In the lead up to Thursday’s referendum in Britain to leave or stay in the European Union, President Obama waded into the debate, declaring Britain should remain in the union. His rationale was that Western security would be threatened if Britain exited.
He was wrong and British people voted to leave.
The economic implications of leaving the European trading block are unknown, forecasts on both sides of the debate being mere speculation. But what is clear is that the security of the West is strengthened, not weakened by the break-up of the artificial and failing construct of the European Union.
Sovereign states are driven by self-interest. These interests include defense, the economy, welfare, services, and border controls. Throughout history, states, communities, and tribes have recognized that they cannot operate in isolation. They’ve formed allegiances with other groups. In fact, most states have been formed by such allegiances. And it’s happened organically and over considerable time until the moment is reached where borders are defined by landscape, language, culture and the inability to expand further due to confronting another state’s border.
Our greatest ally is democratic America, not unelected bureaucrats in Belgium. We know the value of true allegiances – those who come to help us, those we help, states we stand shoulder to shoulder with to fight tyranny.
The European Union was an out of control experiment. It started as purely a single market economic dynamic, not a security blanket. Defense of the West was and is covered by NATO – a military alliance that rests on the principal that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on all.
NATO has no economic ideology; the EU should not have attempted to have a security remit. Unfortunately the EU’s rhetoric and ambitions suggested otherwise. It wanted to become an unelected super-state, trying to draw together the strands of manifold histories and cultures and govern them from Brussels.
There was talk of a European army, a European intelligence service, increasing antagonism toward America, and ultimately a mood of utter European arrogance.
Such overarching constructs never work. History shows that in many cases they can result in catastrophic instability. The Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are examples.
People never forget their roots, their religions, and their customs. Ultimately, attempts to suppress those norms end in rebellion or natural fragmentation. Sometimes it ends in terrible bloodshed.
Thursday, Britons voted with their hearts and gut instinct. Our greatest ally is democratic America, not unelected bureaucrats in Belgium. We know the value of true allegiances – those who come to help us, those we help, states we stand shoulder to shoulder with to fight tyranny.
For years, I was a front line operative with MI6, Britain’s equivalent to the CIA. I operated overseas in hostile locations with no safety net.
If I’d been caught, I would have most likely been imprisoned for life or executed. The litmus test of being in the field was who could I trust if all else failed? Who would come to my help to stop me being killed?
If I was holed up and surrounded in Moscow or Tehran, I can hand on heart say I would have been more relieved if U.S., British, French, or German operatives were coming to my rescue.To hear that a European Intelligence Service was wading through red tape and conflicting interests to see whether I should be rescued would have sent shivers down my spine and have me reaching for my handgun.
My enemy is your enemy. At no point during my service as a special operative did I see any evidence that the European Union was helping the war against major threats such as terrorism. Like-minded and self-interested units collaborate. A terrorist who is planning to attack the UK might attack the United States if his plan is thwarted. Therefore the UK works hand in glove with the US and other nations. Though intelligence and security services have a wary relationship with each other, they come together when confronting pure evil. We don’t need an ideological European super-state to tie us into that principal.
Police services operate the same way. If a murder is committed in Manhattan and the murderer flees to London, NYPD wouldn’t hesitate to pick up the phone to the UK’s Scotland Yard detectives. And the Yard would pull out the stops to help.
The European Union will ultimately break up. France and the Netherlands are now clamouring for a referendum in light of Thursday’s result. They want self-governance, democracy, and control over their borders. They are scared that their defense is vulnerable within the EU.
We live in very dangerous times.
ISIS and other anarchists are attempting to wreak havoc. They have a bucket list of targets, but are clever. They will attack weaker and less obvious targets if necessary.
Russia is a major threat. Putin feels he must be aggressive to appear the strong man in a vast and disparate country that for the most part has low standards of living and is hanging together by a cat’s whisker.
The Middle East is as ever the heartland of most of the world’s terrorist problems. Many there blame the West and Israel for their problems, unwilling to naval gaze and wonder why they are fighting each other.
To combat these and other threats, we need strong and independent states in the West and elsewhere which know right from wrong and crucially are able to act.
With Great Britain out of the European Union, America once again has its closest ally back in the game.
Matthew Dunn was a former MI6 officer who worked in hostile locations around the world. He is the author of the espionage novels "Slingshot," "Spycatcher," "Sentinel," "Counterspy," "Dark Spies," "Spy House," and the forthcoming "A Soldier’s Revenge" (William Morrow). For more information visit matthewdunnbooks. You can also follow Mr. Dunn on Twitter @MatthewHDunn and find him on on Facebook.