Character Art Exchange

a fatal flaw

Theresa May is fond of observing that Britain will not be leaving Europe when it leaves the European Union, which could be a statement of geographical banality or strategic significance. The prime ministerís point, elucidated in a speech at the Mansion House last November, is that the UK sees itself as part of a community of democracies, aligned in their attachment to a world order based on internationally recognised rules.

Mrs May argued then that Vladimir Putinís Russia has proved itself hostile to those rules, seeking to undermine the institutions that uphold them. She argued too that the UK and the EU were on the same side, despite Brexit. So Mrs May will have been heartened by the statement of unambiguous solidarity from the European council in response to the nerve-agent poisoning in Salisbury. EU leaders have endorsed the British view that the Russian state is highly likely to be the culprit. The EUís ambassador to Moscow is to be withdrawn, signalling agreement with Mrs May that the Kremlin looks hostile to the whole of the EU. This is an easier argument to win with some members than others. Baltic states, who feel their independence threatened by Mr Putinís neo-Soviet statecraft, are natural allies. Others are more cautious.

Mrs Mayís position prevailed thanks to the support of Franceís Emmanuel Macron and Germanyís Angela Merkel. Brexit will make France by far the biggest military power in the EU. Paris and London also have a very close intelligence relationship thanks to collaboration in the fight against terrorism. Germany, partly through historical atonement, is a reluctant military power. So Britainís capabilities are seen by the EUís two biggest players as an indispensable part of the continentís security apparatus.

Solidarity is easier to sustain in word than deed. The messy reality of 27 countries, each seeing their commercial and political interests Sean Doolittle Youth jersey in Russia differently, will soon reassert itself. Mrs Mayís maxim about the difference between being part of Europe and part of the EU might easily be adapted Ė to note that Russia, too, is a European country.

Mr Putinís regime is undesirable but communication is also unavoidable. There is a line between standing up to an act of aggression and self-defeating bombast. Mrs May and Boris Johnson stand on different sides of that line. The prime ministerís tone has been steely but measured. The foreign secretaryís comparison of this summerís football World Cup in Russia to the 1936 Munich Olympics achieves nothing but gratuitous offence to ordinary Russians who cherish their nationís historic role in the defeat of nazism. Unlike the foreign secretary, Mrs May appears to have applied some thought to practical diplomacy.

What is less clear is whether the prime minister appreciates the contradiction between her desire for enhanced solidarity with the EU John Sullivan Womens Jersey and the explicit, ideological hostility of many Brexiters to the whole European project. That contradiction is a faultline running through Britainís policy towards Russia; while asserting that the Kremlin has an agenda to sabotage the unity of the EU, the UK is itself, via Brexit, fracturing the alliance. Mrs May effectively sidestepped that crack at this weekís EU summit. But she has not solved the problem. Her commitment to a hard Brexit impedes her ambition for a common European line against Ron Francis Jersey Mr Putin. It is possible to still be ďEuropeanĒ in the strategic sense that Mrs May means in her speeches, but it will be a lot harder once the country is no longer a member of the EU. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys from china wholesale nfl jerseys

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