The Brexit Club: A
short term solution to a global failure. Now a global wakeup call.
Most progressives believe the UK should stay within the
EU. As a political ideal of a greater
union between progressive nations working for greater long term economic and
national security interests -- it is a very good idea. In the short run? Leaving the EU is the right move.
For decades the EU confederation of states has improved security
and prosperity for nearly all Europeans.
But now multiple caustic global forces are surging against the numerous
and largely unguarded exterior EU borders.
Borders that were never designed to cope with the threat of desperate
and needy refugees, infectious diseases, cyber threats or climate change.
The increasing flow of refugees is the crisis at hand. Millions of refugees created by the growing
instability in the Middle East and Africa are displaced. Many are slowly but surely percolating through
some of the EU’s unprotected boarders and even though some that are
Once inside the EU these refugees have essentially earned a
free pass to any other EU nation. It’s
like a Mexican crossing the Texas border gaining virtually unlimited access to
any other continental US state. There should
be no doubt that the vast majority of refugees will in the long run contribute
to both the prosperity and the security of the US and EU nations. But, if just one in a thousand refugees turns
out to be a violent extremist the destruction they can cause will horrendous. And the physical destruction the yield will pale
in comparison to the fear and the political backlash each additional attack
Worse yet, we cannot count on all violent extremists limiting
their means of mass murder to assault rifles and small bombs. Eventually they will use truck bombs, IEDs,
and drones combined with chemical and/or biological weapons. Security is an illusion for soft targets. And
all civilized nations are mostly soft targets.
Just two moderately trained assailants with hand guns in a moving train
car could kill 50 to 60 EU citizens before the next stop, and perhaps more
after the doors open. In 1995 a
domestic cult in Japan killed 12 people, severely injured 50 and caused
temporary vision problems for nearly 5,000 others with a relatively simple chemical
attack in a Tokyo subway. At
least the UK can effectively close its borders now to some of this coming
chaos. And it is coming.
This security failure was not in the creation of the EU as a
confederation. A primary failure was
limiting that union to so few states. And, the greater failure was of every other
federation of states, including the US, to
adequately invest in a world where all nation states put the protection of
human rights above the rights of nation states.
In essence we can blame the nation states that created the
UN as a confederation of states instead of a full-fledged federation. A federation where ‘we the people’ in a constitutional
preamble would be ensured in a bill of rights. The persistent ideal of putting the
protection of all human rights superior to that of states rights. But instead, the powerful nations after World
War II rejected every proposal that could have empowered the UN in this
direction. And the world is as it is
today because the deceptively destructive concept of national sovereignty still
Six years ago when a three year long drought started in
Syria and the farmers came into the capital seeking jobs and food for their families,
what would have happened if the UN had had the capacity to assist in feeding
them? Or, intervened earlier and assisted
them in thriving on their farm land?
The UN and the rest of the world didn’t respond to their
most fundamental basic human needs. And
now the UK must vote to move backward in order to protect its own people. And terrorists disguised as refugees won’t be
the only threat. Pandemics, climate
change, cyber intrusions or a natural disaster that could bring hunger back to
Ireland are not entirely unlikely.
The idea that each of us (and our nation) is somehow
independent of the events and destructive conditions anywhere in the world is a
lethal illusion. It always has
been. Yet our government and global institutions
are based on this flawed mental construct.
The greatest of all human achievements is likely the global
eradication of smallpox. All the world’s
wars, revolutions, murders, genocides and natural disasters in the last century
killed fewer people that Smallpox alone.
And, if just one nation, city or family had effectively rejected the
global vaccination campaign to eradicate it, Smallpox would still be with us
today. The horrifying news is that if
just one nation, rogue group or lunatic scientist biologically engineered a
weaponized small pox virus, something the Soviets had already achieved in the
1980s, every human on this planet would be in danger.
That is possible but not inevitable. What is inevitable is the loss of our world’s
antibiotic arsenal. A woman in the US
and some US farm animals were recently confirmed to be infected with a new
strain of bacteria that is immune to the world’s last and most powerful antibiotic.
Without a major scientific breakthrough
infectious disease experts now estimate that by 2040 minor infections could be
killing more Americans than cancer (which is now the second greatest cause of
death in America). Another inevitable
mass killer is a new strain of the flu.
In 1918 the Spanish flu in 18 months killed more people than all the
combat deaths from both World Wars. And,
these are only two examples of the thousands of microbial threats we face. Threats
that constantly evolve and are exacerbated by climate change, war, poverty,
crime, malnutrition and lack of clean water – all the lethal conditions that a
world federation could prevent or better respond to if the protection of human
rights were superior to the rights of nation states, corporations and/or
So should the UK leave the EU? Yes. In
the short run it is a wise move. But if the world continues to reject the
reality of our irreversible global interdependence, there’s not a border or
military in the world that will stop the catastrophic effects that our children
or grandchildren will inevitably experience.
Things change. Can we?