While it is always interesting to be a fly on the wall, it is also interesting to try to understand what is happening and how plans nicely laid can go astray. Of course, I’m referring to Brexit to which we in the Antipodes are as much flies on the wall as the world was for the moon landing and Neil Armstrong’s enormous achievement. Nevertheless, we need to remember that the Apollo 11 project was a complete success. Brexit, on the other hand, is as much an experiment in the making as the moon landing was before blast-off.
Bearing that in mind, I noticed that Theresa May is returning to Brussels this week, bowl in hand, hoping that those ever so reasonable Europeans will add a little more bread to gruel or a little more gruel to the bread. Unfortunately, a recent BBC documentary on the run-up to the Brexit referendum, entitled Inside Europe (it’s a YouTube link) is reported as having lifted the lid on European bullying during the negotiations. François Holland, then President of France is reported as explaining to David Cameron, the British PM, that “if he got a special deal for the UK… then other countries under populist pressure would try to organise their own referendums.”
Notice how the elite of France contemptuously refers to the demands of the citizens for change as populist. The consent of the governed suddenly becomes ‘populist pressure.’ He might well have said, as Marie Antoinette once did ‘Let them eat cake.’ She, of course, became a head shorter as a result; pretty much what the yellow vests in France are trying to do to their current elitist boy-King, Emmanuel Macron.
“Brexit is war and the EU is the Enemy” the headline of one English journalist’s analysis declared.
The greatest danger to Brexit that lurks in the European Union, one which no one has yet commented, is its demand for an army of its own, one to replace NATO. A fully armed European Army would be nuclear because France is already nuclear. The real question, however, would be, “Who is the enemy, now and who will be the enemy in the future?”
Russia is really not a threat to the EU at all, now. It can barely afford the price of diesel for its tanks, and its supposed threat to the Baltic States evaporated when NATO threatened to move a few troops into the area. The EU Army is never likely to deploy to the Middle East or Africa where it would have to compete with UN peacekeepers who are usually chosen because of a related genealogy.
Bear in mind, that the US is still a part of NATO which tends to mean that it calls most of the military shots (he who pays the piper and so on). But what will happen if the US pulls out of NATO which would then be replaced by a European Army? What would be the command structure? Who would be the Commander in Chief of the Federation army, an army bound together and unified by Brussels red tape, (stronger than blood and iron). Would Germany let France command or would it insist on a committee of France and Germany, Angela Merkel and Mini-me Macron?
All of the foregoing, simply helps to bring the future into focus and we can now see that the newly formed European Army would not be sent to danger zones, would not have to resist USSR “Russia. No, it would be deployed in defence of the ideals of the European Union. (Did I say Union? Do not agree so readily. It is a socialist federation that espouses the single, universal homogeneous State as its only object – world domination, in other words). Would it protect an EU member state from an attack by another member state? .Of course!
But would an EU Army step in to solve a civil war within an EU member State? Now that is a hard one.
“Mais ou,” dit Monsieur Le President.
“Aber, vas sort of civil war, could ever happen in glücklichen Never Land?” sagte der Chancellor.
Well, say a member state wanted to leave, voted to leave, and an elite within that member state did everything it could to frustrate the majority who wanted to leave and when that didn’t work, usurped the power to prevent leaving? That could and probably would cause something like a revolution to occur; a civil war, even; albeit, in a peace-loving nation, it would be a pretty tame civil war.
Still, I can well imagine the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker seeing a challenge to law and order in the UK, ordering the EU Army across the Channel to seize control of the Parliament. The German contingent would jump at the change but would need to get a good start to beat the French.
The wounds to European pride from Albion are old and deep and have never healed. Given half a chance, a European Army would like nothing better than to subdue an anti-EU insurrection in a member state with the long term goal of eventually restoring the rule of law – the law made in Brussels that is.
David Long is a retired solicitor, economist and PhD candidate at Griffith University, School of Law.
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