President Obama has urged the UK to remain in the EU, the institution forged from the “ashes of war”. Evocative references to the war made up a strong element of his article in The Telegraph and the “spilled blood” of American soldiers were justification for his interference in the debate.
Citing the war is a means of portraying leaving the EU as a regressive and dangerous step, but was the abolition of national democracy in Europe a necessary measure in order to prevent war?
I don’t think of the EU as an “evil”, for the most part it is fairly benign, but unlike ideological Europhiles I do not perceive it as a pure and benevolent project. At the centre of the Union is a lust for power over democratic principles, it offers a route to the top for the European elites and its every advancement cloaked in economics has a political motive. It is in-effect an empire, a post-modern imperial project that represents just the latest attempt to unify Europe under one government.
When the ideology of a unified Europe was resurrected and advanced in the aftermath of war, Britain – spurred on by Churchill – was pushing for an intergovernmental model. Such a model would have been based around the Council of Europe, a central forum in which national governments came together to cooperate closely, arbitrate disputes, formulate solutions for Europe wide issues and pursue common endeavours.
We could have had a genuine European marketplace, solely designed to facilitate trade without the clear political motives of the Single Market which is used to force integration. The regulations of the market would have been the responsibility of a separate body with representation from all participating nations coming together to create common standards.
Inevitably we would still have close cooperation in security, science, academia, sport and more, with join programmes and institutions developed to allow European nations to work in conjunction with each other in various areas.
That was the alternative vision for a different kind of European unity based on intergovernmentalism and democracy. It would have been a real European community, bringing together nations as equals and promoting peace, cooperation, trade, and common values. Like most people, I would have been a strong supporter of this kind of European unity. In-fact, this is still to this day how the European Union is sold by most of its supporters in Britain, and is closer to the EU that President Obama portrays. This however is not what we are voting on in the referendum.
The intergovernmental model was a total contradiction and direct competitor of the vision of a United States of Europe which had been increasing in popularity since the 1930’s. This was an ideology with the express intention of bypassing the views of the people, strictly constraining popular democracy and creating a supreme government for a united Europe. As we know, the supranational model won the day and eventually enraptured the British elite.
So it is imperative we separate these two visions of a united Europe and understand that a political and judicial union with plans to integrate further is a very different thing from the union of sovereign nations that is being sold to us by politicians advocating Remain. This is the latest episode of the great deception and it is time that we saw through it and answered the real question at the heart of this referendum.
That is what this referendum is about: who governs? Do we in the UK want to be subject to a supreme government for Europe or do we want to be a national democracy? President Obama claims to be our “friend” but not once does he address that central issue.
The United States was a country formed from a 169 year old British colony that went to war with the motherland over exactly this issue. The revolutionaries had decided that it was time for the thirteen colonies to exercise their right to self determination and control their own destiny. A US President should therefore instinctively understand the importance of this issue and realise that this is not a debate he should interfere in. His attempt to influence the outcome of a referendum already sorely lacking in fairness and legitimacy is not the action of a friend, but of a nation acting entirely out of self-interest. The US does not want to see change, does not want the geopolitical post-war settlement for Europe disturbed, and does not care what this means for British democracy.
President Obama is asking us to accept a form of government that Americans would reject without hesitation. To remain in a political and judicial union that would cause a second revolution if any US President attempted to impose it on his own people. It is essential for the British people to remember this as they consider his opinion.
The United States government does have an interest in the referendum, so I am not surprised or overly perturbed by his intervention and his endorsement for Remain. However, ultimately”, as President Obama said, “the question of whether or not the UK remains a part of the EU is a matter for British voters to decide”.
And as we decide, we must think of our own national interests, just as Americans think of their own.
This post was originally published by the author 22 April 2016 https://thescepticisle.com/2016/04/22/president-obama-backs-remain-but-would-the-us-accept-a-supranational-government/