EU helped create oasis of peace. How crazy then to quit

by Hugo Dixon | 24.11.2017

Look around the EU and there’s danger everywhere.

Vladimir Putin meddling in our referendum. Ukraine frozen in a civil war stoked by Russia. Turkey abandoning democracy under an authoritarian president. Syria in the grip of a bloody dictator, supported by the Kremlin. Libya embroiled in its own civil war. Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria. All troubled. The so-called Islamic State may have lost most of its territory but its evil ideology is seeping across the wider region and killing people here in Britain.

By contrast, the EU is an oasis. Draw a circle around London and there’s 1,000 miles of peace and prosperity in every direction.

Africa’s population is expected to double to 2.5 billion by 2050. Tens of millions will be on the move, driven from their homes by war, oppression, climate change and poverty. Many will try to come to Europe. People traffickers will get rich on their misery. This is the migration crisis of the present and future – not free movement of European citizens within the EU. We can’t just opt out by pulling up the drawbridge.

Look across the Atlantic. Many Brits used to think they could rely on America to ride to our aid. The whole geopolitical basis for Brexit was to burn our bridges with Europe and cosy up to Washington. How foolish is that with Donald Trump in the White House. He might not even have got there without Putin’s help. In less than a year as president, Trump has destabilised our world: calling Nato obsolete, backing out of the climate change pact and threatening to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.

Even further afield, President Xi Jinping is tightening his grip on power as China continues to grow. His goal is to advance both his personal power and his country’s – not do anybody else any favours. He only respects power. And the UK, for all our many admirable qualities, is not in the big boy’s game unless we club together with countries that share our interests and values. There happen to be 27 of them right on our doorstep.

These facts are gradually dawning on our prime minister. That’s why today she is telling other European leaders at a summit that we must be “open-eyed to the actions of hostile states like Russia which… attempt to tear our collective strength apart.” She’s talking about the “crucial importance of the European countries working together to protect our shared values and ideals” and saying “we are unconditionally committed to maintaining Europe’s security.”

It’s better to understand the facts of geopolitics later than never. But why, oh why, are we planning to quit the EU?

Blithe Brexiters talk as if we can cooperate with the EU on foreign policy, counter-terrorism and security just as well from outside the club as from within. But, as ever, they haven’t thought through the detail.

Yes, we will probably be able to work together on fighting terrorism and keeping our people safe – so long as we don’t poison relations by leaving the EU without settling our debts. But the best we can expect is for our home secretary to have observer status when the other justice ministers sit down and decide how to tackle an ever changing threat. That’s taking back control?

And yes, we may be able to coordinate foreign policy initiatives with the EU. But it’s unlikely we’ll even be in the room when the other countries decide what to do, let alone have a vote. We’ll be like somebody putting their ear to a keyhole to hear what’s being said behind closed doors. That’s taking back control?

So Theresa May is right to warn against Russia tearing apart our collective might. But what a crying shame that she’s then implementing a Brexit that will do precisely that.

It’s not too late to stop this mad escapade. Let’s strain every sinew to fight Brexit while there’s still time.

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Edited by Luke Lythgoe

8 Responses to “EU helped create oasis of peace. How crazy then to quit”

  • In a way you are right however that peaceful coexistence isn’t exactly true is it.
    Ireland still has republican issues
    Spain has Catalonia
    Sweden has a huge bombing, shooting and stabbing probelem
    The Baltic’s have a Russia problem
    Greece has a turkey problem
    The whole of Europe has a UK problem
    And then there is the migrant problem,

  • I treasure the EU (unarmed) peacekeeping monitoring missions. I dread a Brexit leaving behind a (relatively) peaceful EU with the UK busily selling arms to every repressive regime in the wider world.

  • I cannot find a scrap of positivity about Brexit , every aspect of leaving is a negative. Already the downside is there for all to see (if they want to) it’s not just the thousands of jobs we are losing , it’s all the business in immediate area’s around the premises that will miss out ,taxi firms ,shops ,pubs, restaurants,take a ways ,cinemas etc, and the auxiliary jobs that go hand in hand with these businesses. This wasn’t written on the side of that fxxxxxg bus!!

  • Much surmise about the just-in-time delivery system! In industry management must plan on the basis of reliability in the supply network. Do not be surprised then if UK expertise with aircraft wings, precision lead screws, air fuel pumps, avionics and engines leaves the UK. And similarly for the automotive industry. Brexiters are sacrificing the material resources of British prosperity on the altar of a narrow nationalistic English vision of a world that they would like to make their own creation. We must not allow ourselves to become the gadarene swine of the Brexiters leading us to the cliff edge. And no more bridges for a just-in-time delivery!

  • I’m not in agreement with Pounce and it would be helpful to know his/her sources. For example the ‘huge shooting, bombing and stabbing probelem (sic) ‘ alleged in his/her comment is demonstrably untrue and comes from erroneous tweets issued by President Trump. The historic Irish problem has been much pacified as a result of the Good Friday agreement which had enormous EU support, hence the concern mow being shown by the Irish government that there should be no new border. The Catalans are peaceful nationalists with none of the bombing etc, and their historic claims to nationhood need addressing by the Spanish state. The Baltic Republics do have threats from Russia – does Pounce think these would get less if Europe were not united? Greece and Turkey don’t seem to be at war from were I stand. As for the migrant issue have you read the article where it clearly states that this is a problem for all Europe, best addressed by united action. As for the Brits, yes, I agree, all Europe has had to put up with our boorish newspapers and ridiculous negotiating tactics but that’s not really the fault of the EU is it my friend Pounce. We need to look at ourselves and maybe you could rethink your post.

  • But Pounce, the fact that Greece has a problem with Turkey and the Baltic with Russia just bears out the point the article is making. Issues within individual states would exist with or without the EU.

  • EU interference in the Ukraine, is what started the fighting there. As you may remember, Russia’s had Germany invade her twice last century, so has built buffer states around herself. The EU’s aggressive expansionist policies “From the Atlantic to the Urals” destabilised the region.
    The EU, as sold to the UK back when we were a union-run basket-case, in 1975, was a the European Economic Community, not as a mega-state.
    The trade aspects are fine, thus remaining as European Economic Area members & applying to join the European Free Trade Area, is the best way forwards.
    That extracts us from 75% of the Acquis, removes the politicised ECJ from overruling our courts, means we won’t be asked to pay billions more, when (& it is when) the poorer EU countries go bust again, won’t be shoved into “Associate Membership”, when we refuse to join the Eurozone.
    It also keeps us within the Customs Union & Single Market, thus at a stroke, removes the Irish border problem, the trade problems & most of the short term costs of leaving.
    Peace in Europe, has been more to do with NATO, the French wish to form a European Army instead.
    Pounce, Sweden’s problems are due to Islamic migrants, bringing their medieval religious & social practices with them.