By Victor Clark
AFTER the end of the Second World War, WWII, Europe faced several problems, these included economic and political. France worried of a resurgent Germany, economically and militarily, Soviet Union threats and the unfolding Cold War. Thus for Europe to overcome these challenges, it led to the process of the establishment of the European Communities in the 1950s, such as the European Coal and Steel Community, ECSC, the European Economic Community, EEC, and the European Atomic Energy Community, EURATOM, that dovetailed into the European Community, EC. Brexit
The Benelux (Belgium, Netherland and Luxembourg), France, Germany and Italy, these countries were involved in respective negotiations which subsequently led to the establishment of the communities, and also eventually led to the formation of a customs union, among them. These efforts were made by these states to address the task of economic reconstruction after the war. Today, their efforts paid off handsomely and the EU became the foremost (leading) economic groupings in the world.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the UK tried to join the EC, but the then French President Charles De Gaulle thwarted (vetoed) the efforts made. However, when General DeGaulle left office, the UK acceded in 1972 to the EC. In the 1980s, the then British Prime Minister, Mrs Margaret Thatcher, made a mess of the EC, by demanding for a rebate/refund for Britain in excess payment to the Community. It was a bone of contention between London and Brussels in the 1980s.
More recently, Britain refused to join and participate in the Euro, the EU common currency and Schengen Visa in the process of deepening the EU’s integration. Indeed, most British citizens so admire their institutions, like the Parliament, Monarchy and the Pounds sterling, which they would not want to compromise and cede to a supranational organization, the High Authority, like the EU. The reason being issues of sovereignty and its place in the world today. One might argue that Brexit is a dream of a new post-imperialist role in the commonwealth or elsewhere in the future.
Boris Johnson had promised that by October 2019 he will deliver Brexit whether with a deal or no deal; and also the UK Prime Minister, still faces several hurdles, including the Irish Backstop, if Brexit will see the light of day. (A solid Brexit accord would have to be in force).
Post-Brexit relations: In the international system it looks likely that a new reconfiguration of Axis of Powers would emerge when Britain leaves the EU. These Axis of Powers are the United States of America, Russia, China, EU and Britain. As such, these powers may decide to pursue their diverse interests aggressively and offensively in their geopolitical calculation, that might increase tensions in international relations among the comity of nations.
President Trump of America’s revisionist foreign policy is a source of concern, for instance, in trying to dismantle the existing norms of the world order. Mr Trump has tampered with environment, trade and security regimes, and also shows total dislike for international organizations such as the World Trade Organization, WTO. His actions have demonstrated that he wants to impose American hegemony over the rest of the world. Certainly, this behaviour has led to tensions between America and other countries like China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Now Boris Johnson has been elected by the British Conservative/Tory Party as the new British prime minister. He said Britain will energetically go into the world and secure its national security interests among the comity of nations. How is Boris going to go achieve this policy? Is it by aggressive imperialist tendencies, through politics, economic and militarily towards the Commonwealth or elsewhere? Or, alternatively, by quiet diplomacy in the global system. Brexit is a political decision taken by Britain to extricate itself from the political union (EU) and follow a new path of a geopolitical shift in its endeavour.
Nigeria: Certainly, this new axis of powers sourcing for their national interests, either through trickery or gambling with the world order, that to some extent may not be to Africa’s interests. In a world of Realpolitik, how is Nigeria going to assert and protect its national security interests, such as political, economic, and security in this new reconfiguration of powers in international politics? The Nigerian State should strengthen its institutions, as well as the economy.
When Britain eventually exits the EU, Mr Johnson, the prime minister, would pursue aggressive foreign policy, politically, diplomatically, economically and militarily towards non-EU countries, including Nigeria. The essence is for Britain to make inroads into nations’ trade, commerce and diplomacy in its geopolitical consideration. Of course, one of the countries that Britain would likely to target is Nigeria for its quest on global trade. Nigeria is in a better position to negotiate trade deals with Britain. Britain is coming as an entity, not as a member of the EU. In this respect, the Nigerian economy should be strengthened in order to weather the storms from the surged from the axis of powers in international relations.
President Buhari should endeavour to meet with both leaders of ECOWAS and the AU to restrategise on how to strengthen and to ensure that Africa participates fully in the world economy, as the globe would soon be redefined by the real foreign policies of the hyperpowers that are unfolding in the international system. In world politics or Realpolitik things can be.