Britain will hold a referendum Thursday on whether the country will leave the European Union (EU), a process often referred to as “Brexit.” The referendum question is no more complicated than should the United Kingdom should “remain a member of the European Union” or “leave the European Union.” But the debate about the implications is more complex.
Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations and John Fonte of the Hudson Institute debated the issue in the latest American Interest.
Haas believes that from a US perspective the UK’s departure would not be beneficial because it would reduce what the UK could do internationally and that the US would see one of its greatest allies in a weakened state.
“U.S. influence in Europe would also suffer if Brexit were to happen. Washington and London do not always agree, but they tend to agree more than they disagree, and a Europe without Britain’s voice would likely become more distant and less inclined to work with the United States. Brexit would also leave the EU and Europe more broadly worse off. The project of European construction that began in the aftermath of World War II and that has done so much to ensure that Europe did not again become a venue of instability and violence would be further endangered,” contends Haass.
What Haass does not address, according to Fonte, is the central issue at the center of the debate – democratic self-government.
Fonte says regardless of whether Britain stays in the EU, its future and the future of Europe is uncertain. If Britain leaves, he believes their economy is strong enough to allow them to forge new trade and economic alliances.
“Britain, with the world’s fifth largest economy, will have plenty of opportunities to expand its GDP under Brexit. It could negotiate its own trade deals with China, India, Singapore, and the United States and represent itself within the WTO instead of being one voice among 28 on the EU team. Further, Britain would be free of the heavy burden of EU regulations. Even with this burden today, Britain’s economy is stronger than that of the Eurozone,” says Fonte.
What both agree on is that the vote represents a new era in geopolitics.
The Economist weighs in against leaving the EU.
The Wall Street Journal has a piece about the realization among Europeans that Britain could leave the EU.
Vox has some answers to questions about Brexit.
Diplomacy And Geopolitics In A Digital Age
In a wide-ranging (and lengthy) interview, Tom Fletcher, former UK Ambassador to Lebanon, discusses a range of issues, including how diplomacy has been impacted by digital technology and how the art of diplomacy will change in the world of Twitter and other social media platforms.
“I don’t think a smartphone is going to replace diplomacy, but it can adapt it hugely. It allows us to reach and influence people on a scale that we’ve never been able to before. But to do that, we have to be much more fleet-footed. I think we have to be much more focused on the outcomes and watch what we actually deliver, rather than the inputs we create, that is analysis and backroom policy-making. I think we have to get much, much better at cultivating our networks and less focused on hierarchy,” says Fletcher.
Fletcher is also the author of Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in a Digital Age.
In the first in a series of articles, Antonia Colibasanu, a geopolitics and strategic intelligence analyst and associate lecturer at the Academy of National Intelligence and the University of Bucharest in Romania, speaks about the evolution of the digital environment in geopolitics.
Local Law Enforcement Role In Fighting Terrorists
With local law enforcement playing a more active role along with the FBI, our chances of detecting and stopping the next Orlando should improve, argues Matt Mayer of the American Enterprise Institute.
“In the age of ISIS- directed, -enabled, and -inspired attacks against our homeland, the enemy is harder to find than ever before. We have limited opportunities to detect and disrupt him,” he writes.
What law enforcement needs above all else is the ability to adapt.
“It is not enough to maintain the status quo and hope for better results. Terrorists have evolved since September 11; our domestic national security efforts must also evolve. One key is the expanded use of HUMINT, which will help local law enforcement agencies combat those who seek to harm Americans,” he adds.