Would you fight for the EU?

 

Foreign policy is ultimately about war and peace. Countries which pursue strong foreign policies need armies and navies to defend them. The politicians who decide and pursue the foreign policy need to carry their whole country with them if their policy entails taking up arms. Sending our military personnel into conflict requires the loyalty and consent of the public in a democracy.

That is why I do not want the EU to have a foreign policy. I am pleased to say that Baroness Ashton cannot yet  command armies and navies. The EU’s foreign policy only has force behind it if the main military powers in the EU are prepared to commit their forces. The danger in the current situation is that the EU will become more and more assertive in foreign policy until the point is reached where member states will be expected to commit forces to support their policy or correct their mistakes. Who then will want to fight for a cause which unelected officials in Brussels have pursued, loosely organised by member states who may have disagreed about the policy at the time?

Let us take the case of EU policy towards the Ukraine. Many people in the UK and doubtless elsewhere in the EU think the EU overreached itself by supporting the uprising against an unpleasant elected President. The EU  pushed for a wide ranging Association Agreement between the Ukraine and the EU in a way which was bound to provoke Russia. The result of the EU’s rash action was entirely predictable. Russia had the force, the EU had none in the area, so the Crimea was taken over easily by Russia. Many people in the Crimea were willing supporters of this move, as they had been alarmed by the pro EU Ukrainian interim government’s stated wish to ban Russian as an official language in the Ukraine, before that idea was withdrawn. The EU now complains about how it was done after the event. Why wasn’t it able to foresee the likely outcome before it blundered in?

Maintaining support for our armed forces and committing them  where there is agreement about the national interest in so doing is a crucial role for a democracy. The UK has shown in recent years that where consent breaks down, as it began to with the war in Iraq, our forces are placed in a difficult position and our democracy strains to adjust. How much more difficult if in future our forces could be expected to pick up  the pieces from some crass foreign policy error made by the EU when many UK voters disagreed both with the policy and with the body undertaking it.

I do not detect much willingness to fight for the EU amongst most of my electors. Having a Foreign Policy Supremo and an EU foreign policy is many bridges too far for me. I am afraid that the EU will end up drawing its member states into ill thought through conflicts where there is insufficient loyalty and support for the policy.

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91 Comments

  1. Duyfken
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Were the EU ever to raise an army to fight its wars, it would seem essential that the UK revitalised and redirected its own armed forces, not to assist the EU but to be used as a counter to and defence against it.

    The question may be re-phrased: not “would you fight for the EU?” but “would you fight against the EU?”

    • Mark W
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Well, against it of course yes

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Duyfken–I was thinking exactly this when I got to the end of John’s note for today but you have said it for me. Can it really be true, possible even, that the EU had any part in the preposterously daft attempt to ban Russian as an official language in Ukraine? The EU was duly given a bloody nose and about time too. It wants to be careful or it might suffer worse. Of course Cameron has it all wrong and has talked and is continuing to talk provocative nonsense on this subject.

      • Timaction
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

        Cameron is shoulder to shoulder with his EU political masters and bluster about sanctions. The USA was also behind this EU policy for its own interests.
        If ever there was an example why we must get out of this dictatorship and the expansionist plans of the EU, this is it. Remember this was the first steps of them joining the EU with other nations like Turkey. Our Country is being overrun by incremental mass migration and Treaty stealth. When will the English people wake up? There is only one solution.

      • APL
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

        Leslie Singleton: “Can it really be true, possible even, that the EU had any part in the preposterously daft attempt to ban Russian as an official language in Ukraine?”

        What we have just witnessed is the limitations of the EU’s much vaunted ‘soft power projection’. Anyone else would call subversive activities in a foreign country.

        Stand by for the EU to try to beef up its actual power projection abilities.

      • Dan H.
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        What has happened here was entirely predictable, and the consequences will be equally predictable. Russia only really understands and respects pure force; in the end with Russia everything comes down to how hard you can hit militarily; diplomacy is all about two rivals talking fairly peaceably to resolve an argument without coming to blows.

        EU diplomacy is thus fatally flawed, since the EU has no military to call its own and thus the veiled threat of military action does not exist; Putin understands this which is why he feels free to act whilst the EU squawks on the sidelines like a wet hen. Ultimately the EU has lost this and every future confrontation until it gains a military it can call its own, and actively demonstrates an ability to use this military aggressively.

        This is really why Britain gets involved with foreign military adventures from time to time, and why even fairly passive nations like France do the same. In order to play the great game of diplomacy successfully, there has to be a known threat behind the words. The EU has no such veiled threat, thus it will always lose.

        • sjb
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

          Dan H wrote: The EU has no such veiled threat [use of military], thus it will always lose.

          Two months ago, Ukraine was under the Russian sphere of influence; now it has signed an association agreement with the EU. Former Russian satellites such as the Baltic states and a number of the Eastern European countries are members of the EU. That seems a stunning victory to me.

          • Silver Fox
            Posted March 26, 2014 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

            Victory for whom?

    • Hope
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Your party gives the EU everything it wants, as do the other Europhile parties. We hear another£800 million will be given to the EU this year because the UK economy is improving, is this an indirect bail out or budget increase? £1 billion of UK taxpayers’ money went to the dictator of Belerus to fight dissents, what did Cameron do about the misuse of our money?

      Cameron signed an agreement with France to join forces, most of us are against this- we have NATO and there is no need for such an agreement other than to form an EU army by stealth. Something you confirmed would not happen on this blog site after speaking to Liam Fox when he was defence secretary.

      Why does the UK taxpayer pay for a FCO and an EU foreign office, Cameron was allegedly so against the Lisbon Treaty which gave the EU the legal status of a country and allowsthem to make treaties in our name without us having a say (Cameron warned us of this) a forum for Ashton and Co to turn up at world summit meetings. What has Cameron done? He warned us about the dangers of Lisbon Treaty, look at Youtube if you want reminding. Cameron has been a total disaster on everything related to the EU.

      Today the Hungarian EU commisioner confirms the EU will take the UK to the EU court to fight against benefit tourism as it is discriminatory against EU citizens. The UK has already lost the financial court case recently without a mention from Cameron. Yet, Cameron pledges to fight heart and soull to stay in. Says it all really.

      • bigneil
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

        Also read that as we have been so successful, we are to pay the EU an EXTRA £800m this year. So how does the country get out of debt when the better we are – – the more we have to give away ? how the hell does the debt get paid? -What a ludicrous set up.

    • Martin Ryder
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Duyfken – I wholeheartedly agree with you.

      Our Armed Forces MUST be kept separate from anything that the EU cooks up, so that they might be free to defend the UK against the EU Commission should it decide one day to take military action (using French and German troops) against HMG because we are not obeying their rules. The same goes for our Police and Judges; they must be totally free from the EU.

  2. arschloch
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    If conscription ever came back to the UK and judging from our most recent entanglements overseas and what the UK is turning into, I would be happy to be the father of a “draft dodger”. I would send my son to live with his relatives overseas. Its not just a question of would you fight for the EU, but would you bother for the UK anymore?

    • Bob
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      @arschloch

      Its not just a question of would you fight for the EU, but would you bother for the UK anymore?

      Due to divide and rule social engineering and gerrymandering actions of various political leaders over the past thirty or so years we have lost our sense national unity. Exactly the outcome the EU was designed for.

      I suspect that conscription EUtopia’s eventual solution.

    • Mark B
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      arschloch

      Loyalty is a two way thing. Our political class expect loyalty and professionalism from our armed forces, even in a hostile environment yet, as we have seen over the years, they do not seem to want to live by the standards they set for others.

      Under such conditions, is it any wonder why people lose loyalty and passion for their nation and its elected leaders and show such distain.

      • APL
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

        Mark B: “Our political class expect loyalty and professionalism from our armed forces,”

        Wasn’t it that (word left out ed) Blair that usurped the authority of the Crown over the armed forces?

    • APL
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      arschloch: “but would you bother for the UK anymore?”

      It’s sad, but I agree.

    • Tony Harrison
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely agree. Fight for the EU, that undemocratic melange of bureaucrats and foreign greasy-pole climbers? Not a chance. In principle I’d fight for my country, England, but there’s a serious problem with political credibility and legitimacy: our political leaders in recent decades have been so sub-par that the idea of putting my life on the line at their behest has seemed grotesque. This was egregiously so when John Prescott was Deputy PM: imagine his being thrust into power and then suddenly being faced with taking this country to war! It’s a horrible bad joke of an idea. I’d refuse to be conscripted and they could try to force me but I’d fight them. And like you, I’d send my son abroad.
      Fight for the EU, or (most of the time) for our own set of careerist politicos? The idea is disgusting.

    • sjb
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      That reminds me of the apocryphal story about a Vietnam draft dodger and a sympathetic nun. She agreed to hide him under her robes until the military police had left. When the danger had passed he thanked her and added: “I could not fail to notice that you are built like a man.” To which she replied: “I do not want to go to Vietnam either.”

    • Lifelogic
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

      I would not want to fight for the UK under people like Bliar and heart and soul Cameron. I would only fight for a good cause, that we could win and under a leader with a working compass.

  3. alan jutson
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I suppose to guard against the possible situation you outline, the EU foreign policy should be under the direct control of all Government Foreign Secretaries, who have a simple veto on any vote, which has to be passed by 100% of its members for it to become policy.

    Likewise the EU should not be able to stop an individual Country from using its own troops to defend its own territory or interests in its own name.

    Certainly under no circumstances should any Country or group of Countries be able to commit anthers armed forces to conflict.

    • stred
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      Good idea. Better still have no Foreign Minister or embassies. Just have a meeting of foreign ministers from Ireland to Boratsville, Sweden to Greece, then no decisions will be possible and they will avoid any more mistakes.

      Now they have the UKraine to support and use our taxes for, here are some guesses about EU policy.

      1. Close down all the nasty old nukes supplying much of the electricity. Put up lots of windmills instead and then use more Russian gas as backup.

      2. Let banks buy up the potentially rich wheat growing farms and milk CAP subsidies.

      3. Close down large areas of soviet style factories and put up prices to EU levels. Find jobs in the rest of the EU for the unemployed.

      4. Lend or give lots of cash to support the impoverished population.

      Then find jobs for all the southern EU with millions of young folks umemployed. Perhaps they could be conscripted to the( word left out ed) army.

    • Bob
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      @AJ

      EU foreign policy should be under the direct control of all Government Foreign Secretaries, who have a simple veto on any vote

      Vetoe powers of EU members are granted on a temporary basis, and removed in favour of Qualified Majority voting when circumstances permit. It’s just a ratcheting process.

    • Bryan
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      No way would I want Hague voting to get me and mine killed!

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        Bryan

        I would agree with you if it was the EU, but Mr Hague along with any other member of Parliament can vote on the UK going it alone should they so wish.

  4. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    And what is more the Ukraine problems are indicative of the sort of deliberate and inflammatory tactics the EU supporters( or conversley opposers ) of enlargement are willing to undertake to gain ground. Imagine if following the inward migration of many from the east began to outnumber the natives in this Country then we had a dictatorial government which was overthrown and an interim government said that we were no longer allowed to use English as our mother tongue, how we would react.
    That provocative move though may not have originated from pro European sources. It is just so blatant as to be realistic.

  5. Mark W
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    To your original question. Would I fight for the EU? No, but I’d cheer on anyone fighting against it (the institution NOT the peoples).

    Putin has been my champion in this conflict for bloodying the nose of the EU. It’s merely a bonus that it suits the people of Crimea. I get sick of the feigned outrage against the original protesters treatment by the defensive elected Ukraine govermemt when similar actions by governments elsewhere are ignored.

    The EU has annexed our country with no democratic mandate. If those Russian helicopter gunships had flown onto the EU parliament building I couldn’t have been happier.

  6. matthu
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    “Would you fight for the EU?”

    No. Why would I? I wouldn’t even attend a street party for the EU.

  7. rick hamilton
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    This arrogance on the part of EU ‘leaders’ is the source of the delusion that the EU has kept the peace since WW2. That accolade rightly belongs to NATO. I believe it was the prospect of the naval base at Sevastopol eventually falling into the hands of NATO which has pushed Putin into his annexation of Crimea.

    Looking at the gang of overprivileged self-important failed pols and jumped up paperpushers who run the EU it is all too easy to imagine some catastrophic misjudgement. Our military personnel could be put in harm’s way just to save face in Brussels.

    The quicker we free ourselves from political involvement with the EU and stick with a purely trading relationship the better.

  8. Douglas Carter
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Tempting as it is to answer that question, it’s academic.

    In consideration of the manner in which loyal serving personnel have been treated by successive British Governments across the past twenty years, I’d seek reasons to justify entering a conflict even solely administered by a British Government. The chances of being kicked in the metaphorical teeth scant months after doing so would appear to be too high to bother making the effort.

    PIRA have justification in believing they’re subject to greater respect and priority from some of our serving MPs…..

  9. Richard1
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    This is a good line of argument which should be used in the election to persuade people to vote Conservative. A renegotiation would have to include making it clear that the UK will not be drawn into wars at the behest of the EU bureaucracy. We cannot blame Lady Ashton for taking on a highly paid and supposedly prestigious job when it was offered to her, but we should remind voters that it was the Labour government which signed the treaty which created her position.

    • APL
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      Richard1: “A renegotiation would have to include making it clear that the UK will not be drawn into wars at the behest of the EU bureaucracy.”

      Have you heard the insane rubbish being spouted by William Hague, lately?. He is supposed to be a Tory, he was thought to be an Eurosceptic.

      There was a time in the ’70s and ’80s when mercenaries were frowned upon, that is all Hague is now, a Political Mercenary.

      No honour, just in it for the prestige of killing people.

    • cornishstu
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Please! Richard, there can be no realistic renegotiation, we are either in or out and the sooner every one accepts this as fact the better.

      • Richard1
        Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

        I don’t agree. If it becomes clear to Germany in particular, but also to many other EU govts, that there will be a referendum in the UK they will bend over backwards to keep the UK in. Given the UK is the only EU country not in the Euro nor committed to join, nor linked to the Euro, there is a clear case for a wide ranging special deal for the UK. A sort of Switzerland whilst still a member.

        By it needs a majority Conservative govt.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          Yes, well, Cameron has gone on the record stating that one of his seven aims is to free the UK from the fundamental commitment to a process of “ever closer union” prescribed in the present treaties, so he would be held to that if it happened that he was in a position to attempt a renegotiation.

          http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/10700644/David-Cameron-the-EU-is-not-working-and-we-will-change-it.html

          “And dealing properly with the concept of “ever closer union”, enshrined in the treaty, to which every EU country now has to sign up. It may appeal to some countries. But it is not right for Britain, and we must ensure we are no longer subject to it.”

        • Bob
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:51 am | Permalink

          @Richard1

          … they will bend over backwards to keep the UK in.

          Yes, but just to achieve their desired referendum result – but they already have form on this kind of thing, and would soon start the ratcheting process all over again to get us back in line, while insisting that we’d had our referendum and decided to remain a subsidiary.

          If we leave and negotiate trade terms we can choose areas of EU policy that suit us and leave those that don’t. What’s the problem?

          • Richard1
            Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            Might rather frighten the horses.

            I’m not sure we won’t get the EU to stick to a deal. The Thatcher rebate and the Major opt-outs survived until Labour deliberately gave them up.

          • Bob
            Posted March 25, 2014 at 8:38 am | Permalink


            The Thatcher rebate and the Major opt-outs survived until Labour deliberately gave them up.

            You’ve just agreed with me, they’ll last until they’re given up – it’s how the ratcheting process works Richard.

        • APL
          Posted March 24, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

          Richard1: “If it becomes clear to Germany in particular, but also to many other EU govts, that there will be a referendum in the UK they will bend over backwards to keep the UK in.”

          You bet they will.

          Just like they bent over backward trying to get Ukraine into the EU. Did much for Ukraine? I think not.

          That is one major problem with the EU that nobody talks about. We have been fortunate to live in a period where many of the ancient rivalries have taken second or third place, during that time our political class have (1)imported new sectarian hatreds.

          (2) with a series of European Treaties, given other European Union countries new claims over our country and its resources that may take centuries to settle.

          Utter reckless incompetence.

  10. formula57
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Valid though your conclusion is, being ” I am afraid that the EU will end up drawing its member states into ill thought through conflicts where there is insufficient loyalty and support for the policy.” there is surely no reason to be concerned about that, rather to rejoice at the opportunities it presents, provided always that we have previously negotiated the usual British opt out.

  11. bluedog
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    JR says, ‘ I am pleased to say that Baroness Ashton cannot yet command armies and navies. ‘

    If and when she does, these EU forces will be deployed internally to suppress dissent as much as externally to repel foreign adventurism. All in the interests of keeping the peace in Europe, of course.

  12. Andyvan
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I don’t think you should restrict criticism to the EU’s handling of the crisis it and America provoked. Washington, Berlin, London, Brussels and every other western gang have attempted to interfere and provoke Russia.
    I think it would be a huge step forward for mankind if people did refuse to fight at the orders of the elites. Governments and their wars have killed countless numbers and destroyed untold wealth throughout history. 200 million+ deaths directly attributable to government actions just in the last 100 years.
    You mention Iraq, Mr Redwood. What possible interest or advantage does a UK citizen have in flying thousands of miles to invade and subjugate Iraqis? The people that do gain advantage are the arms manufacturers and other corporate profiteers that make vast sums through the death and destruction.
    If having an EU military is what it takes to destroy the myth of fighting for your country then bring it on. More likely however is that people would still allow themselves to be brainwashed into believing the propaganda that spews from mainstream media.

    • sm
      Posted March 26, 2014 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      Agreed.
      If you dig hard enough you can find evidence of governments allowing or at least not preventing trading with the enemy during times of war. Some people argue that a war is an engineered distraction from the excesses of fractional reserve banking blowouts to benefit certain interests.

      Democracy & peace has to be jealously guarded. A very poor job has been done by our lot.

      I would only support a war if MP’s family members were drafted in frontline roles.

  13. The PrangWizard
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I wholly agree. My sympathies have been with Russia since the armed overthrow of the Ukraine President. Putin could not risk the naval base at Sevastopol falling into foreign hands and had no alternative but to protect Russia’s interests. The regime in Ukraine is of dubious honesty, the man in charge has tempered his rhetoric while he’s out and about courting the West but he has said some very dangerous things and has some very extremist colleagues. A consequence of the referendum has been to enliven pro-Russian sentiment in the east of Ukraine the outcome of which is uncertain and may lead to more problems, but the armed uprising, supported and encouraged by the EU and the US, was the start of it all.

    Equally disturbing is the anti-Russian rhetoric from the likes of Cameron and Hague and they are of course in a group bent on stoking up heat, along with our media, and it wouldn’t do to seem weak in the gang culture which is operating. They would be better off urging restraint. They seem determined to insult Russia as much as possible. This is dangerous and foolish at best. They, and we as unwilling participants, may come to regret it and for the sake of us all they should at least keep quiet.

  14. Chris Wintle
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Apsolutely no chance as it has diminished our own constitution, I am a big supporter of EFTA and we had a chance to join it in the 60,s when Harold Macmillan was PM, Politicians lied about political union as they knew about it when the Treaty of Rome was orchestrated, EFTA with trade links is the way forward with National Governments who we pay

    • bluedog
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Membership history of EFTA. Note UK membership during the 1960’s up to 1973: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Free_Trade_Association#Membership_history

    • Mark B
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      We were founder members of EFTA but left to join the then, EEC.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        We were at sixes and sevens.

        Well, the choice was constantly presented as being between joining the Six (EEC) or staying with the Seven (EFTA), explanation and map here:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inner_Six

        Our politicians made the wrong choice by deciding that our country had no long term future as an independent sovereign state, and by adding our weight, and also dragging in Ireland and Denmark at the same time, they gave an enormous impetus to the growth of what has since become the EU.

  15. Brian Tomkinson
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    JR: “Having a Foreign Policy Supremo and an EU foreign policy is many bridges too far for me.”
    Not for your leader and Hague though, their pro-EU credentials shine more each day.
    In reply to your direct question my answer is ‘no’. I want this country to leave the imprisonment of that anti-democratic foreign organisation as soon as possible.

  16. nigel
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    What do you expect when you put a completely inexperienced “placeman” as your Foreign Minister?

  17. oldtimer
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    You make fundamental points with which I fully agree. Where we are today risks over zealous officials deliberately engineering situations where the EU and its member states are dragged deeper into dangerous situations. I do not know enough about the current Ukrainian situation to judge if that happened in this instance. But the history of nation states is littered with examples of factions that have actively sought to provoke conflicts. It is easy to see how this could happen with supra national organisations which seek to extend their power and influence.

  18. James Sutherland
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    An ironic dilemma, of course, given how often we have been fed the excuse for the EU that if it didn’t exist, we’d all have been invaded by Germany or something! Those using it are misattributing NATO’s achievements to the EU, of course, but it now seems they also misunderstand the EU itself as it seeks to acquire the trappings of statehood, armed forces and all.

    To answer the headline question – there are things I would fight for – but the EU itself certainly isn’t one of them. If the EU were threatened by foreign aggression, such as an expansionist Russia, I might fight against that aggressor – but that would be as a part of NATO, defending NATO members, as well as a general principle, nothing to do with the EU. (I’d be willing to fight to protect other countries from aggression too: if, say, Australia or Canada were attacked, I would want to support them as they supported us in past conflicts.)

  19. Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    NO but I would gladly take up arms against the European Union even if that leads to civil war in the Former United Kingdom (FUK)

  20. Denis Cooper
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    JR, with your permission I would like to just repeat my comment from several threads back rather than composing one afresh.

    There’s the EU, which has wide-ranging territorial ambitions but at present lacks the military muscle to ensure the defence of the new territories it acquires.

    Then there’s NATO, which willingly provides the military muscle that the EU still lacks, and the intimacy of the link between the two is revealed when Eurocorps describes itself as “A Force for NATO and the European Union”.

    And so then there is the US, which provides most of the military muscle to NATO and not only supports the territorial ambitions of the EU but apparently still harbours a Cold War desire to finish off Russia for good.

    I refer to this combination as the “EU/NATO/US troika”, because the three of them are all in close harness side by side pulling in the same direction.

    And for a long time one planned direction of travel has been around and across the Black Sea and across the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea, and then across the Caspian Sea to Central Asia; once again I offer a handy map showing that once Cameron had achieved his stated, insane, objective of the EU stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals it would not just be a case of Russia being encircled to the south it would be Russia split into two along the line of the Urals and the greatly enlarged EU, for which also read the UK, having borders with China and Iran and nearly with Mongolia, and no doubt later with Afghanistan:

    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/middle_east_and_asia/caucasus_central_asia_pol_2009.jpg

    And of course the British people would never be asked directly whether they wanted any of this to happen, because when he wrote his “referendum lock” law Hague deliberately exempted all treaties for the accession of new countries to the EU.

  21. Bert Young
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The sad thing about the EU/Ukraine situation is the simple fact that one or two individuals decided the timing was right to try to their hand in other peoples’ affairs . The dissent in the Ukraine has nothing to do with outsiders and can only be resolved by their own ballot box . The EU is not a cohesive entity and should not try to act as such ; we should not pretend that we have the right or the whack to support intervention there either in our guise as “members” , or , as a follow up to Obama’s weak foreign policy . If ever the EU succeeds in having its own military force , it will be subject to the same ineffective undemocratic decisions coming from Brussels . I will never have any faith in it and would never support it . I am shocked that Wm. Hague has said what he has – I had always considered him to be an intelligent and careful politician ; he has either become misguided in his older age or completely overwhelmed by the influence of Washington . Europe has been the death bell for many individuals and nations over many hundreds of years and this history ought to be clear enough for any present day politician to wise up to .

  22. ian wragg
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    As someone who served in Nuclear Subs during the 60’s and early 70’s helping to contain the Soviet threat I am appalled that we have degraded our forces to such an extent that Putin feels free to act as he does.
    Britain must never go into battle on behalf of the dictatorial un-democratic EUssr. Any leader that proposed it would I hope be toppled immediately.
    The EUssr is a dangerous set up and the sooner we leave the better.

  23. William Long
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    It is quite clear from the Ukraine debacle that the EU now sees itself as a proselytising entity bent on expanding its reach. This is hugely dangerous and another compelling reason for us to withdraw. The dangers are compounded by the clear attraction to the present Government (and to be fair it is probably not much different to any others we might have) of another opportunity to look good by interfering in the affairs of other nations.

  24. BobE
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    This German led european superstate will cause a war with Russia in the end. They are historical enemies. We must get out of it.

  25. Lesley
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    If the UK government says Yes, then our Armed Forces have no choice.

  26. MickC
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Of course no-one would fight for the EU.

    However, the question is rather irrelevant because the era of mass conscript armies slugging it out is long gone, certainly in Europe.

    Conflict involving any of the “major powers” is now done by small professional armed forces, together with hi-tech equipment. Conflict between them would rapidly escalate into a nuclear exchange. Past leaders were wise enough to avoid that, but I’m not so sure about the current crop judging by their present performance.

    The real point is not whether “we” would fight, but whether our leaders would commit our small professional forces to do so. Thank God Cameron got a bloody nose when he tried to get us into Syria.

    However, it doesn’t seem to stop him mouthing off about the Crimea and the Ukraine-where Russia was backed into a corner and had no real choice but to act to protect its interests. Another example of the EUs incompetence, to rank alongside the Yugoslavian break-up which was encouraged by the late German Foreign Minister, Lambsdorff.

    Off topic, i watched your talk about “the financial establishment” on the BBC Parliament channel last night. It was an excellent overview of the errors of the past, and why politicians accountable to the people should always remain in control, rather than appointed “experts”.

  27. Mark B
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    In answer to the headline question: No !

    As for UK foreign policy – we do not have one. From now on, until we leave the EU, we only have a, ‘common foreign policy.’ A policy discussed and agreed between 28 Member States, all with their own agenda’s, interests and petty grievances. As such, we will be dragged into supporting matter we necessarily do not agree with or, be out-voted on matters we would consider important to us.

    The one question I would like to ask is; “should the EU ever fight a war, in which flag will drape the coffins of those young men, and increasingly, young British women ?

  28. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    However, when citing Iraq we need to remember that we, and others, took up arms to kick Sadam out of Kuwait. Kuwait was freed successfully, but that operation never came to a conclusion, partly because Sadam attacked the Kurds and Marsh Arabs in his own country, and we, and others, decided we could not stand aside and let let happen, especially as Bush senior spoke out of turn which became a prompt to the civil strife.

    The Iraq war which is widely condemned was the invasion of Iraq. But those who condemn such action have never offered a credible alternative as to how to disengage.

    As to Ukraine, a more recent stimulus to Russian action was the “West’s” policy on Syria, which was at odds with Russian policy. A couple of years on it is not too difficult to see who had the best policy – best that if is you care about human life rather than playing international power politics from a position of weakness.

  29. Alan Wheatley
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Who do you mean by “you”?

    Watching the several TV programmes about the lead up to and outbreak of WW1, they provided a reminder of how things were then and how different they are now.

    Then the National feeling was that fighting was the right thing to do, and there was no shortage of volunteers ready and will to join the cause in support of their country’s foreign policy.

    Now, in multi-cultural Britain, I doubt (short of invasion) there would be anything like the same support. And this would be especially so if the conflict split with a significant religious element.

  30. behindthefrogs
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    It is not a matter of the EU having a foriegn policy or even an army, for which i would basically be in favour. What is needed is for the decisions of unelected officials to be ratified by our elected representatives. The answer is thus no, not until the power is invested in the elected parliament.

    However if this were to happen we also need political groups like UKIP to recognise that election as an MEP carries with it a responsibilty to look after the interests of the UK and their constituents. Under the current situation where they abrigate these responsibilities I cannot understand how anyone could vote for UKIP in the upcoming elections.

    • Bob
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      @behindthefrogs

      Under the current situation where they abrigate [sic] these responsibilities

      Do you have evidence to support this assertion?

  31. matt_us
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Of course not, the EU has been set up to maintain peace, so nobody should fight for it.

    But, the EU has the superb advantage of representing the view of all nations in the EU.

    Clearly a great benefit in the current crisis. No little nations trying to protect their empire, or influence, as was the case 100 years ago.

    That jingoistic thinking obviously led to WW1, and the current crisis demonstrates that all nations within the EU have to stand together.

    The EU has been inept in its response to Russia, unable to understand Russia’s strategic view in Ukraine – and makes itself look ridiculous with paltry sanctions. It would have been better to do nothing. But the fact that all of Europe has to speak with one voice (EU 28) is one of the great advantages of the EU, and shows its force in keeping the peace.

    Just imagine how the crisis would have played out without an EU. There would have been possible splits between Europe, with one or the other part being influenced by Russia or the US. The fact that there is an institution to force 28 Prime Ministers to talk with one voice is of great value of keeping the peace in Europe.

    All the Eurosceptics should think about that carefully!

    • Mark B
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      No ! The EU was set up to rid Europe of the Nation State and to create in their place a Supranational Government.

      There would have been no crisis had the EU not existed, because this crises was instigated by that very so called peaceful construct.

      Whilst we have the 28 member EU, we also have the 47 members, including Russia and Ukraine, of the Council of Europe. The US, Canada and Japan also have ‘observer membership’.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_of_Europe

      And on top of that we have the UN. The EU is what it is. And what it is, is our Supreme Government. To call it anything other than this, either shows naivety or deception.

      Why people believe, or wish others to believe that it is something else, despite all the evidence to the contrary, truly astounds me.

    • bigneil
      Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

      “The fact that there is an institution to force 28 Prime Ministers to talk with one voice” . . . . .so if you force 28 PMs to say the same thing . . .isn’t that a waste of 28 govts? . . .and also becomes just one massive UNELECTED dictatorship? . . .”say the same as us or else we will not give you millions of money ripped off the UK”.
      Have read in the DT that we are to pay the EU an extra £800m because we have done so well . . .what? . . .and Cameron is borrowing money ??? . . insanity.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      If as you say the EU was set up to maintain peace and nobody should fight for it what is the purpose of Eurocorps, which describes itself as “A Force for NATO and the European Union”?

      http://www.eurocorps.org/

      Does that mean that although it is a force for the European Union it would never fight for the European Union?

  32. forthurst
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    “Many people in the UK and doubtless elsewhere in the EU think the EU overreached itself by supporting the uprising against an unpleasant elected President.”

    So the EU went a bit too far in assisting the Ukrainian people in overthrowing their elected President who transpired to have been unpleasant?

    I do not have any information that the President was unpleasant; I do have information that the EU (did not seem to condemn? ed) acts of murder committed by ‘opposition’ snipers in the Maidan and the subsequent violent overthrow of a government which had not attempted to deploy troops, despite their being faced with an armed uprising, the ‘opposition’ having raided a military armoury, having previously raided numerous other government buildings.

    The EU’s conduct has been outrageous, a gross interference in the affairs of another state, and above all, totally unnecessary and entirely inexplicable to most people in whose name its crimes were committed.

    We need to get out of the EU and distance ourselves from US foreign policy whilst its State department is under neocon direction, and refuse to co-operate with NATO, whilst acting as a renegade force in support of US world hegemony.

  33. Tom
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    A hypothetical situation, civil unrest in a future UK against a decision made by a federal europe against the wishes of the local people , supported by the local police force. Consider who would enforce the decision, using what force.Just a thought.

  34. Stevie
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Hi John,
    Unless the UK was directly under threat of invading armies I would put all the politicians, senior civil servants and all the armed forces gas bags who advocate that we should go to war to prevent invasions into countries we are not connect to should be in the front line of the battles. Let them die before asking me or my family to do so. Looking back in history if that had happened many of the thousands of British service men would not have died in vain.

  35. Antisthenes
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    The whole basis for the EU existence was to make it’s member states citizens more prosperous and secure. Neither of these things are being achieved to levels that makes it’s existence worth the loss of sovereignty or the downgrading of individuals democratic rights. Although there have been gains particularly for Germany because of the weak euro and an enlarged captive home market and France because all the rules and regulations that emanate from Brussels have protected it from open competition which given their labour costs and practices they could not in the end withstand there have been many states who have suffered huge losses. The UK I suspect has lost more from membership than it has gained and as time goes on will find that loss mounting. As for making EU citizens more secure this recent debacle has shown that to be a sham especially with Obama in the White House. It would appear that the USA can no longer be counted on for support because they now look more to the west than the east and the Democrats are becoming increasingly more left wing and therefore more incompetent and indecisive. Internal security whereby one European Nation does not fight another one reason for EU existence it is now clear that the EU did not need to be formed to ensure this as through NATO, trade and cross border cooperation that is of mutual benefit was sufficient. Of course the EU never lets a crisis go to waste as with the euro problems they will now be calling for greater integration and of course as usual the europhiles always happy to give more of UK sovereignty and freedoms away and being more of them than sceptics will go along with it so we will all be landed with that European paradise the EUSSR.

  36. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    The EU has found that it can subvert the will of it’s own people, ie. Ireland, Greece, Italy, Holland, and France by either sending them back to vote again or in the case of Italy and Greece just putting their own placemen in. They have even got away with the theft of peoples private wealth in Cyprus. I do not care how black the money they stole might be, the EU were outside the law and piratical.
    The real insanity of the situation is that the majority of our politicians and foreign office civil servants want more of this corrupt totalitarian fest. Naturally none of them, in person, will be pouring over the border into the Ukraine to promote the EU cause further. They are only too happy to sacrifice the youth of the country, as ever was.
    So the answer John is no. No involvement in this EU stupidity and a big yes to getting out of the EU for good. They have stupidity and incompetence exuding from every pore.

  37. Lifelogic
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Would you fight for the EU. Almost certainly not it depends on the full circumstances. But we might well have to fight against the EUSSR that is it rapidly developing into.

    It is not a workable Demos and can never be a valid democracy even if the EU were trying to make it one. Clearly the EU, the BBC and cast iron ratting Cameron types are trying to avoid any democratic input.

    I see it is reported that Cameron is now “neck and neck” with Miliband in the polls! He still has no chance at all without a UKIP deal he will shortly come a poor third in the MEP elections. The odds are about 7/2 for an overall Tory Majority but I would want far better odd than that to place any bets.

    Cameron failed even to sort out the voting systems and if he won, he would clearly rat for a second time. His heart and soul would let him do nothing else. Better off with the dreadful Miliband I tend to think, he cannot be any worse. If Cameron ever does looks like winning we will get an EU promise from Miliband which will be far more credible than one from Cameron.

  38. Max Dunbar
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Fight for the EU? No.
    Fight for the government? No.
    Fight for my country? Yes.

  39. They Work for Us?
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the writer who said he would not mattend a street party for the EU let alone fight for them.
    As each day goes by it becomes clearer that our politicians cannot be trusted to take any major decision in the best interests of the UK. All major decisions should now be decided by referendum. Hague (and others) have too much ego and too much of a free hand. He should be recalled and told to mind his own business on the Ukraine and told his fortune on EU integration.
    I read with alarm that some aspects of the legal code on inheritance and other matters may be amended to reflect Sharia law. Again our politicians have no right to do this sort of thing without a referendum. The dcemands of religious minoritirs who wish to make us be different must be – “Sorry but we do not (and will not) do that in this country.

  40. wodge
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the E U would fight for us if the Falklands situation should arise again?

  41. Posted March 23, 2014 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    No I would not fight for the eu which is riddled with extremists.

    For too long our own Foreign Office has connived to encourage the eu to venture into these areas.

    Once the referendum on eu membership has concluded, if we decide to stay in then we should no longer tolerate paying twice over for these services. That means a drastic cull and demotion of F.O. staff.

    If F.O. mandarins want to keep their jobs and high salaries (and I predict that very few will find work in Brussels in the long term), they had better vote OUT in the referendum.

    Same goes for our MPs. If we vote to stay in, why would we need them?

  42. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Stuff the EU!

  43. walor
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Redwood and acolytes keep making statements to the effect that the EU, or the US, or whoever, conspired in ousting (ex-president) Yanukovich. What happened was the EU brokered a signed agreement between the then president and opponents bringing forward elections etc. Overnight, there was one of these peculiar ‘regime collapses’, with Yanukovich, police, etc nowhere to be seen. What happened? Yanukovich popped up a week later in Russia saying his life had been threatened and so he had fled, but no further explanation of which I am aware.

    Do you know a lot better what actually happened in Ukraine? I assume those who are so opinionated must do.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      How strange.

      On TV last night there was the leader of the revolutionary government in Kiev holding a meeting, he was sitting at the head of the table and to his right there were two flags – that of the Ukraine, and that of the EU.

      Also very strange.

  44. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    No, I would not fight for the EU. However, there may one day be a need to fight against it.

    Baroness Ashton cannot even command the English language, let alone armies and navies.

  45. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    What does “International Law” have to say about War, in particular what happens to Treaties afterwards? Soon many of this might be thinking this is the only way out. If anything like that happens it will have been forced upon us.

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Postscript–Oops–Should of course have been “of us”, not “of this”

  46. Posted March 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    My reaction to the situation in Ukraine is that modern politicians seem to give little thought as to where there policy is leading. There are times that I wonder if they have even looked at a map and know where Ukraine actually is. To me it seemed quite predictable that Russia would be far from happy if Ukraine got to close to the EU and that it would certainly be concerned about its naval base in Crimea. But seemingly those who pursued the EU policy which led to the present situation didn’t even think about the Russian point of view and the possible consequences, something that I find quite alarming.
    It would be more use if they thought about the Baltic states, and Estonia in particular which has a large Russian speaking minority. How safe are these states if Russia decides to secure its enclave of Kaliningrad? These are surely of far more concern to the EU and the west in general than the Ukraine.
    And, no, even if I were younger, I wouldn’t be prepared to fight for the EU.

  47. Tad Davison
    Posted March 23, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Brilliantly written and well argued John, as are most of the replies. It’s good to know there are so many people who refuse to lie down and just take the massive on-going con that is the EU.

    As an aside, there’s an interesting item on RT concerning the falsification of a BBC news story from Syria, and I recommend everyone sees it. It quotes an Al Jazeera news crew filming people who were made up to look like they were the wounded and even dead victims of a chemical attack carried out by the regime the West is seeking to topple. It claims the BBC then put it out as genuine whilst all the time knowing it was false.

    RT says the BBC have put out a statement standing by their original story, but I find the original Al Jazeera report most interesting. Perhaps it’s time the BBC finally revealed to the licence-fee payers, the identity of their puppet masters, and exactly whose politics are they so keen to promote whilst all the time trying to kid us all they are ‘the most trusted broadcaster’ and entirely neutral.

    Anyone out there fancy asking their MP to ask a question about it in the House of Commons on their behalf?

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

    Reply Where we have the BBC’s word against another broadcaster’s word it will take some independent enquiry to satisfy neutrals

  48. Peter Davies
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I’ll second Tad – an extremely well thought out article which serves as a reminder of what we are sleepwalking into in the UK. We hear it said that the EU is not top of the list of peoples concerns – I think that given what cascades from the EU in ever more stealthily ways and the consequences that come with it – it should be.

    After the Iraq debacle I don’t think I’m alone in questioning the motives of governments and what they get up to – at least in that instance the UK population had a voice and access to elected MPs to convey their messages – nothwithstanding the fact that most MPs allowed themselves to be woodwinked by that ***** Blair and his cronies.

    Play this type of scenario out in an EU sense (i.e decisions taken at EU level) we are talking about asking people to potentially go to war based on decisions made by people no one has voted for, no one has any loyalty to and the cause potentialy unknown to them. I read somewhere that the EU are planning the use of drones, not sure if true but stories like this serve as a reminder of what they are trying to build.

    In summary this is something we cannot and MUST not become part of. We have the NATO alliance which has served us well, we do not need to be part of a EUSSR.

  49. Neil Craig
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Note that the EU countries spend more than twice as much on “defence” as Russia. Britain alone spends 2/3rds as much as Russia. If we don’t have the defence forces it is because we spend it on putting boots on the ground in Afghanisatan & other parts of the world where there is little reason to be; bottoms on chairs in the Ministry of defence, who have nearly as many clerks as soldiers; and contracts, for example for aircraft carriers without aircraft, to favoured suppliers and the former PM’s constituency.

    We should decide what purpose our defence forces serve, how this can best be done and spend only on that. My answer is that we should keep sea lanes open, have a retaliatory capacity anywhere in the world and that’s about it, both of which can be achieved by a highly developed space capacity, aircraft, drones and submarines.

  50. REPay
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for this piece. I am afraid the EU’s expansionist tendencies are at the root of the present crisis and the cack-handed way they have read and dealt with the complexities of the volatile domestic politics of the Ukraine. It is difficult to feel anything but sympathy for Baroness Ashton who is used to work for CND and must be horrified at the dangerous situation to which she has been party. Let’s hope nothing more serious happens to spoil the claim that the EU prevents war in Europe. (Of course, it is democracy that is the most effective brake on warfare, but “on peut rêver”.

  51. Posted March 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Not Possible The EU is a peaceful organization, after all it has kept peace in Europe for the past 40 years.

  52. Jon
    Posted March 24, 2014 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    The EU has reversed it’s stance from wanting to break up sovereign states. There is a chance of a outer group not part of the Euro zone and federalism. The only people who will negotiate for that outer ring are the Conservatives which is where I will be voting in May.

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood has been the Member of Parliament for Wokingham since 1987. First attending Kent College, Canterbury, he graduated from Magdalen College, and has a DPhil from All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.
    Published and promoted by Thomas Puddy for John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU
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