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Are British memories of the German war machine so dim that they cannot be awakened to the danger of the proposed European defense force?
German Lieutenant General Rainer Schuwirth, chief of the EU’s military, has declared that to establish a federal European military force, “National governments would have to give away their authority over their army” (Financial Times, London, Sept. 24, 2003). Blair is stuck between his commitment to support a European army and his stated intention to draw a red line on sacrificing sovereign control of British troops as demanded by the EU Constitution.
Of even deeper concern is Germany’s claim that member nations hand over sovereign control of their nuclear capability to Brussels. On Oct. 24, 2003, theDaily Mail exposed frightening details of a document from the German defense ministry that stated, “[A]nother difficult and delicate area will have to be addressed. That is the transfer of national nuclear weapon capabilities of certain EU countries. They should also be integrated within the European defense system.” These words are quoted from the defense ministry of the very country currently banned from possessing nuclear weapons and responsible for the death of a million British troops in two world wars—Germany.
Oct. 19, 2003, at the bbc’s annual Dimbleby lecture, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, despite concerns from the U.S., insisted that European defense had to be at the core of the EU’s future. He warned, “There can be no Europe without European defense and no European defense without Britain” (Daily Mail, Oct. 20, 2003). He then coupled his insistence on Britain’s participation in the EU defense force with the need for a single EU foreign policy—another of Blair’s “red line” issues. “If they want to be able to hold their own on the world stage, Europe must have its own foreign policy and be able to fight for its principles,” de Villepin declared.
Blair insists he will not allow the EU to dictate British foreign policy. Yet, at the same time, he believes the EU must have a defense force in which Britain must participate. Can a nation separate its military from its foreign policy? De Villepin clearly understands that this is impossible: The military is a fundamental and essential component of foreign policy.
British foreign policy has often been incompatible with that of the EU and sides more often with its cultural brother across the Atlantic; London’s full support of the U.S.-led Iraq war most effectively illustrated this fact. Britain could never have a separate foreign policy if it were to accept and come under the authority of an EU Constitution.
The EU Constitution has been a hot topic in Britain’s political landscape. The conservative Tory party, out of favor with the British people for the last decade or so, is quickly recovering. Under the new leadership of Michael Howard, a shift has begun. While Prime Minister Blair and the Labor Party push forward with the EU agenda, Howard has been working to awaken the nation to the EU danger.
Mr. Howard wrote in the Sun that if the constitution was to be forced upon Britain, “The EU will meddle in our justice system and Brussels will have more control over our economy, our employment laws and our immigration policy” (Dec. 12, 2003). In a separate article, the Sun stated, “As a democratically elected leader, [Blair] would be giving irrevocable EU control over the daily lives of our citizens without their consent” (ibid.).
While political figures can yield sway on Britain, there is perhaps no more powerful man than media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. His empire includes the Sun, theTimes, the Sunday Times and theNews of the World as well as the satellite television group BskyB—all of which, for the last 10 years, has supported the Labor Party. But it appears that is changing.
Last November, Murdoch said he was “torn” between backing Labor and the conservatives in the next election. While he remains impressed with Blair’s efforts in Iraq, he is very concerned over the EU Constitution. He warned of “great dangers” in signing the constitution and supports having a referendum on the subject—which Blair opposes. “I don’t like the idea of any more abdication of our sovereignty in economic affairs or anything else,” Murdoch said. “We’ll have to see what’s in the final constitution. If it’s anything like the draft, then certainly we’ll oppose it” (Daily Mail, Nov. 15, 2003).
While conservatives inside Britain strive to halt Britain from agreeing to an EU Constitution, they are also working to create a new political group from the nations set to join the EU in May. The group, which enjoys the backing of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, aims to contain the Europhile parties from within the EU. It is based on the idea of producing a “Europe of the nations, with close relations with the U.S. and a free market economy,” said Polish European Parliament Observer Adam Bielan (www.europeanvoice.com, Oct. 23, 2003). The idea that there would be significant political support within the EU for closer ties with the U.S. is sure to create enormous division and infuriate ensconced EU nations, especially Germany and France, who are clearly trying to maneuver the EU into the role of the next great superpower, on a direct collision course with that of the U.S.
In May 2003, Giscard d’Estaing, who chaired the convention that drew up the draft EU Constitution, addressed Britain’s loyalty issue: “Britain never considered Europe as a full option,” he said. “It wanted to be in Europe and to have all the options É the special relationship with the U.S. I would say if you want as a wish to be a leading country in Europe I think you should make up your mind in the next 10 years” (Scotsman, May 26, 2003).
Britain must choose. Will it remain with its American brother—or, against all sense, throw its hat in with nations with which it does not agree on the “red line” issues? Would Britain be willing to hand its nuclear weapons over to a new European defense force commanded by German generals? Is Britain willing to allow Brussels to dictate labor laws or transportation jurisdictions, demand it open its doors to competition, or tell the British government whom it can allow and not allow on its own soil? Are Britons willing to give up the pound sterling for the euro and send their gold reserves to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt? Is Britain willing to subjugate its judicial system to Brussels?
Almost 40 years ago—38 years before the EU Constitution was drafted—Herbert W. Armstrong foretold, “Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe. ButBritain will be no part of it!“ How could Mr. Armstrong be so adamant on this point? Simply because your Bible prophesies that very fact!
Bible prophecy indicates that the time will come when Britain is on the outside, looking in, pleading for help from the German federalist Europe. “Wherefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the hand of the Assyrians [Germans], upon whom she doted. These discovered her nakedness: they took her sons and her daughters, and slew her with the sword” (Ezek. 23:9-10).
Britain clearly will not be part of a united Europe at that time because they will be the victim of the united Europe’s attack! God states in His Word that He will punish end-time Israel (which includes Britain) through a German-led Europe (see Isa. 10:5; Hos. 5:5). They will fall to a mighty military, with the remnant being taken captive into Germany (Hos. 9:3; 10:6). Logic would tell us that Britain must be on the outside of this united Europe to be the focus of such an assault!
Sadly, it is only through this attack that Britain will wake up to God’s warning. But there is hope: The people of Britain will turn to God in their time of tribulation, and God will hear them. Speaking of Ephraim in the last verse of Hosea 5 and the first verse of chapter 6, God says, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.” (Ezek. 23:9-10).
Britain should sign the EU reform treaty or seriously consider leaving the Union. That was the essence of remarks made this week by German politician Elmar Brok, the European Parliament’s representative on inter-governmental negotiations for the treaty.
Brok’s comments were more than haphazard, abrasive musings by a marginal EU figure. They were planned, pointed and timely. More importantly, they represent the collective mindset of the increasingly angry EU leadership, which perceives the British government to be slothful and undetermined.
The German member of parliament made his remarks at a time when pressure is mounting on Prime Minister Gordon Brown to conduct a national referendum on whether Britain should sign the EU reform treaty—a move that would almost certainly result in Britons rejecting the treaty, which could destabilize the entire EU if other member nations follow suit and put the thorny issue before their voters.
In his comments, Brok insisted a referendum was unnecessary because the new draft, signed by EU member nations in June, was significantly different from the “old” constitution and that Britain “got what it wanted” with a series of opt-outs and “red lines” built into the document. “Gordon Brown’s government has said there is no justification for a referendum and the UK should stick to this commitment,” Brok warned in a clear shot across the bow of No. 10 Downing Street.
The controversy surrounding this referendum question is significant. European politicians will be furious if Mr. Brown decides to put the issue before his people. The British public will be furious if he doesn’t. Ultimately this is a lose-lose scenario for Gordon Brown.
If Mr. Brown denies his people a referendum, they will likely oust him from government and put in a pm who is willing to give them a chance to vote against further European integration. At home, polls and surveys consistently show that Mr. Brown stands to lose a great amount of support among the British people, as well as within his own party, if he refuses to take the issue to referendum. One recent Daily Mail poll showed that 80 percent of Labor Party voters and 82 percent of voters overall are asking for a referendum on whether or not to accept the treaty (EUobserver, August 20). The decision to forgo a referendum is almost certainly an act of political suicide.
If Brown approves a referendum, the British people will almost certainly vote “no” to further integration into the EU. British and European politicians alike are acutely aware that a referendum would almost certainly defeat the EU treaty. Such an outcome would severely injure, and most likely usher in the end of, Britain’s 34-year membership in the EU. It would not only deepen the wedge between London and Brussels, but could also easily ignite a wave of national referendums across Europe, throwing a spanner in the works for the entire European Union project.
This is the reason Elmar Brok and others have begun to question the need for Britain to participate in the EU at all.
“The UK got its various opt-outs, so what’s the problem?” Broksaid. “How would it seem to other EU member states if Britain were now to hold a referendum? For me, that would undermine the negotiations on the treaty and even go as far as to question Britain’s credibility as an EU member.”
Read between the lines of another of Brok’s statements: “Britain is a valued member of the EU, but we should perhaps remember that the treaty contains an article which gives any member state the right to leave the EU if it so wishes.”
Brok’s message is clear: Britain should quit whining and sign the EU treaty, or leave the EU. OtherEuropean leaders have given Britain the same warning, some more diplomatically than others.
Gordon Brown is confronting what will almost certainly amount to the biggest decision of his political career and the most defining decision of his tenure as pm.
Even more than that, this decision represents possibly the biggest turning point in British history since Chamberlain declared war on Germany.
It is important that we monitor British politics in coming weeks and months. No doubt Mr. Brown is currently trying to find a way to please both his European counterparts and his electorate. But with European leaders adamantly against Britain conducting a referendum and the British public overwhelmingly demanding one, this will prove an incredibly tough task. British and European leaders will likely dance back and forth over this issue for weeks, perhaps months. But in the end, no amount of fancy diplomatic footwork can prevent this divisive issue from ultimately reaching a climax, whether it comes under Brown’s administration or shortly thereafter.
However the prime minister cuts the cake, Britain’s time in the European Union is about up!
Be it next week, next month or next year, the most defining moment in recent British history is almost here. One way or another, Britain is about to leave the European Union. TheTrumpet has been watching the relationship between Britain and Europe for years. To learn about the recent history between Britain and Europe, read “Why Britain Booted Blair.” For a more detailed account of Britain’s future with Europe, read “Hosea—Reaping the Whirlwind.”
Why did Tony Blair leave? After serving for a full decade as Britain’s prime minister—the most successful Labor leader ever—his party, and his people, wanted him gone.
Why? He gave the British much of what they wanted. Economic growth has made Britons wealthier; poorer families now have higher wages and lower taxes; schools and hospitals have been modernized. Steps toward dismantling Great Britain have pleased the majority of Brits: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all moved toward greater self-governance under Blair’s leadership. The Labor leader helped focus international attention on global warming more than any other Western leader—another issue that plays well to the increasingly liberal British public. The flow of immigrants into Britain has grown much swifter as a result of Blair pushing for greater openness. The former pm has also made good on his pledge to “modernize” his country, passing social reforms such as the recognition of civil partnerships for homosexuals.