Ed note: Long-time Markets and Money readers will recall Dan Denning, previous publisher at Port Phillip Publishing. After he handed over the reigns to Kris Sayce a year ago and took some time to travel and relax, Dan’s now writing for our British affiliate through his new newsletter, Capital and Conflict. Today Dan returns as a guest writer with an edited excerpt from that publication. Enjoy.
Thanks for the continued flow of comments on whether Britain should leave the European Union. It’s more than I keep up with. But the reading has been great. Not everyone, for example, thinks it’s surprising that under EU law, the UK will have to negotiate its way out of Union. It’s not like a party you can leave when the punch bowl is empty and the conversation runs dry.
Whether the EU can survive the immigration crisis is another frequent subject. And really, no one is dealing with the elephant in the room. The cost of the crisis is a big issue. The German flouting of EU law is another one. But whether Europe can retain its identity and accommodate so many new immigrants at once is the subject people feel like they can’t bring up in polite society, less they get accused of being heartless racists who thrive on human suffering.
The politics of the identity issue will ‘evolve.’ In the meantime, the other issue brought up by many readers is what the real motives of the EU are today. It may have started as a peace project. But it’s turned into a power project. To oppose the EU is not to be ‘Eurosceptic.’ It’s to be a realist about the nature of centralised power.
Bernard Connolly had it right back in 2008 in a paper he wrote called ‘Europe: Driver or Drive. EMU and the Lust for Crisis.’ He correctly pointed out back then that to the centralising mind, any crisis is a chance to increase power. In a section called ‘What Europe Wants’, Connolly made it simple: to use global issues as an excuse to extend its power. He cited four instances.
- Environmental issues: increase control over member countries; advance the idea of global governance
- Terrorism: use excuse for greater control over police and judicial issues; increase extent of surveillance
- Global financial crisis: kill two birds (free market; Anglo-Saxon economies) with one stone (Europe-wide regulator; global financial governance)
- European Monetary Union (EMUI): create a crisis to force introduction of ‘European economic government’
What do you think? Paranoid? Accurate? Prescient?
The global financial crisis came of its own accord. Is the migration crisis the way to force the introduction of ‘European economic government’? Was it deliberate?
The answer to that question is beyond the scope of today’s article. There is also an odd aspect of 21st century life to attribute to conspiracy things which are more easily explained by mere stupidity or incompetence. Either way, we are where we are, regardless of how we got here. Where to next? Stay tuned.
South China Sea confrontation
Under President Barrack Obama, the US has been ‘leading from behind’ all over the globe. That’s what makes the last 24 hours so intriguing. An Arleigh Burke-class US Navy guided missile destroyer — the USS Lassen — sailed within 12 nautical miles of both the Subi and Mischief reefs near the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Those reefs are now artificial islands on which Chinese military installations have been built. The US appears to be challenging China’s effort to control the sea lanes in the region by putting new islands where none existed before and planting a flag on them. The US claims it takes no side in the territorial dispute China has with its neighbours.
A guided missile destroyer is not the same thing as an aircraft carrier. But it’s certainly a provocation. And it comes just after Xi Jinping’s successful visit to London to create a better working relationship with the UK. Remember, ‘may you live in interesting times’ is a curse in China.
Contributor, Markets and Money