JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THOUGHTS ON BREXIT – FORCES BEHIND IT – SOME PROSPECTS FOR BRITAIN, THE EU, AND THE UNITED STATES – BRITAIN HOPES TO PLAY ROBIN TO AMERICA’S BATMAN – EUROPE, WITHOUT BRITAIN’S STEADY PULL TOWARDS AMERICA, SHOULD LOOK EAST WHERE THE FUTURE REALLY LIES – AMERICA CANNOT FREE ITSELF FROM THE SELF-IMPOSED PRISON OF A MILITARY/SECURITY STATE CREATED FOR EMPIRE   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY GUILLAUME DUROCHER IN UNZ REVIEW

 

“Brexit Happening: Charles de Gaulle, Noted Anglo-Skeptic, Vindicated Beyond the Grave”

“In short, De Gaulle accused the British of being a kind of American Trojan Horse . . . and who could blame him?”

 

In that particular view, De Gaulle was ahead of his time for sure. He was a man with a number of deep insights, including his views on NATO, views which unfortunately Europe has drifted away from.

British membership represented a great strengthening of the EU. But that was never allowed to develop as fully as it should have. Britain’s classic island-bound xenophobia and feelings of special stature owing to its past world empire always were burrs under the saddle.

I believe Britain’s xenophobes and those who still regard Britain as special owing to its history plus a government thoughtless enough to hold a referendum on so complex a matter, David Cameron’s, are directly responsible for BREXIT. I do think Cameron was regretful about his own blundering. After all, it was the Conservatives, under Edward Heath, who struggled to get Britain admitted. And who wants a legacy of having destroyed something important?

In general, the powerful positive effects of a large economic union are things Conservatives tend to value highly. But the “small island” and “great empire” attitudes and feelings always were in conflict with the economic vision.

Europe’s relative decline in the world’s economy – owing largely to the same causes as America’s relative decline, the strong emergence of new competitors – undoubtedly has encouraged Britain’s establishment to want to leave. The EU’s tendency to create elaborate regulations in many aspects of society also has very much played a role. It is an odd tendency given the EU’s lack of cohesiveness in many matters, such as the Euro. Perhaps in part, regulation represents a kind of substitute or ersatz unity.

I’m sure the Conservatives in Britain were quietly encouraged every step of the way by American officials with visions of “the special relationship” coming to a new prominence in the world. Some people in Britain are inordinately and foolishly proud of that ”relationship,” which in reality means little beyond American insider influence, something now likely to much increase as Britain seeks new trade arrangements and a new role in the world, in both of which America must feature large.

America’s own vision of itself has changed over forty years, and all pieces on the gameboard are now used somewhat differently than they were. America, recognizing its own relative decline, is now a decidedly more desperate and aggressive imperial power. And that reality, unfortunately, is what Britain is hitching itself up to. Conservatives in Britain likely view themselves as having a new world importance teamed up with America, but their ability to influence the team will be close to non-existent. They will have traded disliked EU regulation for America’s shameless and destructive bullying, as it now descends literally to terrorizing states it regards as opponents.

Of course, Britain has its own share of bullies, and indeed, it now is led by one. They are the people who see a new role for Britain in the world alongside the United States, playing Robin to America’s Batman.

America is on a tear worldwide to do whatever it can to bolster its imperial status and stop its relative economic decline. It has become frenetic at the effort. And dangerous.

So, Britain’s leaving the EU has, forty years later, become something De Gaulle feared. BREXIT does seem to open a path for other European states with fears and insecurities to launch “leave” movements. The EU is much weakened at a time it needs to be strengthened, and America’s establishment can only try hiding its smile.

The EU always has had the potential to rival and outshine America, but the EU has weakened itself over time by admitting too many countries, and certainly too many of limited economic consequence. There were a few too many visionary views of what the EU could be as it expanded and not enough practical ones.

After all, that’s what NATO is really about, keeping Europe effectively occupied and tied up with many obligations not in its own long-term interest, including obligations to buy American products and support American schemes in other parts of the world.

And the Europeans have for various reasons – from old WWII sentiments to Russo-phobia in former Eastern Bloc states – obligingly gone along. Europe still has some illusions about America, although Trump is certainly working hard to snuff them out. America’s narrow selfishness is entering Europe’s consciousness now, at least in the old and stronger parts of the EU. Some now see what De Gaulle saw.

Divide and conquer is always a principle used by empires abroad.

‘Anyway, Britain’s departure from the European Union opens the way for the Continentals to try, a bit more earnestly, to create a truly sovereign and independent “European Europe.”’

That is an encouraging thought, but there are so many things working against it, and those things certainly include the United States, which never wants to see a united, strong European state emerge as a competitor.

But I think the loss of Britain does represent at least one clear gain for Europe. It now should become easier for Europe to direct more attention towards Russia and China and Eurasia in general, and that is where the future lies.

The United States cannot realistically escape the prison it has constructed for itself with its massive military/security state required for empire, and that prison makes a far more unhappy place than Europe’s regulations.

There is too, unquestionably, a kind of smallness in the American vision to which Britain is attaching itself – ethical, moral, and inspirational smallness – and over the long term, small visions have no power.

ADDED NOTE REGARDING A STRONG STATEMENT MADE BY THE EU’S CHIEF NEGOTIATOR

“EU warns Boris Johnson that trying to use threat of US trade deal in ‘bidding war’ after Brexit will fail”
‘Michel Barnier [EU’s chief negotiator] also suggests UK will never earn the same ‘respect’ from US and China outside EU”

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-us-trade-deal-brexit-trump-eu-michael-barnier-a9302571.htmlhttps://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-us-trade-deal-brexit-trump-eu-michael-barnier-a9302571.html

Michel Barnier’s statement is close to perfect.

I like his “plans for 10 negotiating tables for the huge task ahead,” the fact that ‘border checks on goods will “become the norm” after Brexit,’ and that ‘a no-deal Brexit remained a “risk” at the end of 2020.’

Johnson and some of his gang may well have had intentions here.

After all, Johnson, like Trump, has the personality of a bully, just expressed in the tones of an Eton accent.

Who knows, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. The EU might look a little more attractive after some grueling negotiations and no special gains.

Readers may enjoy some earlier thoughts on the subject:

https://chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2019/11/03/john-chuckman-comment-the-great-often-unseen-danger-of-brexit-a-comprehensive-trade-deal-with-trumps-america-that-would-destroy-many-aspects-of-british-society/

Posted January 26, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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