's friends and trading partners around the world should see much to celebrate. From a global perspective, there are three positive takeaways from last week's election results, as well as two lurking dangers that must guide the new government in London.
First, polling earlier this year by Chatham House and YouGov revealed that a clear majority -- over six in 10 British citizens -- believe their country should remain a great power rather than accepting decline. A similar majority believe the U.K. has a duty to uphold international security. In its first five-year term, the Conservative Party, in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, slashed spending on defense and foreign policy and seemed to withdraw from a front-line role in global affairs. In its second term, Prime Minister David Cameron's party, which showed a canny grasp of public opinion in this election campaign, should recognize that the consensus in Britain is for internationalism, not isolationism -- and for action to rebuild the country's global influence.