#Brexit and the rise of Russia

“Stay in the EU and there’ll be an EU army” was yet another Leave lie. But EU cooperation on defence is of course essential. Its eastern frontier is now directly challenged by a crazy dictator, launching cyberattacks on government website and taking chunks of neighbours’ territory.

The UK offered the best intelligence and the joint largest military response to this threat to our allies, to which the EU brought democracy in the 1990s and 2000s.

Not only is the UK now on course to split from the EU, creating practical difficulties to cooperation to counter this obvious threat, but it is also on course to fall apart itself – something Russia knows all about but will thoroughly enjoy for all kinds of reasons.

Giving prominence to crazy dictators is not a very wise move in the current, uncertain world. Of course, the UK may soon effectively have one of its own.

The people misspoke last month.

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3 thoughts on “#Brexit and the rise of Russia

  1. Ian, I agree with a lot of what you say, and especially your attachment to the European Project, but not your comments on Putin and European Defence. Putin is clever, ambitious, very dangerous and vengeful, but he is not crazy and thinking of him in those terms is unwise. More importantly, you should not try to eat your cake and have it on defence. If there is not going to be an EU Defence Force, why do we need the EU for defence? The defence of Europe is currently entirely dependent on NATO, not the EU. There is a real problem that none of the EU countries, with the partial exceptions of France and the UK, have made any serious efforts to defend themselves, and it is true that the US is increasingly frustrated by this irresponsible dependency by the EU on US taxpayers and military forces. It is also true that the US has given clear indications that whoever is elected President, there will a mood for reducing the US practical commitment, and Europe will therefore be more vulnerable, if it does not step up to the mark with massive increases in defence spending and commitment. This leaves three options; either Europe still refuses to defend itself and there will one day be a disaster; or European partners in NATO (including of course the key front line non-EU state and NATO member, Turkey) will take more responsibility, but this has nothing to do with the EU; or the EU, which has until now shown no capacity whatever, will develop an EU Defence force. So either the EU is not necessary because NATO is the key instrument, or the EU is necessary, in which case it has to develop a military capacity. You cannot have it both ways – that the EU is key for defence, but it will not be developing an EU Defence Force.

    • But I think you have made the point – what hope is there of the EU taking seriously the need to invest in defending itself if the one member state which does leaves? And what hope is there in the UK being able to defend itself if it walks away from 27 major allies, creating resentment (and potentially more withdrawals) as it does?

      A divided house cannot stand.

  2. The Listener says:

    The kernel of our defence is NATO. An attack against one member is an attack against all. Not all of the EU members, including the Republic of Ireland, are members of NATO. NATO includes the U.S.A. To diminish the involvement of the U.S.A. and for that matter Canada, could lead to the encouragement of isolationism in North America and European Defence would be diminished, not least by an isolationist U.S.A. not sharing intelligence. With an expanded EU, the more wealthy nations of the EU would have to increase defence expenditure so as to stiffen up the inadequacy of others.

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