Current Affairs Politics

British Government: Britain Will Be Militarily Interventionist After Brexit

Brexit means many different things to many different people in the United Kingdom, but one of the few things most Brexiteers can agree upon is the expectation that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union will restore the country’s status as a global superpower, free of the constraints of its former partners in the EU. This bit of me-too childishness is likely to be reflected in a speech later today by Gavin Williamson, the UK Secretary of State for Defence, at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, a right-wing think tank in London. According to heavy briefing in the British press, the Conservative Party MP will argue that Britain should use “…hard power” to support its overseas’ interests, adopting a more interventionist role in other nations and territories.

“…our armed forces represent the best of global Britain in action: action to oppose those who flout international law; and action, on occasion, that may lead to us intervene ourselves.

Brexit has brought us to a great moment in our history. A moment when we must strengthen our global presence, enhance our lethality and increase our mass.”

In other words, more Empire 2.0 fantasising instead of actually getting on with the job of working out how the UK is going to leave the EU in the first place.

24 comments on “British Government: Britain Will Be Militarily Interventionist After Brexit



    • And which most British politicians have never read or seem to understand in any way shape or form.


    • what can Ireland do about it? The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties will allow them to do so,Article 60 of the Vienna Convention guarantees the right of a party to walk away from a treaty if the other parties entitles the other to invoke the breach as a ground for terminating the treaty or suspending its operation in whole or in part.” As SF have refused to take part in the NI Assembly as set up by the GFA then there has been a clear breech of the GFA treaty. Ireland and the UK and 105 countries signed up to this in 1969 but Ireland appears not to have no read the contents.


  2. The Royal Navy sent a ship to the Pacific, to scare Peking. I cannot stop laughing. Brexit = civil unrest and so the Parachute Regt are being trained to crack skulls in Barnsley. 9 Battalions? 60 million angry punters!


  3. Jim Ledwith

    unbelievable but fits the mindset ” land of hope and glory” ” rule britannia ”



  4. I don’t think so.

    For one thing EU membership per se, doesn’t stop a nation from being interventionist. France for one thing is one of the more interventionist nations, and it remains solidly in the EU. There’s an interesting VENN diagram comparing NATO and EU membership-with a heavy but not 100% overlap even if one looks only at European countries. So I don’t see this Brexit business somehow freeing up Britain to be more interventionist.

    Secondly, if Britain’s economy suffers seriously under Brexit-which it might-they might not have the resources to be interventionist. Secondly if Scotland leaves or serious unrest shows up in England itself, which also are real possibilities, they could end up so far up to their elbows in internal problems for it to be an option. (And I think you are mistaken to rule out serious even violent unrest in England simply because that didn’t occur in 1688. Not that they should be allowed to use that possibility to get everything they want, but it’s real.)

    Finally, Brexit did not past by a wide margin. And many of the Brexiteers probably are more “Isolationists” than “Neo-Imperialists”. The young (who would mostly be called on to fight.) were less likely to support Brexit than the old.

    I think you may be assigning England as a whole a greater immunity to consequences and suffering than they actually have.


    • Yes, but the Brexiteer argument is that the EU is “holding back” the UK from its seat at the big boys’ table. Hence the rationale for Brexit, aside from the economic arguments.


      • That may be the argument of some Brexiteers. Whether it’s actually going to work out that way once the realities of Brexit truly hit the country, is something else. If in fact, the EU is holding back the UK, how did the manage to have that little war in the Falklands, and participate in the Iraq War? How does France manage to be such a progressive interventionist in Africa in particular?

        Usually you can’t sustain much support for foreign wars, if you don’t have relative support from the younger people. For example, throughout most of the Vietnam War, people under 30 actually had the same level of support for the war as the WW2 vets cohort, which was in turn much, much higher than that of people 49 and older-I know that runs against some pretty dramatic stereotypes to the contrary but there’s better scientific polling data on this point then there is on African American support for school integration (which is to say pretty good).

        Also a nation needs to be in passable economic shape to go ahead and start a war, or else it really risks serious unrest at home.

        Liked by 1 person

      • With our bellicose neighbour re-arming don’t you think it might be prudent for our supine government to spend more than token amounts on defence?

        Unprepared and defenceless at present. Not responsible.


        • Small nations often do have reasons to fear when larger neighbor see unrest. I would not however treat this as equivalent to German rearmament of the 1930’s.


        • Maybe. However I suspect that there may be a greater need for the State to prepare for a prolonged internal security/policing campaign if the ultimate backstop measure of a border poll kicks in sometime over the next five years and reunification becomes a reality (and possibly sooner rather than later). That is the real challenge, not the chest-thumping British gorilla in its self-made cage. The Gardaí and DFI are largely unprepared for that eventuality.

          Unless, of course, the UK refuses to countenance a referendum in the north or bends the rules to have a majority clause in there to stymie a pro-unity vote.


  5. Pat murphy

    I can just see it now ,the people in Moscow running for cover ,in wild panic having just heard on local Russian radio that the UDR, sorry the royal Irish regiment ,were approaching the outskirts of the city. The supermarket shelves having, the previous evening, been cleared of all their stock in anticipation of the carnage which was about to happen. Or the poor unfortunate souls in Peking fleeing the city in an armada of rick-shaws hearing that the mighty red arrows were approaching from the Pacific. The wailing and knashing of teeth would be just terrible. More chance of the ‘hero’s’ attacking the likes of the Isle of Man or Rathlin if they were sure no one was at home. Pathetic. The cowardly bastards never attacked anyone in their history who was capable of fighting back. Now the bully will get their just deserts.


  6. Who cares what the Brit loons do . On 12 February 1989, UDA backed up from the British Army murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane. The UDA assassinated Pat Finucane in his north Belfast home in front of his family. Tomorrow is the 30th Anniversary and still no nearer to getting justice.


  7. Lately there’s been talk of “Brexit boxes” or food boxes in the even of a No-Deal Brexit, and talk of plans to evacuate members the the HRH to an undisclosed location.

    Granted it can be hard in all this to parse out genuine risks from hysteria, the Brexit boxes for example remind me of the food stocking some people did before Y2K. One thing is sure, Brexit, especially a no deal Brexit could be a very, very heavy hit for Britain.

    I’ve said this before of not assigning some essentialist “immunity” to Britain just because of history. Little may be certain, but I have a feeling that Brexit is going to go very, very badly for Britain.


    • I think some of the more dire no-deal Brexit prognostications are probably way off the mark. It will be bad but not as bad a rioting in the streets the day after Brexit or outbreaks of malnutrition within weeks of the big day.

      The real trouble will be in the medium to long-term areas of economics and trade. The economy will take a major hit, spending will go down, disposable income will go down, tax revenue will fall, trade will stumble if not halt, small businesses will go to the wall, bigger ones will have layoffs, unemployment will rise, disputes will rise, electoral politics will become more volatile or febrile, and so on.

      I’d envision Brexit Britain as very similar to the UK in the 1970s or the worse years of Thatcher. A nation at unease with itself and that unease played out in the culture and politics.

      But I can’t envision anything too unprecedented in terms of civil unrest in the UK itself. Poll tax style riots or scenes similar to the London riots a few years ago wouldn’t surprise me if they did happen, though the causes would be more complex than just Brexit alone and would likely rely on a few years of austerity to add momentum.

      Racism and xenophobia, more explicitly so, would likely become a major factor. Perhaps with organised violence, following the pattern seen in Italy or Hungary.

      A decade of tough times and a country with politicians and a sizeable chunk of voters blaming its neighbours for its troubles and ills rather than itself. And pretty cold relations with its former partners in the EU as the UK tries to do a Singapore off the edge of Europe. To Europe’s detriment.

      Where uncertainty enters in is the effect of a true no-deal Brexit on Scotland and in the north-east of Ireland. Political turmoil in the former, insurrectionary unrest in the latter? And if the UK refuses a border poll or deploys troops on the border around the Six Counties? Then you get a hundred potential butterfly effects with unpredictable outcomes for both Ireland and the UK. And the EU. Then things can get very messy, very quickly.


      • I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if Britain faces both an economic situation that is drastically worse than their own austerity period, Weimar Germany, AND Russia in the early 1990’s put together. Nor would I be shocked, if the level of unrest in England, not just against foreigners but between Englishmen and Englishwoman themselves ends up being considerably worse than The Troubles was for Northern Ireland in the 1970’s as well.

        This is not to suggest that Northern Ireland and Scotland don’t face real risks, as they obviously do. The Good Friday Agreement, however is lodged with The United Nations, and gives The Republic of Ireland legals claims over the area under international law. Similarly Scotland may end up getting their independence to rejoin the EU. The English are the ones for whom there is simply “no escape” in terms of remaining 100% “in” The Brexit mess.

        I’m not suggesting that Ireland or the EU is obliged to grant the UK’s every whim because of this. Indeed, that would perhaps be the worst thing you could do, even if the sole priority was saving The English from their own “public school toffs”.

        This is NOT about some kind of desire to see Britain get a comeuppance for their Empire, nor any notion about “chickens coming home to roost”. It’s just that a terrible choice has been made, not by leaving the EU per se but by the lack of willingness or sophistication to handle such a complex move. I mostly blame the Uncodified Constitution and the crazy nature of their version of Parliamentary politics, for the governments’ inability to deal with this.

        I will say it again. Britain’s history of Empire and seeing Ireland suffer more than itself has not morphed into a law of physics. Fintan O’Toole is way off in terms of talking as if it had.

        Many countries in this world have major histories of suffering and of flexing imperial muscle. Russia is pretty much the undisputed champion in terms of both having a sordid imperial history and having as much of a deserved reputation for a history filled with suffering as Ireland. China is also no slouch in this department. Spain’s history of Empire didn’t protect them from Civil War, Franco, or starvation during those times. France’s might Empire didn’t protect them from The Third Reich (It’s also a myth they “just rolled over”.).


      • I don’t think England can do a Singapore on the edge or Europe so easily. Because Europe already has Switzerland in the middle of Europe doing a much, much better “Singapore” than Hong Kong and Singapore ever did-and it often has been to Europe’s detriment. AT least England would have some heady competition with not just Switzerland, but several other “comers” in this department.

        I don’t see London’s banking establishment getting much larger than it already as, as they would likely face not just Switzerland, but increasingly South America for competition.

        And England is too large really to just be “supported” by London’s banking powers. Even if London was willing to dispense banking “goodies” to the country like Saudi Arabia does with its oil profits in the form of grants, subsidized utilities, and supporting businesses-which they aren’t-I don’t see England surviving on that.


  8. I wonder how long it will be before the UK loses its seat on the UN Security Council?


  9. Unless backed by the USA the UK poodle is on for a kicking on the world stage.

    Yes they may have nuclear weapons, and yes they may be a relatively powerful military but they are no match against China, the USSR, France, Germany and a range of other countries.

    The days of the British Empire are gone, the great economic power is no more, and if you want to look at a shambles of a government, look no further than Westminster.

    But they’re itching to war-war, and that will be their undoing. The slaughter of British troops on a boots on the ground campaign is maybe where they are headed. Humanitarian bombs from 20,000 isn’t always the easy option. They had plenty killed and maimed in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the crippled survivors are now, like the human flotsam that they always were, left without state care and support. Crippled and singing God Save the Queen?

    Foot soldiers, for Queen and Country and dumped on after being cynically used.

    Ah we shall see how it all plays out.


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