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Brexit a mere setback on integration

By Sekou Otondi | June 30th 2016

Proponents of an independent UK, outside the 28-member regional bloc, carried the day with over 52 per cent of votes cast. Forty-eight per cent of the voters opted to remain.

There seems to be two old age subterranean ideological forces that seek to influence and shape the direction of not only the UK, and Europe, but to an extent our perception of international relations. These two camps are basically realism and idealism. While liberalism mainly favours globalisation and to an extent regional integration, idealism has always been more inclined towards the traditional international political system, based on state sovereignty, and modelled along the 1648 Peace of Westphalia treaty.

Although the UK's decision to quit the EU can be perceived as a symbol of general dissatisfaction with globalisation, the decision is merely a hiccup in the regional integration process.

The voting patterns in the concluded UK referendum proved this. A majority of voters in rural areas, reportedly overwhelmingly voted for an exit, as compared to most voters in cosmopolitan areas. For instance in London, over 62 per cent backed the need for closer ties with EU. This indicates that more people living in urban centres have a positive outlook at globalisation, compared to rural folks. This indicates that the future of regionalism on the continent is bright considering the increased rural-urban migration.

The role of urbanisation and youths in globalisation, in addition to the interconnected nature of the global financial system, will continue to make globalisation and its ramifications, such as regional integration a strong ideological base for explaining the dominance of liberal ideology in the study of international relations. As long as urbanisation continues to grow, and the global financial and trading systems continue to widen and deepen its tentacles to the remotest parts of the globe, more people, especially younger members of the population, will continue to share a common cultur

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