Brexit? Danes Have Seen This Show, and It Doesn’t End Well

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tags: European history, Brexit, Danish history

Britain’s shambolic efforts to leave the European Union have sometimes been likened to the Suez crisis in 1956, when a botched military intervention in Egypt underscored the limitations of post-imperial British power.

But in parts of Europe a different Brexit comparison is being made, and it is no more flattering.

In 1864, riding a wave of nationalism, another former colonial power, Denmark, became engulfed in a doomed military conflict against Prussian and Austrian forces, experiencing a crushing loss that led to the surrender of around a third of its territory.

Defeat brought the realization that Denmark was smaller and less powerful and had fewer allies than it had assumed, delivering a shattering blow to the national psyche.

Even for some observers from outside the European Union, the parallels with Britain’s current Brexit humiliations are striking.

“People find the analogy interesting,” said Arni Pall Arnason, the former leader of Iceland’s Social Democratic Party, “in particular because of Britain’s total lack of realistic analysis of where its power lies and what appears to be the hubris behind the feeling that you do not need to do your research on anything.

“Just like the Danes in 1864,” he said, “the Brits appear to have never analyzed the facts, just jumped off a cliff.”

Read entire article at NY Times

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