Will the Mad King ever come to his senses?
by Kenneth Mathieu
Obviously, the rising economic powers are above all competitive partners, the Cold War is well and truly over and there is no debate in the need of every nation to develop extensive political and economical ties with one another in an increasingly interdependent and multi-polar world. It is nevertheless no secret that Xi Jinping’s China no less than Vladimir Putin’s Russia take full advantage of the divisions among EU member states, the absence of a common European-wide energy policy strategy or even coordinated positions on major geopolitical issues. Acting like a « lone ranger » in the new international security environment leads more than ever to the European Union being a political dwarf and on a wider scale results in the declining primacy of the western world. As the second military power of the European continent, the United Kingdom should be aware of the dangers of a unilateral business-based strategy with irresponsible stakeholders as demonstrated in the Ukrainian crisis. On the top of that, the country’s lengthy absence from the negotiating table with Moscow is particularly revealing of its loss of influence on the international stage. It would be worth learning from the Franco-German leadership in this respect.
« It’s the economy, stupid !» one might argue referring to the famous slogan of the 1992 US presidential campaign. Well, that is certainly no longer the case at least regarding the international relations of these last couple of years. On the 2015 geopolitical chessboard, the United Kingdom must recognize the importance of strategic and defensive alliances in the face of powers ready to use force and coercion against their close neighbors to achieve their political ends. The need for a higher degree of solidarity between EU Member States should definitely prevail over a China constantly expanding into African and Eurasian natural resources markets and a Russia that is prepared to pay the price of war and blood to recover its former sphere of influence.
To survive in this ever-changing world, the continent should take ambitious and decisive actions with sustained support of a United Kingdom as a global European player and not a unilateral actor. This does not mean, of course, we are ready for the establishment of a European army as suggested by the incumbent President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. We are bound to rule out the rising of a federal government in Europe, it would be unrealistic to expect such from secular nation-states. But at the time of the Ukrainian events, it would be all the more relevant to build a significant hard power with the gradual use of synergies between member states, though respectful of state sovereignty. The inadequate involvement of the United Kingdom to the European peacekeeping operations and their veto over of the creation of an EU Operational Military Headquarters in July 2013 are among several unnecessary obstacles to this fundamental asset that is military force. The United Kingdom can only reduce its economic dependency and become a major power of the 21st century by endorsing a genuine strategic autonomy for the whole European Union. The denial of any structured common policy towards the emerging powers would be a major strategic error for the country’s future. Only a concerted leadership between the latter and the Weimar Triangle could lay the foundation of an efficient and balanced partnership with the United States for global stability and security. It is high time for the king to come to his senses and release the princess, he would realize she can bring him much more happiness than the dragons’ treasures.
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