THE STUPIDITY OF THE TRUMP MUSLIM REFUGEE AND VISIT BAN

THE STUPIDITY OF THE TRUMP MUSLIM REFUGEE AND VISIT BAN

By

Harry C. Blaney III

There are few acts by a uninformed and clearly not balanced Donald Trump which have an immediate horrendous impact both at home and abroad. The ban on seven Muslim majority nations is just such an act and it has already enlisted major reactions by people around the world. It is simply a disgrace for America and it is dangerous to our security.

What this executive order on immigration and refugees does is bans Syrian refugees from entering our country, suspends the entire refugee program for 120 days, cuts in half effectively the number of refugees we can admit. It halts all travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

The reaction at home includes demonstrations around the nations especially at universities and colleges and by churches and civil liberty groups. Harvard and Yale presidents and other academic leaders have denounced this act Many experts believe is counter to our constitution, our laws, and treaty obligations. Already a judge has in effect said so…but without so far Trump complying.

In reaction is an open letter to Trump top national security officials by over 100 National Security Leaders on the Refugee Executive Order. The signers include Madeleine Albright, Janet Napolitano, and Susan Rice, and many others including high level former officials and military from Republican and Democratic administrations. The headline statement was:

“As former cabinet Secretaries, senior government officials, diplomats, military service members and intelligence community professionals who have served in the Bush and Obama administrations, we, the undersigned, have worked for many years to make America strong and our homeland secure. Therefore, we are writing to you to express our deep concern with President Trump’s recent Executive Order directed at the immigration system, refugees and visitors to this country. This Order not only jeopardizes tens of thousands of lives, it has caused a crisis right here in America and will do long-term damage to our national security.”

In Washington even some Republicans are concerned, and the Democrats are considering opposition to this on a number of fronts. Chaos prevails at our airports and airlines and in governments around the world. It was denounced by leaders in Germany and France and on the floor of the House of Commons.

It is clear to me that this action was without much doubt the deliberate act of designed chaos and cruelty by Donald Trump likely aided and abated by Stephen Bannon the Alt-Right racist, bigoted Trump campaign leader and past editor of the white power media outlet Breitbart News and now counselor to the President with equal status to the White House Chief-of-Staff and now a member of the highly sensitive and powerful National Security Council and the committee of Principles (Cabinet and agency heads) which he will attend as a full member – in effect perhaps a spy on other member views, or voice for the far racist right at home and abroad and enforcer of Trump’s crazy far right policies and lies.

This act is a test of what we may see going forward in foreign and national security policy. Already Trump has upset and weakened our ties to our key allies that are aghast at his recent statement, tweets and actions which undermine NATO, EU and the UN. In particular, they have undermined our allies and embolden Russia’s Vladimir Putin to hope he can destroy Western unity and strength and prosperity and weaken its defense. All this hardly lifting a finger but letting Trump do his dirty work. Already trump has helped Putin by supporting disunity in Europe by his  encouragement  of Brexit and putting down NATO, and favoring of far right fascist groups in Europe.

We need to ask quickly why and at what cost to peace and security for us and our allies?

We welcome your comments, see section below!

 

AN ISOLATED BRITAIN AND A SELF-DESTRUCTIVE BRITAIN

By Harry C. Blaney III  

Photo Credit via Independent


The latest pronouncement of Prime Minister Theresa May at the Tory Party Conference in October provided an especially harsh and rigid statement of future relations with the EU that amounts to a declaration of self-destruction for an open, influential, and prosperous United Kingdom. It was a red-meat speech for her Tory Euroskeptic xenophobic co-conspirators which likely leads to a weakened Britain and into a very dark space that makes Britain and Europe less secure. It brings delight to Putin, undermines greatly the “Special Relationship” with America, and not least emboldens the worst elements in our societies to rise into power.

I have been watching the process of European integration since 1964 and served at the US missions to both the EU and NATO, as well as living for a while in Britain studying European-US relations. But I could not imagine any sane leader after 40 years of building close cooperation and many gains from unity, would bring about such a break in the linchpin of Europe unity and security. I was in Britain for the last phase of the Brexit debate and vote and saw the sad aftermath which had much of the quality I am seeing today with Trump.

Reading Prime Minister Theresa May’s October Tory Conference speech, I was horrified at the false promises made, the emphases on “controlling” immigration, and thinking she can get a good deal that is NOT on offer and that giving the slogan “Global Britain” she can wash away the ugly reality of a small, divided, and weakened and yes, more isolated Britain.  Prime Minister May talks as if she was living again in the 19th Century, focusing on sovereignty and making our own laws, etc.

Americans will always see Britain as our friend an ally but the first call in a crisis will likely not be to London but to Berlin and Paris. Also to say there is no turning back is to say that the old British tradition of realism and pragmatism to redress an unimaginable error is like heading towards the cliff knowing the results. To not permit a vote on the issue when new valid information on costs and dangers emerges is the height of irresponsibility.

Already we see in Britain increases in brutal attacks on those that look different.  After the lies and exaggerations that were told by Nigel Farage and his partner in the vitriolic Leave Campaign Boris Johnson, that Britain would, in effect be great again (familiar words here in the corrosive presidential campaign), outside the EU.  They said all would prosper and those pesky job robbing foreigners would be taken care of and not bother us any more. The big lie of course was to say that Britain would get almost all it wanted from the despised EU even as EU leaders said it would never happen.

Today sadly the EU and more importantly the concept of a peaceful, united, prosperous, and secure Europe seems at risk. The EU unity problem was exacerbated by the “Great Recession” and the failure of the EU to come to the true assistance of the endangered vulnerable states. Many countries including Britain decided to embark on disastrous austerity policies that left far too many people behind, desperate, and feeling hopeless. For this the blame rests unequivocally on the Conservative Party.

Further, the evil stench of Trump is mirrored sadly in today’s UKIP and Right of the Tory Party with its hyper nationalism and bigotry, as well as the French Le Pen National Party and in Germany in the Alternative for Germany with their neo-Nazi bent.  Brexit and May’s harsh speech can only embolden these fanatics.

And now after the Brexit vote. I never have been so concerned not only for Europe, but also for the implications of a deteriorating, divided, selfish and myopic continent for global governance. No wonder that Vladimir Putin is licking his chops over a weakened and divided West.

We are living in a high risk world that calls for greater unity and cooperation, not less. A Continent fighting itself can’t help the rest of the world fight global warming, terrorism, poverty and inequality, and not least deal with the dangers of nuclear weapons nor defend itself against the real dangers of authoritarian aggression near and far.

BELOW ARE SOME EXCERPTS FROM PRIME MINISTER’S SPEECH WHICH ILLUSTRATE THE CONSEQUENCES OF BOTH PANDERING TO THE EXTREME RIGHT AND DISREGARDING THE LONG-TERM NATIONAL INTEREST:

Crediting Brexit as a Conservative Victory
“But come on.  The referendum result was clear.  It was legitimate.  It was the biggest vote for change this country has ever known.  Brexit means Brexit – and we’re going to make a success of it.”

“Now of course, we wouldn’t have had a referendum at all had it not been for the Conservative Party – and had it not been for David Cameron.  And I want to take a moment to pay tribute to David……”

Valuing Total Sovereignty over the Benefits of Cooperation
“But what we are now talking about is very different.  Whether people like it or not, the country voted to leave the EU.  And that means we are going to leave the EU.  We are going to be a fully-independent, sovereign country, a country that is no longer part of a political union with supranational institutions that can override national parliaments and courts.  And that means we are going, once more, to have the freedom to make our own decisions on a whole host of different matters, from how we label our food to the way in which we choose to control immigration.”

Brexit Will Happen
“Having voted to leave, I know that the public will soon expect to see, on the horizon, the point at which Britain does formally leave the European Union.  So let me be absolutely clear.  There will be no unnecessary delays in invoking Article Fifty.  We will invoke it when we are ready.  And we will be ready soon.  We will invoke Article Fifty no later than the end of March next year…..”

Flagrant Denial of Dismal Economic Forecasts
“And it has also meant that we have given some certainty to businesses and investors.  Consumer confidence has remained steady.  Foreign investment in Britain has continued.  Employment is at a record high, and wages are on the up.  There is still some uncertainty, but the sky has not fallen in, as some predicted it would: our economy remains strong.”

“I know some people ask about the “trade-off” between controlling immigration and trading with Europe.  But that is the wrong way of looking at things.  We have voted to leave the European Union and become a fully-independent, sovereign country.  We will do what independent, sovereign countries do.  We will decide for ourselves how we control immigration.  And we will be free to pass our own laws. “

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The Strategic Importance of Eastern Europe in the Modern World

The Strategic Importance of Eastern Europe in the Modern World

By:  Blaze Joel, National Security Intern

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Via White House

For the majority of the twentieth century, the U.S. was embroiled in the Cold War, directing money, resources, and attention towards stopping the advances of communism across the world and in Soviet-dominated Eastern Europe. Twenty-five years ago, the Cold War suddenly and, seemingly unexpectedly, ended as the Soviet Union dissolved. America’s focus on Eastern Europe, however, did not. With the brutal wars in the former Yugoslavia and the transition to democracy among other former Warsaw Pact nations, the George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton Administrations had to make Eastern Europe a priority. The former pioneered a U.S.-Russian strategic partnership in 1991 while the latter defined the role of NATO in a non-Cold War world with its use in the former Yugoslavia – the first military operations in the history of the Alliance.

After 9/11, the strategic landscape understandably shifted away from the former Communist Bloc and more towards the Middle East as the War in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq began in the early 2000s. These wars and the consequent changing global landscape – with its proliferation of non-state actors and terrorist networks – facilitated a fundamental change in the U.S. strategic outlook and foreign policy that dominated the bulk of the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Presidencies. As the Obama Administration comes to a close and with either a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump Presidency set to begin in January of next year, Eastern Europe again looks to – and should – be a focus of American foreign policy.

A “return” of sorts to the Eastern Bloc should be a priority of the next administration for a number of reasons. First, and most immediately, the primary trail for Syrian refugees crosses the Balkans through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, and Hungary. Last fall, we saw tensions rise in the Balkans as several nations closed off their borders as a means to try to stem the flow of migrants who hope to resettle in Germany or other locations in West or Central Europe, thus inflaming tensions in the region.

Second, political commotion and economic stagnation is becoming more prevalent in the region. The Ukrainian Crisis is about to enter its fourth year this November. Right-wing politics have risen in Hungary with the Jobbik Party, Austria with Norbert Hofer and his FPÖ, and Poland under Andrzej Duda’s Presidency. In the Balkans, Croatia’s government recently collapsed, Bosnia continues to be politically divided, Macedonia’s “Colorful Revolution” continues, and a recent New York Times article detailed the emerging radicalization among young Muslims in Kosovo, some of whom are turning to ISIS as an alternative.

Third, Russia is becoming a more major player on the world stage under Putin. This is not only evident in Russian efforts in Syria that have helped to bolster Assad’s strength, but also seen in an increased Russian role in Eastern Europe. This is exemplified by the war in the Donbas and the annexation of Crimea, but is more prevalent than just Ukraine. Russia continues to try to keep Serbia as an ally in the region, working to deny Kosovo recognition in the UN and pushing Serbia to guarantee its military neutrality (and therefore prevent it from joining NATO). In the face of European sanctions against Russia, the Kremlin has not backed down, creating tension on the continent with several European nations hesitant to restart a “new Cold War” with Russia due to its resource and oil wealth.

All of this is exacerbated by potential unrest in the European project as a whole, as exemplified by the British referendum on leaving the EU this past month. With this move, The United Kingdom set off a chain reaction that has impacted financial markets and undermined the political stability of Europe itself. Leader of the French National Front, Marine Le Pen, has called for a “People’s Spring” to bring national concerns to the forefront of international politics and minimize (or negate) the role of international institutions in domestic governance. While the consequences and potential “domino effect” of the Brexit vote are still unknown, uncertainty will likely define European politics and international relations for the foreseeable future.

In the face of these tensions, the Obama Administration has recently begun to step up its presence in Eastern Europe. On June 13, NATO announced that it would deploy four multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, which became official at the NATO summit in Warsaw last week. This move is seen as desperately needed, not only by Poland and the Baltic states, but also by Lieutenant-General Ben Hodges, the commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, who said on June 23 that “Russia could conquer the Baltic states quicker than we could get there to defend them.” Last year, Hodges was similarly wary of a Russian threat, citing a threat from the Russian ambassador to Denmark that the Danish Navy could become a nuclear target if it participated in NATO’s missile defense program.

Whoever the next President of the United States is, he or she will face an increasingly complex world that requires increasingly multifaceted policies. To name a few of these upcoming issues: ISIS will continue to be a threat to the Middle East and the world; North Korea has shown signs of wanting to increase its global status through its nuclear program; the Syrian Civil War will be entering its sixth year; political instability has come to Latin America in Venezuela and to a lesser extent Brazil; ISIS and Boko Haram terrorize northern and western Africa and the civil war in South Sudan has begun anew. Despite the plethora of global issues, Eastern Europe must be crucial to the next President’s strategic plan. An increasingly bold Russia, political and economic stagnation (including growing inequality) and uncertainty, and the increasing of national tensions exacerbated by the migrant crisis mean that the region once thought to be the bastion of expanding democracy and stability through its new NATO and EU members is at risk of becoming a point of tension once again.

A PERSONAL NOTE ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME AND BREXIT

A PERSONAL NOTE ON THE 100TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF THE SOMME AND BREXIT

By: Harry C. Blaney III
Reporting from London

David Cameron tours the Somme Exhibition in Thiepval, France and meets a group of British School Children.

Via Gov.UK

On July 1, 1916, Britain, France, and their allies fought in the historic and fierce battle of the Somme. It was the most mutually ruinous battle of World War I. Forces on both sides suffered horrible causalities. The first day of fighting was the most deadly day in British history with 57,470 causalities. On the hundredth anniversary, the ceremony was held at the British cemetery in France with a moving and impressive commemoration featuring all nations that participated 100 years ago. Heads of state and other leaders all came to pay their respects on that sad and tragic field.

The ceremony was one of extraordinary meaning and one could not help but be moved watching it. It was but a few years ago that I walked through the American cemetery overlooking the World War II beaches of Normandy, where the allies gained a foothold on the continent at a great cost. It was clear from my visit that America had made a great commitment for the freedom of Europe in order to ensure that another appalling World War would not face future generations.

What was most moving was the image of the line of tombstones with the music of choirs from Britain, France, Wales, and others including Germany in the background. There were moving remarks by the dignitaries that attended, including Prime Minister David Cameron, President of France Francois Holland, and Charles the Prince of Wales.

I could not but think, however, how peculiar these statements of comradeship, shared goals, and common struggle seemed against the background of the British vote to remove themselves from the inner center of Europe. One great irony of the day was that Cameron, who called the referendum but supported Remain, told the story told of how German troops at the Somme held their fire when a British solder moved through the line of battle to take a British wounded solder off a barbed wire fence.

The Brexit vote has already precipitated the rise of just those forces that so many died to abolish forever. The British vote to cut the ties with their common European brethren – their comrades in arms – just before they commemorated the cost of a war that could have been avoided if only the spirit of unity that created the EU could have found in the summer of 1914. Now those same dark forces are rising out of anger, racism, super-nationalism, and denial of our common humanity, both in Britain and on the continent.

My hope today is that in some way the lessons of the Somme might permeate into the consciousness of both Britain and the nations on the continent before it is too late.

More reports to come, focusing on the British referendum aftershocks, the rise of these divisive forces in Europe, and the resulting disarray of both major parties in British politics.

We welcome your comments!

See our Brexit Page for more up dates.

 

FIVE DAYS ON AND “BREXIT” STILL UNRAVELS EUROPE AND BRINGS DISUNITY

FIVE DAYS ON AND “BREXIT” STILL UNRAVELS EUROPE AND BRINGS DISUNITY

By: Harry C. Baney III
REPORTING FROM LONDON

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Despite a bit of stability in the stock and exchange markets, the Brexit vote continues to bring a downward spiral of bitter arguments, disunity between and within political parties, acts of racial hatred in Britain, growing uncertainty about both the strength and even unity of Britain, and questions of Europe’s durability as a democratic and cohesive bloc and as a strong partner in solving global challenges. The impact on the unity of the West is a fundamental turning point or, as one leader said, an “existential moment.”

Wednesday’s House of Commons debate was particularly corrosive, an atmosphere engendered by the narrow vote that split the principle parties themselves. The recriminations have created an atmosphere of bitterness and distress that will be long lasting, unless both parties elect a leader who pushes for unity. In the House, Prime Minister Cameron debate even told Corbyn to “go,” which is not in keeping with the spirit or decorum of this institution. Cameron said – in typical understated British fashion – that there will be “choppy waters” ahead. He made it clear the coming negotiations will not be easy.

The Brexit vote has split both of Britain’s major political parties. Jeremy Corbyn recently lost a no-confidence vote 172-40. Already several Labour party MP’s have put forth their names to replace Corbyn. While they may share his vision for a more equitable social program, his opponents feel that Corbyn can’t win the next general election for the party. If this conflict drags on, it may destroy the party as an alternative. Even if Corbyn loses the party Parliamentary vote, he has the right to call for a vote by its public paid active members that could deliver a win for the Labour leader. The division threatens to split the party, which could be ruinous for an effective opposition party in the UK.

The Conservative Party (Tory Party) is going through its own destructive process in search of a new party leader and likely Prime Minister after David Cameron announced he would stand down. The vote has placed a major wedge in the Tory party between those that supported the Leave Campaign like Boris Johnson and Michael Gove and those that backed the Remain Campaign. Johnson officially withdrew his name from consideration on Thursday, leaving Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May There (who supported the Remain Campaign) as the most likely successors to Cameron. Stephen Crabb, Liam Fox, and Andrea Lawson will also run for PM. The party got itself in this mess, but does not seem to know how to get out of it.

The Continent also seems to sense uncertainty. Cameron went to the EU meeting Tuesday, but was excluded from a Wednesday meeting. He tried to make the case that Britain would still be a good partner in Europe, but to little effect. Statements by EU leaders after that meeting was clear, the “Four Freedoms” – movement of money, goods, services, and peoples – can’t be compromised in any deal with the UK. This directly counters the likely most important demand by a new UK government to limit the number of people coming to the UK from the EU. A key leader of the EU said: “If you are out you are out.”

But the reality is that Europe is also in perilous situation because of its disarray. The simple fact is that Euro-skeptic, racist, nationalist, and even fascist parties and leaders (such as Marine Le Pen in France) are taking advantage of the Brexit to push their own agendas. Parties in EU nations hope to dissolve the EU and come to power on programs and hatreds that bring back sentiments of the 1930s. This disarray brings glee to just those forces that a democratic Europe was supposed to be a bastion against, such as Putin’s Russia that hopes to weaken the EU and NATO. This is not just a European problem, but also a threat also to the entire Atlantic community and to the common strategic and economic aims of building a strong, democratic, and peaceful Europe.

To give just a few examples of those that wish ill of European unity the following will give a hint of the risks and darkness ahead:

Nigel Farage, a Member of the EU Parliament (believe it or not) who leads the far right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party and supported the Leave Campaign said on Tuesday in that parliament: “You as a political project are in denial. You’re in denial that your currency is failing. Just look at the Mediterranean! As a policy to impose poverty on Greece and the Mediterranean you’ve done very well.  You’re in denial over Mrs. Merkel’s call for as many people as possible to cross the Mediterranean – which has led to massive divisions between within countries and between countries. The biggest problem you’ve got and the main reason the UK voted the way it did is because you have by stealth and deception, and without telling the truth to the rest of the peoples of Europe, you have imposed upon them a political union…What I’d like to see is a grownup and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship. I know that virtually none of you have never done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job. But listen, just listen…Even no deal is better for the United Kingdom is better than the current rotten deal that we’ve got.  But if we were to move to a position where tariffs were reintroduced on products like motorcars then hundreds of thousands of German works would risk losing their jobs. Why don’t we be grown up, pragmatic, sensible, realistic and let’s cut between us a sensible tariff-free deal and thereafter recognize that the United Kingdom will be your friend, that we will trade with you, cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world. Do that, do it sensibly, and allow us to go off and pursue our global ambitions and future.”

While Putin has been diplomatic about the subject, only saying that he “would like to stress yet again that the so-called Brexit is the choice of the British people, we did not interfere with this process and are not tampering with it in anyway,” other Russian leaders were quick to express their delight at the result.

The leader of Russia’s nationalist Liberal Democratic Party Vladimir Zhirinovsky, said “Britain has voted to leave the European Union and I think others will follow suit…NATO, the Schengen Agreement, and the euro will fall apart. So hail the Russian Ruble and the development of relations between Russia and the democratic nations of Europe.”

The Kremlin’s small-business ombudsman Boris Titov said in a Facebook post that “it seems it has happened — UK out!!! In my opinion, the most important long-term consequence of all this is that the exit will take Europe away from the Anglo-Saxons, meaning from the USA. It’s not the independence of Britain from Europe, but the independence of Europe from the USA,” he wrote. And it’s not long until a united Eurasia — about 10 years.”

More words of joy came from the French National Front Party leader Marie Le Pen who is leading in a majority of polls to be the next President, arguing in a New York Times editorial that a “People’s Spring” is imminent and that more countries, including France, should abandon the EU in favor of “freedom.”

The vote was praised by Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, and Vladimir Putin. No wonder the fear, uncertainty, and nervousness characterizes much of the world!

Future posts from London will look at the underlying reasons here for both the UK vote and why there is so much anger and despair in Britain and Europe. The financial recession and government reactions to it have precipitated an increase in poverty, inequality, and therefore a rise of latent xenophobia.

See the Brexit Page for continued coverage.

We welcome your comments. 

 

A BREXIT VOTE OF GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES: ITS MORE CHAOS AND DISUNITY

A BREXIT VOTE OF GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES: ITS MORE CHAOS AND DISUNITY

By: Harry C. Blaney III

Reporting from London

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A BREXIT VOTE OF GLOBAL CONSEQUENCES: ITS MORE CHAOS AND DISUNITY

By: Harry C. Blaney III

The UK vote to leave the European Union by a margin of 52 percent to 48 percent to stay has already created great costs to the UK and much of the rest of the world on every level – economic, political and security. The impact has already been sizable and more effects will undoubtedly continue to come as nations and people evaluate the real implications of this historic, massive, unnecessary, and tragic act.

The truth is that Britain is a badly split nation and the margin of winning was indeed small, despite the Leave campaign claiming it was large. There are inherent dangers to taking such a dramatic move that did not garner the support of the vast majority of people. There is speculation that many people, including those that did not vote, did not want to leave. A petition for a re-vote already has over 3.6 million signatures. We may see still a major fight yet over the future of Britain in Europe and the world, as well as the future of the UK itself. Leaders in both Scotland and Northern Ireland have implied that referenda on their future as part of the UK could be coming soon. These problems will be complicated by the leadership struggles that currently plague both the Conservative (Tory) Party and the Labour Party.

One of the major lessons for the vote was that, at its heart, it was a protest and demonstrated a sense of disaffection by working class and some older citizens who feel that their well-being has been neglected, and by those who believed the intolerant cries of far right leaders like the UK Independence Party and MP Boris Johnson, the likely Tory candidate for the new Prime Minister.

It is estimated that 62 percent of Labour voters voted to Remain while a third of Labour voters chose Leave, largely because of immigration fears, unhappiness about their declining living standards, and anger at the EU hyped by the partisan media and the Leave Campaign. Voters also understandably blame the UK political establishment for their situation, especially on jobs, education, the decline on health care, and immigration. The Labour Party has already faced a leadership challenge with MPs calling for a confidence motion against Jeremy Corbyn, who said that he was going nowhere at a press conference in London. Corbyn also noted that there is a need for a new look at international relations.

The aim of the Leave campaign was to direct anger against the EU, not against the Tories. However, the EU is not to blame at all for the plight of their voters.  Another issue Leavers hit at was a “loss of control” and “sovereignty” at the hands of Europe.  Interestingly, Leave voters were largely right-wing Euro-skeptic Conservatives and far-right party supporters, although some of the faces of the campaign were the well-educated and wealthy like Boris Johnson and the conservative media.

Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor of London, made the case for keeping close ties to Europe and wanting to find a path forward that does not disadvantage London as Britain’s London-based financial sector. He campaigned in London for staying.

Many Remain voters are very upset over the results, not just those in London, but also voters in Scotland and young voters. The many negative impacts already being felt. The question here in London is what can be done to reverse this decision, as seen by the petition for a re-vote. Few think this is possible, but many want a reversal. I think this tug of war will not go away anytime soon.

Outside Britain, Europeans are very unhappy and troubled over the results. The EU is torn between wanting to protect the UK’s trade position but also does not want other nations that have Euro-skeptic and anti-immigrant movements to take the British example and leave. Marine Le Pen in France has already also for an “out” referendum.  The EU Commission leaders do not want the negotiations to be left in “limbo.” It seems that most of the EU nations wants to start negotiations “immediately.”


While much of Europe wants to move toward negotiations as soon as possible, German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants time to think, consider, and not “be nasty” in the negotiating the implications of Britain’s exit and finding the best path forward. Already EU nations are thinking of how to take economic advantage of the situation for their narrow interests. Some of the European leaders want a quick resolution, as they said it would be in the interest of both sides. Prime Minister David Cameron has said he will stay on until October, when the Tory party will meet to choose a new leader who will lead the nation in negotiations out of the EU over the two years, as stipulated by the EU Treaty Clause 50. So things might get nasty between Britain and Europe and no one will be a winner.

As a dear friend in London wrote to me in summary: “Europe takes this very seriously.  France and Germany, in particular, are aware that the EU is much more than an economic union.  It was designed also to prevent the kind of differences which lead to two disastrous World Wars in the 20th c.  Already, on the morning after the vote, the right wing Dutch party is calling for a referendum there, as is Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far right Front National party in France.  If this move takes down all of Europe, there will be Hell to pay. “

On the strategic side, Vladimir Putin has stated his delight over the British exit and sees it as perhaps his major victory in his path to divide and fundamentally weaken West Europe and the EU, and for that matter undermine NATO.

Global markets have already suffered major damage and predictions show that Britain and other EU nations will see less economic growth than they would otherwise enjoy. Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s downgraded Britain’s credit rating from AAA to AA. The London Stock Exchange dropped an additional 2.55 percent on Monday, doubling down on Friday’s downward spiral.

 

Already there are predictions of major shock waves around the world and a reassessment of British relations toward Britain and the EU. Not least is the American reaction, led by President Obama that although the decision would not change the “special relationship,” Britain would still be in the back of the queue in trade negotiations. Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in London to reassure Britain that relations will continue to be strong between the US and UK, saying “We will continue, the United States, to have a very close and special relationship with Great Britain. We value that relationship. That does not change because of this vote” in Italy on Sunday.  

Frankly, I think there will undoubtedly be major changes in the priority of American focus with a weakened Britain, out of Europe, with Scotland looking for its independence and a restive North Ireland. In Europe, the UK will be considered a lesser part of the core European decision-making system. The Leave campaign saying it would not is just disingenuous.

Finally, the impact has already been a major disaster for Britain. Global stock markets have crashed, as over two trillion dollars have already been lost. The Scottish Prime Minister is already motioning for an independence referendum and is moving to negotiate directly with the EU for a possible special status within the EU.

The nation is divided and at war with itself; financial firms in London are likely to be either greatly diminished and may even move abroad; Britain will have lower influence with the U.S.; and the UK may possibly dissolve. Not a bad day of work for “Little England” Euro-skeptics and the super-nationalists and racist groups that supported this madness.  For the rest of the world, it is an unmitigated disaster in a world that already has high risks.

More on the implications in post over the next week from London.

We welcome your comments, see the box below to have a chance for your say!

Go to our Brexit page for a full page of key sources, facts and developments in this historic act.

 

BREAKING: BRITAIN CHOOSES LEAVE

The United Kingdom voted Thursday to leave the European Union, by a margin of 51.9% to 49.1%.  The vote is sure to have major short- and long-term consequences for both the UK and the European Union.  As seen in the map below, Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly for Remain while England (outside of London) and Wales voted to Leave.

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Via the Huffington Post

For up-to-the-minute coverage, please see our Brexit Page.  Harry’s take on the historic vote to come.