Tuesday, June 28, 2016

BREXIT

The ramifications of BREXIT for global security could be much more important than its economic effects. After all, the UK economy represents less than 4% of the global economy. A weaker pound  -and a possible recession as a result- should not, in my view, have the grave effects many economic analysts predict.

But Britain is a protagonist in the defense theatre: the country is NATO’s staunchest ally, the "defense bridge" between US and EU, and the latter’s biggest contributor (both in money and means) in all EU-led operations. Would this stay the same after Brexit? Or would Britain move closer to NATO? And if this happens, what would be the impact on EU’s new defense policy orientation, and on the German-French idea of a true “defense union”? Would this be possible without Britain?

One shouldn’t forget that the Americans, for some time now, are becoming increasingly fed up of having to spend so much on Europe’s defense; their priorities are clearly elsewhere, including China’s incursions in the South China Sea.  In this regard, Americans see rather favorably Germany’s push for closer cooperation and coordination of defense budgets which, according to some, should be raised to 2% of GDP amongst all EU member states.

One thing is certain: the geopolitical chessboard has changed and exit negotiations aren’t going to be easy. Certainly, the process will take much longer than the envisaged two years, unless something else happens in the meantime. HH