America is woke to Brexit

The United States has finally woken up to Brexit — and it doesn’t like what it sees.

In Europe, Brexit has dragged on for so long that even U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has warned there’s a chance it might never happen.

But on the other side of the Atlantic, where there are more immediate political obsessions, the suddenly real possibility Britain could crash out of the European Union and put a dent in the global economy, has finally made folks notice: Brexit is a thing.

“Like everything,” said a senior Senate foreign policy aide, “you start to pay attention when you finally get close to crisis. And we’re finally starting to get close to crisis. So people are now paying attention more.”

Indeed, Britain is less than 100 days away from its scheduled EU exit on March 29, but has still not finalized a plan for how to pull off its departure after two-and-a-half years of debate. The looming disarray of a no-deal Brexit has unsettled U.S. policymakers and industry leaders who are inextricably linked with their U.K. counterparts on issues as diverse as tracking terrorists, shuttling Facebook data across the Atlantic and making a pitstop at London’s Heathrow airport.

Demonstrators for and against Brexit protest opposite the Houses of Parliament in London on December 5, 2018 | Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

“People are listening, the problem is no one here really knows what the hell to do,” the aide continued. “The Brits don’t know what to do, so how can we possibly contribute to it? People are interested. They are following. But they are not entirely sure yet where to lean in.

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