Opinion: Brexit from EU leaves Donald Trump triumphant | Opinion | DW | 25.06.2016
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Opinion: Brexit from EU leaves Donald Trump triumphant

The Brexit result is cause for caution in the United States. Donald Trump's single-note mixed message might just have a serious chance of success, DW correspondent Ines Pohl writes in Washington.

Just a few days ago, almost nobody in the United States had been interested in the possibility of a Brexit - apart from professionals in industries that might be affected. There are very few people in the United States who make an effort to understand how the EU works. The fact that Great Britain doesn't use the euro and will remain an EU member until the details are worked out does not make the European Union more comprehensible to Americans.

News of an affirmative Brexit result, however, has caused a stir in the United States - though the reason for this is, of course, very American: Donald Trump. Once again, the Republican presidential candidate has managed to exploit an international development for his own ends.

Profilbild Ines Pohl

DW's Ines Pohl is covering the US presidential election campaign

Trump had cunningly planned a visit to one of his golf courses in Scotland for the morning following the referendum. The past few weeks had not worked out so well for the New York billionaire, and criticism from within the Republican ranks has been growing stronger. So the Brexit was a godsend for him. The arguments used in the successful "Leave" campaign are the same ones that Trump himself uses: Immigrants are to blame for economic problems. We have to focus more on our interests and spend less time and money on international relations and alliances.

The success of Britain's EU opponents is now a doubly bitter pill to swallow for the Democrats. What is possible in the land from which the United States declared its independence now seems possible in the former colony; now that Brexit is a reality, a President Trump could be, too.

Obama did it?

Trump can exploit Barack Obama's previous support for the campaign for Britain to remain in the EU. He can show that the current US president obviously has no influence on people in other countries: Trump has even gone so far as to claim that Obama's visit to the United Kingdom in April had harmed the "Remain" campaign.

When he visited London in the spring, Obama spoke in favor of Britain's staying in the EU, backing up his views with economic and strategic military arguments. Great Britain is still the US's strongest and most reliable military partner. This alliance will be called into question after the Brexit vote, however.

The United Kingdom has provided Trump with new ammunition. At the same time, Democrat Hillary Clinton's camp must be thinking the same thing that Chancellor Angela Merkel is: How can the advance of populists such as Trump or Alternative for Germany be stopped in a world filled with injustice and insecurity? Such empty assurances as "we're on the right track" or "we can do it" have been exhausted. Too many people feel that no one is listening to their worries about their difficulties in life. Now, Brits have demonstrated one possible result of this perceived neglect.

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