By Theodore Shoebat
Brexit has just been formerly passed. For the next eleven months, Britain will be in a transition period during which she will be under EU rules for trade, travel and business. This eleven month period is going to be full of talk about negotiations on trade. And while the focus is going to be on the UK’s and the EU’s economies, another thing that is taking place as a result of Brexit is German empowerment.
The head of the German Federal Government’s Press and Information Office, Steffen Seibert, recently stated that because of Brexit “we will work even more intensively on being strong and innovative”.
On February 1st of 2020, the German paper, Handelsblatt, published an article by German politician, Wolfgang Clement, in which he advocated for the creation of a new “European” military policy that would be independent of American security. He wrote:
“In no other field than security and defense is more Europe more urgent and necessary. The majority of European citizens agrees. But it requires a renunciation of the usual thinking around security that is ultimately guaranteed by the US and demands difficult and painful decisions. But anyone who wants more security through Europe must now be prepared to act.”
On the same day of this article’s publication, Bloomberg released an article by German political analyst, Andreas Kluth, in which he enthusiastically advocated for a pan-European military force:
“The world is a dangerous place, and NATO faces many perils, while a European Union army remains a pipe-dream. The biggest threat to Europe remains Russia. As researchers for the Swedish defense ministry have detailed, Russia has in the past decade made itself militarily much stronger, and could defeat (or blackmail) Europe by combining hybrid warfare, conventional military superiority and the threat of nuclear weapons deployed by new types of missiles.”
This push for a pan-European military force has been an enterprise of Germany’s for years now; and with Brexit this vision has been accelerated. In January of 2019, Ursula van der Leyen, who is now the head of the European Union, wrote an article for Handelsblatt in which she took a swipe at Brexit while insisting that Europe will still prevail in its plan for a defense force:
“Despite Brexit, and the controversial debates we Europeans have among ourselves, Europe remains a unique creation, uniting half a billion citizens in the name of freedom and prosperity. This Europe must be able to defend itself.”
In 2015, the year before the Brexit referendum, the UK had the EU’s largest military budget, followed by France and Germany. As we read in an EU Parliament briefing: “In absolute terms, the United Kingdom spent by far the most on defence (EUR 47 billion in 2016). This represents around a quarter (23.7%) of the total EU expenditure on defence (i.e. around EUR 200 billion in 2016).”
We have to ask ourselves, what is Germany going to do now that the EU biggest defense contributors is gone? The UK has left an immense vacuum that is going to have to be filled. The largest defense contributor is now absent, and Germany is economically the most powerful country in the European Bloc. What is to be expected? What we have been warning about since the day of Brexit: the rise of German power within Europe.
This is not adventuresome thinking, but an inevitable reality the presaging signs of which we have been seeing since 2016. Britain was always the biggest obstacle to Germany’s plan of a pan-European military force. Now with Britain gone, the obstacle is also gone. Germany is going to intensify her consolidation of power in the name of maintaining the pan-European Bloc. The current head of the EU, Ursula van der Leyen, just recently stated in an interview: “We have to stand up for Europe, otherwise at some point we won’t have it anymore”. Standing up for Europe is going to entail Germany doing what she wants without having to worry about British hinderances. In the words of Stephan Israel, “the British were often the brakes in the club. British governments blocked EU initiatives to move closer together in defense and security.” The fetters of Anglo power in Europe are gone, which leaves the Germans to pursue their plan of eclipsing the other Anglo power across the Atlantic: the United States. To quote Jean-Claude Juncker when he was the President of the EU Commission:
“At this point, we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence”
By supporting Brexit, the British people, and the Trump administration, have facilitated the unleashing of the German beast. People can talk about the Franco-German alliance and how the Germans and French have had peace thanks to the EU, but what helped fortify this alliance was Great Britain. As we read in a recent report from Björn Finke and Matthias Kolb: “the Paris-Berlin axis worked well for a long time and the governments were able to agree on initiatives for the EU because it was also a third power factor with London that had a similar weight in terms of population size and economic output. The British helped to create a balance.” With Britain gone, what kept Germany in check, and the hinge by which Germany and France has had good relations, is absent. Brexit is an incremental step towards the destabilization of Europe.
While the majority of the media is stressing on the economic effects of Brexit, little attention is being paid to the geopolitical effects on the power dynamics of Bloc. With Britain gone, we can expect to see a surge in German militarism within a context of pan-Europeanism. In fact, the Germans are already planning on a major military enterprise for the 2020s. The Germans have already a plan set called “Powerful Bundeswehr 2025,” in which they project “the modernization of existing structures and the definition of new tasks for the German Armed Forces.” If you think that the idea of a future war in Europe is crazy talk, let me present to you a quote from Jean-Claude Juncker when he was the President of the European Commission:
…anyone who believes that the eternal issue of war and peace in Europe has been permanently laid to rest could be making a monumental error. The demons haven’t been banished; they are merely sleeping, as the wars in Bosnia and Kosovo have shown us. I am chilled by the realization of how similar circumstances in Europe in 2013 are to those of 100 years ago.
We can expect to see an intensification of the focus on the military in Germany and also a deepening of the interest in pan-European militarism. The EU was suppose to be the glue that kept Europeans from killing each other. But that glue is deteriorating. The economic crash of 2010 saw an uptick of nationalism in Europe. But the Migrant Crises of 2015 opened up a pandoras box, and the demons that people thought were dead turned out to be only trapped by “political correctness,” and were now freed — with the help of social media — to percolate their destructive ideas. Yanis Varoufakis succinctly described the period of 2010 to 2015 as such: “In 2010, once again the greatest burden fell on the weakest of shoulders. Within a few years Europe was losing its integrity and is now at an advanced stage of surrendering its soul.”
Boris Johnson capitalized on the migrant hysteria and affirmed that if Brexit did not happen then the UK would be flooded with migrants. The strategy was effective. The “counter-jihad” provocateurs — who use the threat of Islamic terrorism as propaganda fodder for racism and nationalism — flooded the internet, and instead of Europe being invaded by migrants, she has been taken over by a new zeitgeist, or really a return to an old zeitgeist, one of militarism and ultimately war. The breaks on Germany have been taken out, and now its only a matter of waiting for the next German monster to appear.