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GEOPOLITICAL BULLETIN

APRIL 2016

IMPLICATIONS FOR ANGLO-AMERICAN RELATIONS; CAN NATIONS BE FRIENDS?; THE VIEW FROM THE EU'S NEWEST MEMBERS

 

 

BREXIT


Newnations since 2000, has been offering observations about the geopolitics of world events. As a UK based enterprise, it is alarming to us that it is our home country which after 43 years of membership, is now at the centre of this self-induced crisis of potentially quitting the European Union. We analyse in this issue three important aspects of the present situation, due to be resolved by referendum on June 23d. Peter Crisell looks at the effect on the United Kingdom itself, as well as on our other alliances, particularly that with the USA.

Clive Lindley considers the question of whether nations can be friends, and how such relationships might fare for the UK, in the changed circumstances looked for by proponents of EU withdrawal. After that, will we have any friends internationally?

Then we look with Sara Bielecki, at the effects of Brexit on the EU’s newest members in Eastern Europe. Many of these having escaped Russian domination in 1991, are seriously apprehensive about how a British withdrawal from the European project, would be interpreted by a resurgent Moscow.

We do not fail to allocate blame within the UK for this tabloid-induced over-reaction, not only to the westwards migration of war refugees from the south and east, as seen on TV.  That in truth has hardly touched us. But this has been encouraged to converge in the public consciousness, by the tabloid media and the Brexiters, with those EU citizens who by treaty right come to UK to work or live, just as after 43 years, between one and two million Brits now work or reside in Europe.


Clive Lindley - Publisher/Editor


IMPLICATIONS FOR ANGLO-AMERICAN RELATIONS

Britain is one of 28 countries that belong to the European Union (EU). The EU operates a single market which allows free movement of goods, capital, services and people between member states. With a population of more than 507 million, the economy of the EU generates a GDP of around €14.303 trillion, according to the International Monetary Fund. If this were the economy of a single country, it would be the largest in the world. The EU’s economic goals are underpinned by a set of founding principles shared by its members:- liberty, democracy, a respect for human rights and the rule of law. On June 23rd a referendum will be held in Britain to decide whether it should continue to be a member of the EU. If Britain decides to leave, there will be considerable repercussions not only for itself and the EU, but in its relations with the United States and other countries around the world. But why would Britain want to leave in the first place?

To those unfamiliar with the British mentality, a decision to leave the EU would seem to be very strange indeed. It is true that the EU currently faces the almost intractable problems of the Eurozone’s euro currency and the migration crisis, but Britain is not a member of the Eurozone and the migration crisis would not disappear with Britain’s departure from the EU. Even though the benefits of membership are often taken for granted and quickly overlooked, Britain’s economy and culture have benefited hugely from membership of the EU. And it fully subscribes to its founding principles.

The fact is, however, that Britain has long been ambivalent about Europe.  [
continues...]


CAN NATIONS BE FRIENDS?

“America has no permanent friends or enemies…only interests.” Henry Kissinger.

The referendum asking whether the UK should leave the EU, if it were to result in ‘Exit,’ would justifiably be seen by the other nations of the EU and doubtless many others, as a great mischief, causing a quite unnecessary crisis and as a result, probably leaving this nation at that point, friendless in the world.

It is clear that the subject of this referendum is not a British inspired initiative, but an English one.

It was not due to British pressure to test the waters, but to English politicians, in particular English nationalists in the worst sense of that word, being a sizeable segment of the Conservative Party, made up for the most part of old imperialists and new careerists. Plus the tabloid fodder of the press, playing on all the prejudices that give the nation a certain reputation of being, at heart, racist.

Such a UK would most likely not long remain a ‘United’ Kingdom. The dominant politicians in Scotland have made it very clear that they would, in such circumstances, seek to dissolve the UK by leaving the Union, to negotiate their own national membership of the EU. (The Queen is also and separately the Queen of the Kingdom of Scotland).

That separation between England and Scotland, the two biggest players in the present UK would add to the rancour in these islands, particularly since the Brexiters have had it made clear to them, that any short term ballot success for them, would spell ruin for the structure of the United Kingdom. But for all their patriotic posturing, that has not been enough to deter them from pursuing their absurd, alarmingly disruptive English nationalism, over and above a UK loyalty.

The distinction (for our non-British readers), is that England is easily the largest of the four ‘home’ nations, which include Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, incidentally served by different newspapers, TV and radio and unsurprisingly with a range of different attitudes.

Thus it would be England, together with a wavering Wales and the British enclave in northern Ireland, that would in the absence of a UK, need to represent itself to the world under a new name.

It becomes inevitable that a vote to quit the EU becomes in these circumstances, a vote to break up the United Kingdom.  [
continues...]


THE VIEW FROM THE EU'S NEWEST MEMBERS

The prospect of a Brexit seems to solicit at best indifference from some of Europe's newest members and at worst, mute panic. The referendum to be held on June 23 will see Britons vote, as per the pledge of Prime Minister David Cameron upon his election, as to whether to stay in a union with which Britain has had a somewhat turbulent relationship. Concerns among fellow EU members about the effects of a British exit, spring from a variety of sources and for a variety of reasons.

There are fears about how the move would impact European security, given the resurgence in Russian militarism on Europe's eastern flank, observed in recent years over the course of the crisis in Crimea and Ukraine. There are economic concerns about a drop in trade, as Britain would look to other markets, and about the withdrawal of the €5 billion the UK contributes each year to the union’s coffers, which, in 2014, represented 19% of total net contributions to the EU budget. There are also pressing concerns about the fate of immigrants who have legally travelled to the UK over the past ten years to find jobs, many of which now have them.

Much anxiety has been generated around the idea that a British departure might precipitate a wholesale unravelling of the union, leaving the entire European project, one based on the possibility of reaching convergence and consensus, in a precarious and debilitated state. What these factors mean to each EU member state differs in accordance with the level of trade ties, the number of migrant workers in Britain, their own geographical proximity to Russia, and the political character of the government in power. Nonetheless there are some strong patterns that can be identified.  [
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