Well wishing and power fantasies cannot topple geopolitical realities and the fact that Washington will simply never let a Texit take place.
There is an interesting tendency in American political history that whenever there is some sort of crisis, one answer to it, especially from the Right, is some form of secession. The waves of Liberal triumphant ecstasy that Obama rode into the White House were scary enough to start discussions of leaving the Union from Ohio to Oregon. During the 1990s it was the scary militias of places like Michigan that were supposedly going to fight for some sort of breakaway from the tyranny of Clinton. None of this came to pass and the only semi-successful attempt to do something like this required the support of the entire political and economic elite of the South, with a very heavy economic dependence on a “peculiar institution” to even try. But for some reason this naive power fantasy of being able to simply break away from the evil grip of Washington, gaining everything, yet somehow losing nothing just will not die. And so, now there is discussion of an imminent “Texit”. This time though the strategy is going to use a long term bureaucratic roadmap and vastly more signatures, stamps and red tape in order to ultimately fail.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult for many people in Europe to see any benefits from the EU and a lot of downsides and costs, including the loss of freedom and sovereignty. From Bruce Antonio Laue at takimag.com:
It was just supposed to be a trading organization, a way to make commerce easier and in so doing build a sense of friendship and understanding on a war-ravaged Continent. In fact it was called “The Common Market.” But even after having joined (after years of being blocked from membership by President Charles de Gaulle of France), Britain had doubts.
For decades a parade of prime ministers implored the E.U. to halt its efforts for the closer integration of nations. Their entreaties fell on deaf ears. On came the E.U. flag, the E.U. anthem, rules and regulations on literally every facet of human life. Officials began talking about a “federation” of states, with a common foreign policy and army. And then came the common currency: the euro, a fraud of monumental proportions because it sought to replace national currencies that are based upon the economic realities of each nation with the illusion of fiscal strength based on “solidarity.” It is, in reality, deeply dishonest with a distinctly anti-American flavor. Ever suspicious of Continental combinations, the British looked on in anger. When they finally had their say, they wanted out.
Brexit sent shock waves throughout Europe because it was the beginning of the realization among Europeans that it didn’t have to be this way, life could be different and it was in their power to make it so.
In an interview following the referendum the very pro-E.U. French president was asked if he would hold a similar one for the French. “Non,” he replied. But why not? “Because we might lose.” That is the essence of E.U. strategy: If you think the people might vote against our policies, don’t hold the vote. So much for E.U. democracy.
The Brexit negotiations continue to highlight the weakness of the EU. From Martin Jay at strategic-culture.org:
Too many signs have shown us that the EU is in real trouble. The worst one possibly is that its own outdated idea about governance is replicated by a French leader facing defeat. What losers!
In practical terms, it is clear to see that the EU as a viable project is not only in a panic mode currently, but actually going backwards in its desire to model itself on a United States of Europe federal model. And there can be no better examples than Brexit negotiations, Covid and France’s current malaise.
At the eleventh hour we have seen how, despite Britain remaining steadfast to its demands at the negotiations for a departure from the European Union, the EU itself shoots itself in both feet and looks even to its own supporters to be a loser of the highest order. Last minute demands are thrown into the negotiations by France’s Macron who is fearful of his own presidency hopes being scuppered if he has to deal with the wrath of thousands of French fishermen who will be out of a living by January 1st – if Britain is to get back full control of her own waters. To counter this with new demands about how the UK, as a non-member of the EU, goes about its business internally is both hilarious and desperate. Of course as a non-member of the bloc the UK will have its own ideas about how government interacts with business and state aid rules. How did a desperate French president threw this into the negotiations at really the eleventh hour demonstrates how weak the EU is and when it is presented with important matters, how it plays the role of a cheap girlfriend to its real masters. The fact that France could be allowed to do this is shocking. But the truth is that Macron is not playing for a deal. He prefers a no deal which he can use as political capital for his own fishermen. And the EU almost fell for it. Clearly there are divisions within the EU as to how to go about getting a Brexit. Many member states, like Germany, for example, are happy to give back fishing rights to the UK in exchange for a Brexit deal. Doesn’t the EU have billions of euros at its disposal to compensate and retrain out of work citizens? Of course it does. Structural funds run into billions and there is no viable reason why the existing EU rules would not favour out of work French fisherman.
It appears that the UK will definitely slip through the EU’s fingers. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
It finally looks like the four-and-a-half-year saga of Brexit is coming to an ignominious end. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the final bluff of the incompetent bureaucrats in Brussels, walking away from trade talks while leaving the door open.
But that door is only open if the EU is willing to crawl in on its knees and give the UK what it wants, a minimal free trade deal, Canada-style, which was offered by then President of the European Council Donald Tusk.
The EU played hardball giving zero ground for four years while undermining the UK from within its own political and bureaucratic structures. It was as transparent as it was cynical, but it couldn’t sway the British people and that gave Johnson the political will to just say no.
And it was this hardball negotiating stance that had worked in the past finally broke like waves along the Cliffs of Dover. The reason why it failed was that arrogance was fueled by powerful forces having their back,
They believed in the power of coercion being stronger than the will of the British people.
And they were wrong. Dead wrong.
In an instant this past weekend the entire façade of he the EU’s inevitability vaporized as Johnson went on TV and told the world to prepare for a No-Deal Brexit, regardless of whether that was the optimal outcome or not.
It signaled to the rest of Europe that no longer do you have to take the diktats of a bunch of feckless, unelected technocrats if you don’t want to. And this failure to secure submission of the Brits will have immense consequences during this next election cycle in Europe.
Johnson’s spokesman said shortly afterwards that talks were now over and there was no point in the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier coming to London next week barring a change in approach.
“The trade talks are over: the EU have effectively ended them by saying that they do not want to change their negotiating position,” his spokesman said.
Johnson’s brinkmanship, which follows an EU demand that London make further concessions, may push Brexit towards disorder, though he still left open the possibility that the EU could reconsider and offer Britain a better deal.
“Unless there is a fundamental change of approach, we’re going to go for the Australia solution. And we should do it with great confidence,” he said.
In the same week Boris Johnson unveils new, very unpopular social distancing rules barring gatherings of more than six people, he puts the screws to the Scottish Nationalists who still think their support comes from their being arch-Remainers and not the contrary nature of most Scots.
In the same week that Boris Johnson sets an October 15th drop dead date for Brexit talks with the EU, President Donald Trump’s election chances rose to even for the first time this summer.
Now given all of that, it’s clear that Boris Johnson as Prime Minister is a decidedly mixed bag. His response to the Coronapocalypse has been an unmitigated disaster, bowing to political winds he should have never exposed himself to.
In doing so he’s squandered the significant goodwill his Brexit maneuvers of 2019 garnered him and the Conservative party. So, it’s obvious by now that his lack of managerial/organizational skill is what is undermining his government.
At the same time, however, Johnson’s handling of Brexit has been nothing short of excellent, the valid criticisms of the Withdrawal Act by Nigel Farage notwithstanding.
Johnson inherited a poison pill from Theresa May and in his zeal to fulfill a political promise agreed to a treaty with the EU that would bring his hardball negotiating stance to the current crossroads because of his compromises on the issue of Northern Ireland.
With the latest twist in the Brexit saga it looks like he and his negotiating team are ready to drive the final stake through the heart of them and the European Union with the Internal Market bill.
The Withdrawal Act’s validity and applicability to the future relationship between the EU and the U.K. is predicated on two things.
Both sides negotiating a Free Trade Agreement in good faith.
A free trade agreement is actually signed by the two parties.
If either of these things do not come to pass Section 38 of the Withdrawal Act upgrades the power of the U.K. government since it asserts the sovereignty of the U.K. parliament as a law-making body for the whole of the United Kingdom.
This includes Northern Ireland.
Johnson’s seeming sell-out of Northern Ireland with his agreeing to the Withdrawal Act was always predicated on there being a free trade deal struck between the EU and the U.K.
The elite want us to all to be Chicken Littles, which will make it easier for them to implement their deadly schemes. From Brendan O’Neill at spiked-online.com:
The elites want us to panic about Covid-19 – we must absolutely refuse to do so.
People’s refusal to panic has been a great source of frustration for the establishment in recent years. ‘The planet is burning’, they lie, in relation to climate change, and yet we do not weep or wail or even pay very much attention. ‘I want you to panic’, instructs the newest mouthpiece of green apocalypticism, Greta Thunberg, and yet most of us refuse to do so. A No Deal Brexit would unleash economic mayhem, racist pogroms and even a pandemic of super-gonorrhoea, they squealed, incessantly, like millenarian preachers balking at the imminent arrival of the lightning bolt of final judgement, and yet we didn’t flinch. We went to work. We went home. We still supported Brexit.
Our skittish elites have been so baffled, infuriated in fact, by our calm response to their hysterical warnings that they have invented pathologies to explain our unacceptable behaviour. The therapeutic language of ‘denialism’ is used to explain the masses’ refusal to fret over climate change. Environmentalists write articles on ‘the psychology of climate-change denial’, on ‘the self-deception and mass denial’ coursing through this society that refuses to flatter or engage with the hysteria of the eco-elites. Likewise, the refusal of voters to succumb to the dire, hollow warnings of the ferociously anti-Brexit wing of the establishment was interpreted by self-styled experts as a psychological disorder. ‘[This is] people taking action for essentially psychological reasons, irrespective of the economic cost’, said one professor.
If Brexit and the coronavirus end the EU, then some good will have come from the latter. From Alasdair Macleod at goldmoney.com:
The EU and euro face a sudden deterioration in economic conditions due to the coronavirus, which seems certain to widen the differences between Germany and the spendthrift Mediterranean members. But a more immediate problem is the increasing likelihood that the ECB will lose control over financial asset prices, particularly those of government bonds.
In the short-term, it seems likely the euro will rise against the dollar as currency and financial distortions, principally in the fx swap market, are unwound. However, the eurozone faces a developing financial crisis comprised of the following elements: a collapse in economic activity, escalating payment failures, a drastic contraction of bank credit and a collapse in bond prices, as well as the medium used to buy them (the euro).
Eventually, Germany is could go it alone by introducing a gold-backed mark, which will only happen after the European Project is finally abandoned.
Brexit came as a shock to the political bureaucracy that comprises the European Union. They had, and still have an ostrich-like stance with their heads in the sand and their rear ends exposed to passing dangers. Their economic incompetence has been exposed for all to see as well as their political ineptitude.
Arrogant oblivion is not a good substitute for common sense and receptivity to other points of view, both of which the EU has lacked for many years. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Yanis Varoufakis once described negotiating with the European Union like you’re singing the Swedish National Anthem. No matter what proposal you put in front of them, they acted like they didn’t understand and simply reiterated terms.
But, at least then they heard something. It may have been gibberish to them, but at least sound waves made it to their ears.
Today, these people are like overwhelmed autistic kids needing noise canceling headphones to blot out the unwanted stimuli. It may be therapeutic but it doesn’t solve the situation.
Now that Brexit is complete the EU has gone one step further, blocking out the very real strategic and tactical disadvantage they are in dealing with the United Kingdom in trade deal talks.
The arrogance and intractability of the EU when it comes to negotiations is supposed to be their biggest weapon. They project a strange combination of strength and indifference that can only come from people thoroughly insulated from personal accountability for their mistakes.
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