The EU’s more suspect activities (dark statecraft) in respect to Brexit undoubtedly continue to have considerable impact. For the Article 50 ‘negotiations’ and the Withdrawal Agreement the impact is devastating in respect to the national interest of the United Kingdom. Yet our media has shown little interest about, what in other contexts, would likely qualify as subversion or soft warfare. However, a clear understanding of this EU activity is critical to any co-existence and co-operation with this somewhat expansionist, bullying, deceptive and manipulative imperial power. Undoubtedly Realpolitik lessons are being noted already in Washington, Moscow and Beijing, although our government appears to be behaving like the victim of a sting or scam who is too embarrassed to report a crime to the police or ‘the penny hasn’t dropped yet’.
Dark Statecraft with an EU Flavour
Subversive activity by one country against another by its very nature is clandestine, nebulous and constantly evolving. Its objective is intended by a hostile government to get another government to acquiesce where it would otherwise choose differently. Tactics include tricking, trapping, deceiving, pretending (friendship), infiltrating agents (of change or influence), concealing true intentions, moving the target government (unknowingly) along an increasingly subservient pathway, exploiting vulnerabilities, undermining authority (of target government), manipulating information and data (misinformation, disinformation and being ‘economical with the truth’).
Up to date thinking on Soft Warfare is provided by Shen Weiguang, a Chinese information-warfare specialist, who has written about tactics ‘disrupting the enemy’s cognitive system and its trust system’ and ‘If a population loses faith in its government or military, the adversary has won,’ (see The Third World War – Total Information Warfare). Obviously, this presents real threats to a country’s well-being and is hostile activity.
From its very beginnings as the European Coal and Steel Community, the EU, as described in considerable detail by Christopher Booker and Richard North in The Great Deception, has had a darker side to its statecraft. Jean-Claude Juncker (President of the European Commission) on the EU’s modus operandi said ‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie’ and ‘We decide on something, leave it lying around and wait and see what happens. If no one kicks up a fuss, because most people don’t understand what has been decided, we continue step by step until there is no turning back.’
Thus any dark statecraft against the UK is not an isolated case. Rather it is a continuation of a long standing policy, custom and practice, sometimes with tragic consequences, as for example, in the Ukraine. The EU’s actions contributed to civil unrest, an effective coup and the current conflict.
The EU Turned their Dark Statecraft against the UK
Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has flamboyantly called the EU’s Article 50 behaviour a Declaration of War and explained further to the Financial Times how from the beginning this was not a negotiation in good faith. How the EU quickly turned it into a one sided route to total domination of the ‘negotiations’ and a series of capitulations by the UK is explained further by Tom McTague on Politico EU, 4-2-2019, in How the UK Lost the Brexit Battle. This included intervening to terminate continuing discussions and border proposals between the UK and Irish governments.
John Petley has also written about the draft Withdrawal Agreement actually being written in Berlin in A German Brexit ? A scandal of subversive statecraft. Whilst uncorroborated there is circumstantial evidence. Veterans for Britain also have done extensive work to expose the EU’s clandestine efforts to take over the UK’s defence capabilities (for example, see The Exit Deal – Defence Risks and Booby Traps)
The authority of the UK’s negotiators appears to have been repeatedly undermined by the EU (European Commission and heads of some governments of the Member States). Despite international treaties, such as the Withdrawal Agreement, being negotiated by governments, they have repeatedly had meetings with other parties who have an interest in undermining government policy, stability and continuation in office. The Labour Party’s policy for a Customs Union (somewhat erroneously marketed as providing frictionless trade) coincides with an EU objective and negotiations planning explained by Tom McTague, Jacopo Barigazzi and Jakob Hanke on Politico 13-11-2018 Brussels seeks permanent post-Brexit customs union.
There is evidence of the EU leaders repeatedly misleading Mrs May and her negotiating team. For example, that the four freedoms of the Single Market are not indivisible, yet the EU has inserted text into the draft Withdrawal Agreement to allow them (the EU) to exercise that option to limit freedom of movement from the UK into the EU (refer to Article 18, Safeguards, Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland). Then there was also the undue pressure exerted through their insistence that ‘nothing is agreed until everything is agreed’ whilst including subjects that should have been outside the scope such as the Irish Backstop.
The EU’s faux intransigence is not in keeping with the EU’s laws and treaty obligations and how they introduce new laws. Local or national transitional arrangements (which delay full implementation) do occur to reduce adverse economic effects or where technical issues exist. In some cases requirements may take years to be implemented. Workarounds then are possible.
It could all have been so Different and Better for Everyone
The future for any negotiation with the EU does not look promising given what has happened so far. Can we trust the EU to negotiate fairly or will they treat any UK negotiation team to another dose of dark statecraft? Yet the EU itself and the Single Market are in urgent need of reform. Brexit should have been a wake-up call to start constructively addressing the issues of today and the challenges of tomorrow, instead of reverting to less than reputable behaviour against a long-standing friendly neighbour.