Just two days from the possibility that Britain will crash out of the European Union (EU) with no deal to replace European customs and trade agreements, it appears that the EU will grant the United Kingdom a delay.
European officials have reportedly agreed to a delay, but not without conditions and it remains to be seen how much more time British officials will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
According to the latest draft conclusions Wednesday, Britain would have to act “in a constructive and responsible manner throughout this unique period” of extended withdrawal, and would have to show “sincere cooperation.” It would have to act in “a manner that reflects its situation as a withdrawing member state.”
In Berlin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the EU has “expectations” of Britain so that EU institutions can continue functioning “seamlessly.”
In other words, European leaders are afraid that Britain will use its continued membership in the union to obstruct the union's business in some way. They're particularly concerned that Theresa May could be replaced by someone worse.
The so-called "Brexit" could be delayed for several months or even a year, but however long the delay is will not change the fundamental fact that leaving the European Union is a very bad idea that will harm Britain more than the union.
For some of same reasons that there's end in sight to Trump's global trade war, it's just not as easy to have your cake and eat it too as conservative nationalists would have you believe.
That is to say there's no magical deal that will seamlessly replace Britain's membership in the European Union while preserving all the things they took for granted when they voted to leave the union. Issues that could not be resolved over the past two years, such as how to keep the Irish border open, are not going to be resolved in three months or even another year.
The international systems of trade, diplomacy, and cooperation that were established after the second world war were established for very good reasons. Liberal democracy, as it turns out, was a pretty good idea.