The Brexit Thorn And The European Wound
European Defence Politics in a post-Brexit Setting
Date : 14/10/2020
The 23rd of June 2016, despite the arguments of several political and economic experts, launched a new era of British navigation outside the boundaries of European integration (De Vries, 2018). The German Chancellor Angela Merkel clarified that There is no doubt that this is a blow to Europe and to the European unification process ( World reaction as UK votes to leave EU , 2016, para.3), and the discourse on European defence and security obtained a strange complexity. But, what is the meaning of Brexit, regarding the future of European defense and security? The present text aims to discuss the two sided coin of security concerns that the Brexit legacy bequeathed to the present European security discourses.The tangible military problem that occurs from a holistic Brexit is the British military dynamics per se. The United Kingdom (UK) is currently a powerful military actor in a global scale. Britain constitutes of a unit that spends 2% GDP on defense (U.K Ministry of Defense, 2019), while belonging to the five official nuclear weapon countries (Koenig, 2016). The European common defence structure is wounded by the potential loss of a leading player that had a crucial role in the sanctions against Russia and Iraq ( Letters: At a time of global instability, Britain needs to stand united with its EU allies , 2016), as well as a unit that was holding the E.U s level of military dynamics in the second position behind the United States (Koenig, 2016). Thus, the European un ion (E.U) lost a potential leader in the integrative security frontiers, while earning a potential competitor (Momtaz, 2019). Moreover, the new-born American isolationism, following the election of President Trump, is a contradicting dynamic with the European defense structure, which according to the European Commission is based on the milestone of NATO (Nadibaidze, 2019). Hence, the current alienation of the U.S President s agenda is salt in the post-Brexit uncertainty s wound. The other side of the security coin is the normative obstacles. The central message behind the Eurosceptic agenda in the U.K was the national-interest self-help oriented demand of we will get our country back, we will get our independence back and we will get our borders back (Peck, 2016, para.3). The global projection of the U.K as an independent and sovereign actor is not only a communication obstacle but mainly a concern of trust. In an integration-based project, the idea behind an absolute self-help security policy is a generator of suspicion. Therefore, since the European interest is no longer part of the U.K priorities, the non-institutionalized collaboration is unstable and trapped under the ice of unilateral security planning, national interest, and further dis-integration (Hen kl, 2018).To sum up, even though the U.K is likely to keep cooperating with other EU countries (U.K Department for Exiting the E.U, 2017), without the institutionalised legitimacy, the E.U is excluded from the British agendas of interoperability, facing also a necessity to act based on the American isolationism and the possibly contradicting British national interest. Wounds leave scars, but in the Wester philosophical tradition, what does not kill us, makes us stronger (Nietzsche, 1888, ). Therefore, the practical and normative obstacles can be also interpreted as a unique chance for planning a multilateral defence landscape and mainly for developing common political will.
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