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By Jason Michael
NO ONE IS SURPRISED that England’s first response to a no-deal Brexit situation on 1 January is a naked threat of military aggression. Closer coöperation between states and the wider European project since the end of the last global conflict have created the longest period of peace in western Europe in modern history, but Britain’s decision to leave the European Union was always laden with all the possibilities of a return to the gunboat diplomacy of the past; with its territorial protectionism, trade and economic competition, and its rapidly escalating arms races. It was hoped that England’s return to isolation would be a peaceful transition, but, as we now see, Britain has not grown out of its old imperial habits of bullying and intimidation.
Now bracing itself for the economic shock of a no-deal crash out of the EU on 1 January, the British government has announced it will be deploying the Royal Navy to ‘protect’ Britain’s seas – ‘1970s Cod Wars’-like – from any incursions made by European fishing vessels. We have discovered also that this was not a recent contingency, but something London has been planning for a while, to be ‘ready for every eventuality.’ This nonsensical show of force has little to do with the protection of fisheries. By leaving the European Single Market Britain has effectively signed the death warrant of its own fishing industry. This is nothing but a bombastic attempt to showcase Britain’s military might on the waves to stir up nationalist sentiment at home in order to distract attention from what is in fact a monumental blunder on the part of the Westminster regime.
The EU has kept the peace in western Europe since the end of World War II. England's first act on leaving is to thr… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) December 13, 2020
Yet, be that as it may – transparent as it is, it will have far reaching consequences for Britain diplomatically and for the British economy. No state can mobilise its military on its land or sea borders with its neighbours without this being read as hostility. How would the British tabloid press react, for example, to German or French naval forces patrolling their sea borders with the United Kingdom? They went into meltdown when Russia dispatched its northern fleet to the Mediterranean in October 2016 on a course which led it through the North Sea and the English Channel. In the world of international relations, no one likes their neighbours floating their big guns past their coast. It is a statement. It says something, and it never says something nice or comforting.
There is no need to start digging bomb shelters at the bottom of the garden. This is not, as some have suggested, going to lead to World War III. Regardless of its bloated opinion of its capabilities, Britain lacks the strength to wage a war against the EU. And – besides – states need friends and allies in order to kick off a global war. Having insulted just about every European member state and having backed the wrong horse in the US presidential election, little Britain is as it has always wanted to be – alone and absolutely friendless. Like the animals of
Manor Animal Farm, the ‘beasts of England’ will parade up and down their own yard to the amusement and ridicule of their former friends and allies. But this insane posturing will not be without consequence either, it will heighten tensions and make future negotiations with the hand that feeds it more difficult for little England after Brexit – and this will only hurt the people of England, Scotland, Wales, and the occupied counties of Ireland more.
🙄 Entirely unlike the idiotic Brits to bring a gun to the table. theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/d…—
Jason Michael (@Jeggit) December 13, 2020
Neither does this silly manoeuvre have no potential to create a real flashpoint. It does, and at Britain’s weakest and most vulnerable point – in the seas around Ireland. The Good Friday Agreement and the question of the Irish border isn’t limited to terra firma. No, ‘Ireland’ is the island of Ireland and the waters around that island, and Britain is bound to an international treaty to respect the integrity of Ireland. What can England’s navy do to Irish EU vessels fishing in Irish waters to which Britain lays claim? Can it aim its guns at these boats, fire warning shots over them, board them, inspect them, seize them, or otherwise harass them? Can it do any of this and not expect retaliation from the Irish government and from the Republican forces which bombed England to the negotiating table over the course of three decades until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. And does Britain imagine for a second that picking a fight with Ireland won’t involve much more significant fire power from Ireland’s allies in Europe?
The answer, as though anyone needed convincing, is no. The British navy can do none of this. It has neither the friends nor the hardware to go toe-to-toe with Europe on land or sea, and it knows perfectly well that a standoff with Ireland – a tiny country like Ireland – will ultimately lead to the humiliation of having to back down. Ultimately, the Royal Navy will swan out into the seas to look good for the British press, it will puff its chest and try its British best to look good. But in the end everyone knows it’s just a photo-op to stroke the egos of a bunch of lunatics in London who have exposed themselves to the whole world as an incompetent shower of gobshites.
Britain’s navy to protect waters in case of no-deal Brexit