By voting (by a narrow margin) to leave the European Union, the United Kingdom has decided that near-term economic pain is a price worth paying in exchange for its sovereignty. But while voters were asked whether to choose a path away from Europe, they simultaneously charted another path. Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is an unmistakable step toward its Anglosphere cousins.

The basis for a formalized Anglosphere is grounded most concretely in the legacy of the military cooperation that developed during and after World War II. To this day, the intelligence agencies of Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand enjoy an unrivaled level of interconnectedness. The sharing of these secrets, information vital to the continued existence of the nations in question, bespeaks a level of shared comfort and commitment to being on the same side of most issues, most of the time.

But while the technical foundation of the relationship between these nations is founded in the first principle of each of their governments – defense of the homeland – one need not dig to a great depth to find the common principles of free-market democratic governance, made possible by a robust commitment to free speech, that are the shared legacy of a shared intellectual heritage.

While those shared principles might one day enable closer political union between the Anglosphere, they should enable closer economic union almost immediately.

Toward that end, Britain’s first step toward Anglosphere should be to address the economic uncertainty that underpinned the talking points for staying in the EU. Britain should seek to establish free-trade agreements with its cousins across the Atlantic and in the southern Pacific. By seeking to join NAFTA quickly, Britain could offset the pain of reprisal-driven economic negotiations with its former European partners. Further, an Anglosphere-focused Britain should move to embrace the advantages won in the referendum by establishing a more laissez-faire approach to regulation of its business climate.

Whether the current administration in Washington – or the current governments in Ottawa, Canberra and Wellington – would reciprocate interest from an independent London is unknown. But now that Britain is free from the constraints of negotiating as a member of the EU, they would do well to consider the benefits of a less-restrained multilateral free-trade agreement to their own economies.

Regardless what comes next, the most remarkable fact about Britain’s decision to leave the EU is not that a nation has potentially elected to move toward financial uncertainty. Rather, it is that a country has decided to place a bet upon itself and its ability to find its way in the world with an identify of its own. Britain has voted to announce that its values, ones that it shares with the Anglosphere nations, are more important than the ease of the status quo within Europe.

In the long term, Britain’s bravery, and its faith in an experiment begun on June, 23, 2016, will reshape its own future – and along with it, the whole world’s.

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