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Brexit Unleashes British Bulldog Snarling at Russia

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Written by Finian Cunningham; Originally appeared on strategic-culture.org

Britain is dispatching some 1,000 marines to join NATO war exercises off Norway in “a show of strength to Russia”. The move is but one of several military muscles being flexed by Britain in a bid to boost its international standing. Russia is designated as the convenient villain to justify Britain’s renewed militarism.

To lend the madness some popular appeal, British media reported that “Prince Harry will join one of ­Britain’s biggest war exercises against Russia in 20 years, as a warning to Vladimir Putin over his continued aggression.”

Harry (34), the youngest son of heir to the British crown, Prince Charles, is said to be privy to secret battle plans taking place in Norway over the next 12 weeks “as the marines practice drills in a show of strength against potential military strikes by ­Moscow.”

Russia’s embassy in Britain dismissed the exercise involving the young royal as a PR gimmick to fire up public enthusiasm for what is otherwise a hackneyed ploy of provoking tensions with Moscow. “Apparently, the authority of politicians and generals is no longer enough to ensure public support for this policy,” it said.

Indeed, a PR stunt is surely what it is going on. And the British media are showing themselves once again to be the disgraceful pro-war stenographers that they are by churning out official assertions of “Russian aggression” and “potential military strikes”.

But what’s also going on here is a wider and more disturbing pattern of Britain increasing its militarism towards Russia. Not that Russia is quaking in its boots over Britain’s threatening conduct, but the reckless snarling attitude of the British bulldog nevertheless adds to increasing international tensions between NATO powers and Moscow. That implies an increasing risk of a military confrontation.

A significant factor here is Britain’s intensifying Brexit chaos as it splits from the European Union. The deadline for the EU divorce comes on March 29 when Britain is set to leave the bloc after more than four decades of membership. If Britain crashes out of the EU without a trade deal, which looks increasingly likely due to internal British political squabbling, then economic and social chaos is expected.

Given the high stakes, it seems that the British establishment is seeking to distract from the Brexit debacle through ramping up tensions with Russia.

As a recent Washington Post article put it: “Britain clings to imperial nostalgia as Brexit looms”.

Britain’s Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson has been a key figure in fingering Russia as a “threat to Europe” and positioning Britain as a “defender of Europe against Russian aggression”.

There are, it seems, a few calculations in the works. One of those is that Britain has been continually trying to make itself relevant to Europe in a post-Brexit era owing to supposed British security and military assets. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly talked up how Britain will always remain an important security partner to European allies even after it quits the bloc.

When her defense minister Gavin Williamson first announced the new deployment of British forces to the Arctic back in September, he said it was to “protect Europe’s northern flank” from “increased Russian aggression”. Thus, by ingratiating itself as a “protector” of Europe, the British state is endeavoring to use that purported role as a bargaining chip in order to extract more concessions from the EU on the terms of a future trade arrangement.

Premier May this week is pleading with EU leaders to relent on improving divorce terms. It is therefore important for the British to amplify their “security role” for Europe in order to try to wheedle better divorce terms. The corollary of that cynical calculation is for the British to demonize Russia further as a threat to Europe, thereby giving the British a seemingly valuable purpose of “defender”.

No doubt the recently exposed British government-funded media network, the Orwellian-sounding Integrity Initiative, has been working overtime in propagating the anti-Russia narratives as part of the Brexit strategy.

Another calculation is that as Britain leaves the European Union, it is prone to take on a greater role in the US-led NATO military alliance. Post-Brexit Britain will inevitably have much less influence on European capitals. As America’s historical cipher in European affairs, Washington and London will need to boost the role of NATO as a way to exert more influence over European policy. This would explain why Britain has over the past two years since the Brexit referendum in June 2016 taken on a more aggressive attitude towards Russia. Realizing that the bulldog will be outside the European gate, Britain seems to have upped its NATO role, by barking more at Russia.

More generally, the Brexit process has unleashed British notions of former imperial glory being revived.

Williamson told the rightwing Sunday Telegraph recently: “This is our biggest moment as a nation since the end of the Second World War, when we can recast ourselves in a different way. We can actually play the role on the world stage that the world expects us to play.”

Increased militarism is a crucial part of this British role-play on the world stage. Britain has greatly boosted its sales pitch for weapons exports since the Brexit referendum, wooing the Saudi and other Gulf Arab regimes in particular. It is planning to build, or has recently built, new military bases in former colonial territories in the Persian Gulf, Caribbean and Southeast Asia.

Britain’s launching of two new “super aircraft carriers” is specifically aimed at working with US naval counterparts and the American F-35 fighter plane. As the BBC reported, the new “gunboat diplomacy on steroids” is for the British rulers a “statement of intent and global ambition as well as a very visible projection of military power.”

In the economically challenging times for post-Brexit Britain, the British state is resorting to militarism as in the days of its Victorian empire. That militarism is seen as essential by the British state as a way to give itself badly needed relevance and influence over international relations. Especially because post-imperial, post-Brexit Britain is a shadow of its former self.

However, from Russia’s perspective, this desperate British nostalgia is potentially baleful. Britain is evidently using Russia as a pretext to justify its new militarism and to burnish a supposed role of “defender”. As the Brexit repercussions become ever-more severe for Britain, the danger is that the British bulldog snarling at Russia may become rabid. It needs to be muzzled before someone gets hurt. Or better still, put down.

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  • Master Oroko

    lol Does anyone truly care if Prince Harry joins in the Russophobia circus? The British royal family is nothing but a bygone relic. Let it be dissolved already.

    • You can call me Al

      You are wrong, you are ignorant and you are rude.

      I am a true Royalist, so zippit zippy. However, as the article states, much has do do with both diverting attention from the political scum we have in power and diverting the public’s attention from the shambles in getting out of the EU.

      As for “The move is but one of several military muscles being flexed by Britain in a bid to boost its international standing.”….. whahaha, no chance, but hey, the Internaional standing cannot go lower.

      Which Country are you from by the way ?.

      • Master Oroko

        I’m American. And proud. And I find the goings-on of the royal family that the mainstream media pushes down our throats to be annoying. Britain should follow our example and get rid of monarchy.

        • PZIVJ

          “get rid of monarchy” ? I like the royals, much better than corrupt American leaders who lie to their people with MSM. Are you still mad about 1812?
          You have offended the entire commonwealth!
          But we will get over it. :D

          • Master Oroko

            Eh, whatever. I guess it doesn’t matter. I just find the mainstream media fawning over the royal family to be pretty annoying.

          • You can call me Al

            Me too.

          • Master Oroko

            Well, that makes two of us.

        • You can call me Al

          You haven’t got rid of the European Monarchy, it run the likes of the CIA.

          • Master Oroko

            True, true.

      • Master Oroko

        For the record, I’m sorry if I offended you. I hope that we can get off on better footing.

        • You can call me Al

          No worries mate.

          • Master Oroko

            I guess it’s fine having a monarchy, but I’m not a fan of the current monarchs in Britain. I’ll just leave it at that.

      • George King

        “gunboat diplomacy on steroids” is for the British rulers a “statement of intent and global ambition as well as a very visible projection of military power.” Heh?

        Humpty Dumpty has had a Great fall and All the Kings horses and all the Kings men cannot but Humpty Dumpty together again. Two carriers combined with the scrapping of its nulclear submarines that fired a missle test that almost wiped Florida US off the map in war games where the missle had to be detonated in flight to prevent a disaster. more from the Theater of the Absurd as two low cost ship kaliber type missles sinks what remains of the reputation of the Great British Armada.

        Isn’t these and ecomical destruction of UK citizens infrastructure and nationality the very catalyst for Brexit Al?

      • Drogba

        You must be from Little Britain, by the way ,we can call you a little British Prick.

        • You can call me Al

          You can do if you want. It’s little, but it doesn’t half move fast !!.

  • You can call me Al

    “The move is but one of several military muscles being flexed by Britain in a bid to boost its international standing. “…………. WHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. We lost any International standing when Thatcher resigned.

  • Ole Johansen

    England moving fast towards a failed state and are bravely flexing what is left of its muscles.

    Dear.. Please educated me on what the future they have apart from rotting as the time of plundering unarmed is over? There is no future for England or “Great Britannia”. No innovation, education or self esteem.

    The large masses is watching stupid football and while not grow over that level.

    • Tommy Jensen

      Thats why the masses will be eliminated when we enter the period of Smart cities, robots and automation. The future belongs to the Elite…………………………LOL.

  • Why does Vladimir not invite prince Harry to inspect the troops on the Russian side…
    Put some female battalions on his road it can make a difference.

  • Tommy Jensen

    This is a warning and a show of Western force to Russia from Britain´s Gay Williamson that we in the West are more than willing to die for our values.
    It shows our firm decision to defend ourselves against Russia´s desire to gobble more landmasses from the free and civilised world, and Putin´s attempts to suppress Western women. Go home Ruskie.

  • Neil

    UK and US strategy is carried out by the CIA and MI5/MI6; only short-term tactics are left to elected politicians. It’s one strategy involving suppression of Russia, China and Iran in order for UK/US to dominate the world. Saudi and Israel were created for this strategic reason. Of course these people don’t actually want to fight but want to justify maximum political isolation of Europe from Russia, China and Iran; they want Europe to look west. All the UK fighting talk is for that reason, but they can’t win.

  • Barba_Papa

    In order to beat the militarist drum though one first has to have an army worthy of the name. And in that regard the UK is anything but the US. Where the Pentagon basically has a license to print money, the MoD basically has to beg for the scraps of the dinner table. Kinda hard to be a top rate military power on a budget. No wonder the UK has to lift big on the shoulders of Uncle Sam. Be Sancho Panza to Donald Quixotes. Only to be out-Sancha Panza’d by France’s Macron.

  • The article does not address the strategical positioning of the UK following its new religious/cultural majority , the trend to islamisation of the UK is not unstoppable.
    Will UK become a Turkey or a Saudi Arabia?
    That’s the question.