Why did the US leave the EU

Great Britain after leaving the EU - the five eyes principle

With the departure of the British from the European Union, the question arises: Where will they locate themselves as a sovereign nation in the future? There are some indications that an alliance will be reached with the USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Because one is already cooperating on the secret service level.

Who needs the EU when you have the "Five Eyes"? / dpa

Author info

George Friedman, 72, is one of the most prominent geopolitical analysts in the United States. He heads the Geopolitical Futures think tank he founded and is the author of numerous books. Most recently, “The Storm Before Calm: America's Division, the Approaching Crisis and the Triumph that Followed” was published by Plassen-Verlag.

How to contact George Friedman:

On January 1st, Great Britain completed the process of leaving the European Union. The EU has assured everyone that the British will face dire consequences. Certainly there will be economic ramifications for Britain, but it's hard to imagine that the exit of Europe's second largest economy won't have significant ramifications for the rest of Europe as well. At the very least, the UK's exit will shake a myth about the European Union.

The name “European Union” had become synonymous with “Europe”. This equation was never correct, because there are European nations that are not members of the EU and have no interest in becoming one - for example Switzerland or Norway. But without the UK, the feeling that the EU speaks for Europe is now actually gone.

Another Europe

Britain is a fundamental part of Europe, one of Europe's liberators in World War II and, starting with the Roman invasion of England, Europe's occasional enemy and savior. Great Britain was a defining force in Europe and now it has left the European Union. This will challenge the remaining bloc in many ways, because now there is an “other Europe”, namely Great Britain.

There have been two major issues since the referendum. The first was whether British opponents of Brexit could reverse the referendum result. The second was whether the EU could do this without appearing overly conciliatory to the rest of the European Union. At times, these two forces appeared to be working together to block Brexit. In the end, they failed, although Brussels will likely continue to try to tighten the thumbscrews - until at some point the British prefer to buy Lexus instead of Mercedes. At that point the central power of Europe, Germany, will put an end to the punitive measures and the EU will move on.

The real problem now is that Britain has to define its place in the world. This is a strange task, because there is little war going on in Europe at the moment and there is little to be feared militarily from the European powers. It's a strange situation. Britain faced the Soviet threat between 1945 and 1991. From 1914 to 1945 Britain faced the German threat, with an armistice in between. Now the threat that is there is far away and more theoretical in nature.

Important NATO partner

Great Britain is still a member of NATO, which is not really a European entity, even if most of its members are European. The United States is the military backbone of NATO, and Britain is one of the few European allies with a significant military force with global reach.

The US was allied with Great Britain in World Wars I and II, the Cold War, Operation Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of these wars may not have been wise, but they cemented relations between the military. For the continental European countries, shattered by the world wars and frightened by the Cold War, the main concern is the economy and avoiding conflict. Britain lies across the Channel, facing a region that historically has drawn it into conflict but has not invaded Britain for a millennium.

Britain's history has been shaped by the need to intervene in Europe because of its fragmentation. What is inconceivable for Europe is a historical reality for Great Britain.

The problem with Britain is that it cannot control Europe's development on its own. During World War II, the United States stripped Great Britain of its empire and curtailed both its power and its reach. The British resented US post-war politics, but they learned to live with it - Britain is a master at dealing with the inevitable. So it allied with the United States, and by and large that worked fine.

Brothers in Arms of America

During the Falklands War, it was US satellite imagery that gave Britain a quick victory. In recent wars, the Americans and the British fought together with an ease that no other country had ever seen. From military to secret service operations, the two countries were as closely coordinated as only sovereign nations can afford. Regardless of how stubborn the US was towards the Empire, the two countries fought together for a century against the Germans, despite friction with the French or other allies. The British recently sent an aircraft carrier to the Western Pacific in support of US operations.

The alliance between the British and the Americans goes even deeper. Together they are part of the "Five Eyes", a grouping of five states (the others are Australia, Canada and New Zealand), which are committed to the exchange of intelligence information. Military cooperation is valuable, but not exceptional. The willingness of these five countries, however, to give each other insight into the intelligence information collected, is extraordinary. It also follows military cooperation. The Canadians take turns running the North American Aerospace Defense Command with the Americans. The Australians operate in the same region as China. The New Zealanders exchange (with minimal force and far more caution) intelligence information. But all of these five countries have fought in world wars and other conflicts.

The "Five Eyes"

When asked where the UK fits in, the answers are as follows. First, trade is important, but North American markets are as big as the EU. Second, continental Europe is highly unpredictable and often volatile, while Britain's presence in NATO keeps it on the side of the United States in Europe, and therefore significant. And finally, the “Five Eyes” countries focus on something that is often more important than anything else: war and its prevention through intelligence information.

Problems with Ireland, Scotland and Wales are likely to be limited. Great Britain is no longer the ruler of a global empire. It is no longer in the EU and as a result has to join forces with others. The "Five Eyes" as an intelligence and military alliance already exists and does not need to be negotiated. The alliance is so loose that no one is obliged to do more than exchange information. These five nations can be a force to be reckoned with, as well as a market that is already shared and willingly opened. And every country has an interest in it.

You should never be too enthusiastic. Friction is in the nature of things. But that alliance already exists, and expanding it to include business (with many free trade agreements already in place) is the next logical step.

helmut armbruster | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 4:59 pm

Britain's exit from the EU raised the question of whether we could do the same.
The answer was a resounding no.
We could not vote by plebiscite like others whether we want to join the EU or not, we were admitted by the people, and consequently no plebiscite is possible on the exit.
The same procedure applies to the euro.
The EU itself has no exit rules. There are no plans to leave.
We are therefore trapped in the EU and in the euro and we will only get out of there when things collapse.
How different England. A plebiscite ensues and exit negotiations begin. Because even Brussels cannot simply ignore a plebiscite.
I wanted us to be as free as England and not involved in dozens of (payment) obligations of all kinds.

Christa Wallau | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 5:43 pm

In reply to how nice it is to be really free by helmut armbruster

... and only get out of there when things collapse. "

Dear Mr. Armbruster, it doesn't have to be that way. We German citizens are not as free as the English only because the majority of us obviously don't want to be.
Since 2013 there has been a party that has written the recapture of our sovereignty and thus freedom on its flags, but what happens?
Most Germans don't vote!
Instead, they confirm a government in office that in 2020 - without a headwind having arisen - recognizes the joint debt liability in the EU and thus obliges all German citizens to stand up for the debts of Italians, Greeks, French, etc. You have to visualize that vividly! Germans retire about 7 years later than French or Greeks, but they are 1: 1 for their national debt.
Apparently we are a people of masochists. I can't explain it to myself any other way.

Gerhard Lenz | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 11:00 am

In reply to "We are therefore trapped in the EU and the Euro ... by Christa Wallau

Again clumsy election advertising for the AfD.
Who does not vote - that was known to be 87.4% of the voters, tendency at the moment
increasing - get the usual verbal rubdown at the same time. And of course in the AfD universe the Germans are only the eternal paymasters, while the others retire early at our expense! The usual nationalistic half-truths and falsehoods, the usual stuff.
It is doubtful whether the "free" British are better off now. The solution from the EU, accompanied by national pathos, does not yet fill the plate.
Otherwise: Only gullible and ardent nationalists cannot understand that only a politically integrated Europe can keep up with states like Russia, China or the USA!

Tomas Poth | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 5:28 pm

In reply to That had to happen .. by Gerhard Lenz

The gullibility, the dreamy idea of ​​a political union, is thwarted by the fact that only some of the EU members are also in the euro area.
When the Federal Republic of Germany was brought into the EU as it exists in its current form, the AfD did not yet exist! But its attitude is obviously in line with those EU members who have different ideas than our rulers for a long time.
In this respect, your restricted contributions are always directed against other European and EU countries.
Your dream of becoming an EU superpower is strange, the EEC / EC has held up well.

Walter Bühler | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 5:54 p.m.

In reply to That had to happen .. by Gerhard Lenz

... to guide Great Britain back into the EU. (Br-entrance?) When do your accession negotiations with Norway and Switzerland start?

Joking aside, stability negotiations with Hungary and Poland, with France and Italy are even more urgent, even if glowing red-green nationalists do not want to understand this and prefer to kill even more states.

Roland Völkel | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 6:14 pm

In reply to That had to happen .. by Gerhard Lenz

again a K. who shouldn't appear here anymore according to CICERO-Netiquette!
For free.
If you are already talking about "ardent nationalists", then you have listed three prime examples: Russia, China, USA!
And how should Europe keep up with these states? For example in their national pride? With their exemplary understanding of democracy (Russia, China)?
or as "World Police" (USA)?
Europe will never become the "United States" (of Europe) and shouldn't be - the diversity should remain.
Culturally, linguistically and historically one cannot equate Europe with the USA, especially not with R. or C.
Regarding elections ... Also 23.8% did not vote at all ("greatest opposition"), and ONLY 28.8% voted other parties (FDP, Left, Greens) than the current coalition and 5% others.
Everything relative

Bernhard K. Kopp | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 7:51 pm

In reply to how nice it is to be really free by helmut armbruster

Not immediately, but the redefinition of the confederation and turning away from the crazy idea of ​​the federal state is possible. It is conceivable that a reorganization can and must take place via the euro because the monetary union in its current structure and reality cannot remain viable. The money will also make it clear to broad sections of the population that no representative, parliamentary democracy, no constitutional state and no welfare state are possible for the EU-27 / Euro.

Walter Bühler | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 5:04 pm

The question is whether our German fair-weather politicians can recognize the need for the rest of the EU not to continue chasing down any mirages, but instead to concentrate on the lowest common denominator and on what is feasible in the EU in general. If this does not happen, further decay is programmed.

It is also to be hoped that German society, especially the media, will see that there is an urgent need for new economic impulses if the future is not to darken very quickly.

The EU should not forget to quickly improve the Republic of Ireland's transport links in the new situation.

It would be worst if the muddle continued as before.

Christoph Kuhlmann | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 6:33 pm

But who wants to be America's poodle when the US says jump over the stick and get involved in senseless, even harmful wars that have destabilized the entire Middle East. Iran would never have become so powerful without Bush Jr.'s Iraq war. and now the war with Iran is just around the corner
. Not to mention the devastating consequences of the Libyan War. Even with military power, the balance of trade deficit and national debt will not be far off. In any case, I have not yet heard that UNICEF is helping to feed the lower-class children in the EU. The question of whether Great Britain will become Britain has not yet been clarified. We will see.

Jacqueline Gafner | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 9:47 am

In reply to Yes, the Anglo-Saxon world is moving a little further away by Christoph Kuhlmann

If contemporaries like you realized at some point that in core Europe, unusual expressions like "America's poodle" are as good as a political sender address, you might be a little more successful with your attempted propaganda against the USA and the Anglo-Saxon part of Europe and the world . Incidentally, "Great Britain" would, if so, hardly "Britain", whereas France in particular would have something to object to with Brittany :)

Bernd Muhlack | Sat, January 9, 2021 - 6:42 pm

One shouldn't forget the Israeli secret services: they are probably top of the list!
The BND also benefits from them.

EU - Europe is not the same, congruent.
Exactly my speech!
The EU is the Brussels system, which in a senseless way even allows itself two parliamentary seats.

When a Dr. vdL or before Mr. Juncker say something, I rarely feel addressed, especially not asked, involved. They live in their own world, do not even adhere to the EU treaties.
Our Chancellor is always there, with her wallet close at hand. One bears original sin and consequently has to indulge infinitely.

Qua Corona do you get upset about our federalism and want ONE Europe at the same time?
This is borderline dubious, sorry!

UK will not go under, even if it is only England in the end. UK is multi-cultural, as is FRA.
So many dream of it here, right?

Let's wait ...

... and SCHALKE won! ✌👍

Ernst-Günther Konrad | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 9.45 am

There are common interests and, depending on the interests and intensity of the common goal, close cooperation.
The only one-sided presentation of possible significant disadvantages due to Brexit for GB by the German media in particular is intended to hide the fact that the rest of the EU also has significant problems due to the exit and will continue to do so. GB will initiate a gradual process of cutting the cord in all economic areas and will only deal confidently with the EU where there are no other solutions for it. There is no reform in sight in the EU, a "back to the roots" would be desirable, but is not wanted. As long as the money taps of the donor countries, especially the main tap DE, remain lubricated and open, they will continue like this. They live in a world of their own in Brussels and Strasbourg. GB will free itself and even Brexit opponents will, in time, if everything works again, albeit differently, love their regained freedom.

Dorothee Sehrt-Irrek | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 11:56 am

a youthful character, but there may be more.
Anyway, a brilliant analysis from you, Mr. Friedman.
If their name is meaningful, you would be sovereign AND peace loving.
I appreciate independent and partially open thinking.
After an initial reluctance - restraint is not his second surname - I consider Johnson to be an outspoken multitasker, certainly not just politically.
The USA needs countries from which their dreams originate. Besides Israel, there would be England above all.
But Canada also means protection from the USA, they are also in the Commonwealth.
Europe / NATO should protect against Russia, as you say yourself, and New Zealand and Australia protect against China.
In short, England is on the way to return to the world stage as a world power in various alliances.
The EU should have been made so permeable that this would have fit together.
Poland will be very strong with the Balts, Scandinavians, very peaceful with Prussians and Visegrad-> multi

Tomas Poth | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 5:41 pm

Well, our friends from the island, the island of the blessed, seem to want to focus more on their old politics, Commonwealth and special relationship with the USA? A step backwards towards the special role as mediator between the New World and continental Europe, as they have always seen each other, despite joining the EEC in the 70s!
Germany above all, has to rethink its ability to defend itself, not against Europe, but with all the states of Europe in agreement, perhaps even as a guarantee power together with France for this Europe, in order to replace the USA?
Why not, we mustn't be cowardly, shy away from our own strength, we could do it.
But to do this, we first have to overcome the old thinking of the last few decades. The world is constantly rearranging itself, so we mustn't have false inhibitions.

Ingo frank | Sun, January 10, 2021 - 8:56 pm

That is not the question of who the British are working with and at what level.
Much more interesting, at least for me, is whether the decline of England, which has often been predicted (especially by the German media), will come about or not. If the British Way was to be a success story, what would happen to the rest of the EU? And how it will end in the end is still completely open in my opinion.
As the EU blooms more and more into a bureaucratic monster and required
Reforms are not in sight, the chances for an English success are not bad after all.

With best regards from the Erfurt Republic

Dorothee Sehrt-Irrek | Mon, January 11, 2021 - 12:40 p.m.

In reply to Where are the British located? by Ingo frank

see more positively than written structures.
I reject Brussels as a place of political coup d'état.
Likewise any unnecessary and not jointly developed centralism.
But the EU has an invaluable advantage if it can agree, that of added value, both fiscal and cultural, etc. than European.
England can become a world power, but not the EU as Europe.
I had hoped that this prospect would be stronger with the English than their own possibilities. On the other hand, they have it and not too scarce.
But power politics (+ -) in particular make it unlikely that the EU will become a new Europe.
Then Europe will remain more multilateral.
I prefer that anyway, because it's better / more productive than a wrong unit or the compulsion to do so.
In doing so, compulsion may come from bringing the people away.
Do you ignore or prevent the sensible processual, can you see in this nouning the tipping into structural violence?