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Common Cents

Pax Europaea

Ralph Murphy

(4/2016) British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced plans to hold a national referendum as to whether or not to stay in the European Union. It is being called a BREXIT. The poll is scheduled for 23 June and has drawn impassioned and often contradictory statements from the Conservative or Tory party now in control of Parliament and the opposition, center left Labour Party.

Cameron, in recent press statements, is strongly supportive of the British maintaining an EU presence. The position itself isn't shared by his own party and his vision of a "European Union" may be misunderstood if past, public statements are an indicator of his current conviction. The European Union is a political, economic and even cultural alliance of nations developed in post World War II Europe during a period that has become known as Pax Europaea or European Peace. There have been countless civil wars as well as the Cold War spanning the EU and its predecessor European Economic Community (EEC) exposing East and West economic ideologies to global, almost Biblical, confrontation.

The 28 member EU is run largely by legally unchecked dictate from Brussels, Belgium since the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon. It can and does ascribe social as well as economic and political policies. They include tolerance for the influx of unskilled refugees from outside the EU, despite double-digit unemployment of its members and deadly confrontations with impoverished and hostile Muslims. Debt issues are also a huge problem and both were alluded to in a 2013 speech that Cameron made as a prelude to the 2015 elections, which again the Tories won.

In this speech Cameron blasted the EUís various ruling organs, but especially the Executive Commissionís role as "not acting on behalf of the people". Specifically he cited a "lack of democratic accountability and concern that is felt particularly in Britain." He bemoaned Brusselsí taxes that England couldn't redress as "bailouts for the other side of the continent" for which England was a net loser. He noted in the speech that the "first purpose of the EU is to secure peace", but the organization doesn't have a defense structure and not all its members are NATO members which had assumed that role during the Cold War era from 1946 to about 1990 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Cameron cited three problems in EU dealings that don't appear to have changed since the election last May. The Eurozone of 19 memberís shared currency is demanding and exclusive. There is a perceived "crisis of competitiveness" as nations abroad "soar ahead" amid imposed costs and production caps. There is also a "gap" of Brusselsí understanding as nations differ as to culture and related politics and economics. All the while, the British Prime Minister extolled a place for a European Union, but when it comes to actual policy issues he appears to want it redrawn. His criticisms were scathing and backed by quantifiable monetary debts as well as qualifiable, but no less troubling loss of "comfort" that relate to lost border controls. London mayor and Conservative party Member of Parliament (MP) Boris Johnson is spearheading the BREXIT cause as ironically Cameron now officially campaigns against a withdrawal from the EU structures. The Tories are split as is Labour though its leader Jeremy Corbyn who signaled very similar platform concerns with the EU that Cameron issued in his pre election speeches. Labour now has a "party commitment" to stay in the EU, but it doesn't appear to appeal to the left.

The EUís basic objectives were to "promote peace and well being, offer an area of security and justice without internal frontiers, and sustain development based on balanced growth". There is near anarchy on many borders due to immigration and refugee tolerance as domestic resources nor inclination to share with the strangers, has often led to violence. Justice is internal to member states, and there's some accord to British Common law or Roman law but it varies and is checked only by international law that is broad as to internal, national concerns. Injurious ethnic cleansing and genocide are illegal. Growth of production is a function of resources and training as well as its ability to meet demand with the appropriate work ethic, expertise and ability. All can vary by region, but education could be promoted for non-governmental organizations to help the measures.

Cameron's vision of a European Union - apparently a Pax Europaea that can be institutionalized for the betterment of all peoples, should be viewed in a broader framework of regulated competition. It would establish firm, border controls that would allow legal travel or immigration according to domestic need- not external mandate. Trade patterns would be similar with foreign goods that are imported or exported unless the cash outflow or trade balance is too costly. Then there could be controls as to tariff or quotas. Multi national companies could also be allowed in host nations as they do create jobs and, if domestic producers aren't crowded out, are routinely beneficial to both nation of charter and production.

The EU and Cameron's security concerns are valid, but most of the post World War II problems have been civil unrest and can be aided as addressed internally by the federal government. It could include aid from neighboring countries as well - if legal. Other security issues are also addressed by the UN when its role is once again effective. If the conservatives and liberals in the UK and elsewhere can agree on any single policy commitment- ideally, it would be one of peace and prosperity based on internal resources. Nationalist identity is a consistent bond for a people. It even includes an emotional attachment, which is difficult to import.

A BREXIT might require some short term diplomatic finesse, but traditional political and economic exchanges relating to both internal and external markets would surely continue with renewed London control. All nations who trade or engage with the British people could benefit from accords reflecting their own demand not that of a distant EU leadership dictate. Whatever the impetus for the EU development and spiral to absolute legal control, the result has been unceasing border and debt flareups, poverty and death. The world will watch to see what British voters decide in June. But, it may be a mere formality as the sentiments do appear widely felt. The alliance must be redrawn for a union based on a framework of very apparent, external competitive pressures - not false hopes manipulated by skilled con men for suspect gain.

Ralph Murphy is a former member of the CIA Headquarters Staff in Langley, VA.

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