With the blogosphere and other media full of it, I have to temporarily abandon my current policy, of only referring readers to other people’s comments, and add my tuppence to the chatter.
To my mind Brexit is a watershed decision, deserving of comment and to be welcomed. Seeing the immediate fall in the value of the UK pound, not all those, myself included, in receipt of a monthly sterling pension cheque, will be transported by unadulterated delight. However, as an anxious student of international affairs, I can do nothing but express deep gratitude to the UK electorate – albeit, in the knowledge that the majority of “leave” voters will have voted for the wrong reasons.
The dissolution of the EU will have been greatly speeded up by this black swan event of a Brexit. The founders of the EU got it wrong. They had the opportunity to make the union not one of nation states, but, as advocated by Anthony Sampson, of multiple provinces – Wessex, Westphalia, Burgundy, Andalusia. etc. Under such an arrangement local democratic control could have been preserved, while a fully legitimised central authority was established.
It was not to be. Instead the EU became a conglomeration of nation states retaining all their historic baggage of national rivalry. The whole was so immense that it was completely beyond the comprehension of the individual voters and their local politicians, of which its ‘democracy’ was composed. Rather than fight endless national turf wars with their fellow members, the nations that composed the EU passed the whole clumsy edifice over to the control of civil servant ‘Eurocrats.’
Free of democratic oversight or visionary leadership, these civil servants did what any bureaucracy would do under such circumstances – set about increasing their power and importance, while avoiding difficult decisions. Thus Europe continued to expand both its ever more frustratingly complex legislation and its membership of increasingly dissimilar nation states. More importantly, lacking a core decision-making leadership of recognised legitimacy, it fell increasingly under the control of the parallel organisation NATO. This, possessed of a top-down, Pentagon controlled, unified chain of command, had no problems making and exerting huge pressure to ensure the implementation of American foreign policy decisions – even as to which new members should be able to enter the Union. Thus it has become the NATO chain of command, rather than an EU chain of command, which has come to control EU foreign policy.
Though the expansion of the EU into the former Warsaw Pact countries conforms entirely with USA, neo-con, policy objectives, it has worked to the detriment of EU cohesion. The destabilisation of the Ukraine and the subsequent imposition of sanctions against Russia, has worked entirely to the benefit of the USA’s uni-polar foreign policy objective and entirely to the detriment of the struggling EU economies. The same could be said of the installation of an anti-ballistic missile shield in Romania and later, Poland: it increases American security while gravely reducing that of European populations.
So what are the consequences of the British exit from the EU? Firstly, the EU will be rid of its most reluctant, and even treasonous, member. Britain’s traditional, major foreign policy priority has been to prevent the rise of any single dominant power on the European continent. It has always played off the European powers, one against the other. De Gaulle realised this when he so strongly opposed Britain’s’ early applications to join the Union. Though feeling obliged to join the Union through economic considerations, major elements of Britain’s foreign policy-making elite remained determined to spoil its further integration.
As a counter-weight to growing Eurocentric power, Britain allied itself ever more closely with the USA. When its traditional enemy, France, (so archaic are the dinosaurs of the British establishment in their thinking) developed its own nuclear force de frappe and Britain could no longer afford to do so independently, Britain made a secret agreement with the USA that, in exchange for Polaris/Trident, it would become forever, a vassal of the US: when the USA wanted to go to war, so too would Britain.(I accept that this is a controversial assertion, but I count among my friends a former head of intelligence for the UK’s Polaris fleet, who firmly believes this to be the case.)
Given its foreign policy priorities, Britain shares with the USA a major objective to ensure that there never should be a rapprochement between Germany and Russia. Thus Britain has become the US Defense Department and State Departments’ Trojan horse in Brussels. With Britain’s exit, the opportunity will return for the remaining EU nations to implement an EU-centric foreign policy. Either the remaining EU nations will find a way to go forward together under a renewed legitimacy (such as that advocated by DiEM25 https://diem25.org/manifesto-short-version/ ) or they will fall acrimoniously apart – but in either case the likelihood of war resulting from a NATO–Russian confrontation will be greatly reduced.
For what it is worth, this is my current best guess as to what will transpire should the outbreak of an American sponsored European war not intervene. The core EU nations of Germany and France, unable to contemplate a repeat of their participation in the last two European civil wars, will continue with a considerably modified EU, while their populations come to gradually accept an increasing integration. Other current EU members may continue to hang in there – but only on terms acceptable to the two major players. German industry will insist on the abandonment of a system whereby its trading is biased towards EU nations, of which too many struggle to pay for its products and in which its profits are used to subsidise the less viable economies of southern Europe.
In both Germany and France’s clear interest, is the development of the expanded, Eurasian landmass market to achieve its full potential. If there is to be a customs union, it should run from the South China Sea to the Atlantic coast of France. There is now, with the British exit from the EU and the consequent reduction in American influence, a real possibility that such a logical step forward will be enabled. The dangers of a US sponsored third world war will retreat in lockstep with the increase in Eurasian cooperation.
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