Monday, July 18, 2016

Stronger With Britain?

Russia won't benefit from Brexit unless the Europeans create chaos among themselves in reaction to Brexit.

I don't understand this Russian logic at all:

The single most important consequence of the vote, from Russia’s perspective, is the effective ban on any future expansion of the European Union. It would be politically impossible for the EU to expand further East when it is crumbling in the West.

I thought Britain was stronger in the powerful European Union, as the Remain side insisted? Is it really the case that the EU is only strong if Britain remains in it?

If the EU is not dead because of Britain's decision to leave (assuming the pro-EU elites don't nullify the vote), it continues to live. And if alive, it can grow.

And I'd think the EU would like growth to counter the image of shrinkage, to show that the EU still has appeal and is a club people want to be in rather than a club people want to avoid being hit by.

If the EU doesn't grow in the near future, it may just be that the EU is looking to Britain as an excuse for lack of growth rather than being caused by Britain's planned exit.

Heck, the excuse of Brexit might be the proverbial silver lining for Brussels when it comes to Turkey's aspirations to bring their tens of millions of Moslems into the border-less European Union. Brussels could turn down the application by claiming they must deal with Britain first.

And this is hard to fathom:

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to apologize to Russia for the downing of a Russian fighter-bomber is seen as the first fruit of a larger harvest to come. The British decision to leave the EU is seen as a major blow to the West as a cohesive political player; the beginning of the end of a unified Europe.

Turkey is apologizing because Europe--pre-Brexit--had no appetite to risk a war with Russia over Russia's Syria intervention. And NATO, too, was not eager for war.

Since the EU is not a cohesive or unified political player--yet--how is a setback to becoming that cohesive political player in the future something that would cause Turkey to mend fences with Russia right now?

I don't take the apology as a big deal signaling Turkey knuckling under to Russia. I take it as ratcheting down the risk of direct conflict. Turkey shot down a Russian plane and Turkey apologized for it quite a while later. Each took a hit to reputation.

This at least has the illusion of being right:

Almost every analyst in Russia, regardless of political conviction, noted that with Britain out of the decision making process, European politicians would have harder time keeping the sanctions regime in place.

Whether or not it is right, I will just ask how Britain was "stronger in Europe," as the Remain side claimed, when apparently Britain is the decisive voice within the vast European Union for doing anything at all to oppose Russia's invasion and dismemberment of a sovereign European state.

If the EU without Britain is ready to cave in to Russia, how strong is it? What kind of unified Europe does the EU want to build?

Of course, the word on the Interwebs in recent months was that the EU was wavering on sanctions even when Britain was in the EU firmly and expected to vote to remain in the referendum (and note that until they leave, the British are still in the EU).

Chaos in Europe could indeed help Russia. But that chaos is not caused by Britain's decision to leave the EU even as it wishes to trade with the bloc. No, chaos would be the result of the EU and the pro-EU elements in Britain creating chaos to punish the British people who voted to leave the EU.

Yeah, that circle of stars on the EU flag might just be a circular firing squad, as short-sighted and self-destructive as that attitude is.