Saturday, July 21, 2018

Cockburn goes crazy and hears things that nobody said.


A response to 'Trump Knows That He Can Exercise More Power in a UK Weakened by Brexit' by Patrick Cockburn
“English nationalism as expressed by Brexiteers is a strange beast. Donald Trump gives an interview in which he assumes the right to intervene in the conflict between Theresa May and Boris Johnson over Brexit.”
He assumed no such right. He merely pointed out, correctly, that May's current plan is a dog's breakfast that would make a free trade deal with America very hard. This isn't an attack on Britain's independence like Obama telling the UK that they would go to the back of the queue if Brexit happened.

He speaks with the same confident authority as he would in his own country, sorting out differences in the Republican Party over who should be the next senator for Alabama or South Carolina.”
Well firstly I don't think that he has much influence on on who gets to be Senator. Secondly he isn't selecting who is going to be in power in the UK, he's merely pointing out the mistakes that May has made and that need to be corrected, and WHY they need to be corrected. Should he have kept quiet about that? Should the British public have waited until a trade deal with the US was impossible because of the Chequers plan? Or should they have been informed of the difficulties that Trump, informed by his State Department sees?

His attempted roll-back later does not alter the tone or substance of what he said.
The aim of Trump’s intervention in the short term is, as always, to top the news agenda and to show up everybody, be they allies or enemies, as weaker and more vulnerable than himself. “

More dangerously for Britain, in the long term, his domineering words”
How is it 'domineering' to point out problems that a plan has? He commented that he could have done the deal better, but then a retarded daschund could have done a better deal. He isn't telling her what to do, he's telling her something she is doing is a bad idea and will have consequences and what those consequences are.

set down a marker for the future relationship between the UK and the US outside the EU which could be close to that between the colony or the vassal of an imperial state.”
How? He's not telling May to bow, or provide troops for his wars, or take orders from him on any matter, foreign or domestic. He's simply saying “this is a problem, here is why and how”.

The terminology is the Brexiteers’ own: Johnson claimed in his resignation letter that the Chequers version of Brexit a few days earlier was so watered down that it meant that “we are truly headed for the status of a colony”. “
And is he wrong? What is the status of a society that must ceded to those outside itself control like control the EU has without any input into how that control is exercised? If this is not a colony what is it?

He cited, as concrete evidence of this servitude, the anger he felt towards the EU for frustrating his efforts to protect cyclists from juggernauts, though media investigation revealed that it was the British government that blocked the life-saving measure.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, the fundamentalist Brexit leader, reached back far into the Middle Ages for a bizarre analogy to illustrate his point that Britain would entirely fail to escape the EU yoke under the terms envisaged in the White Paper on Britain’s future relationship with the EU. He described the intention to keep Britain within the EU rule book for goods and agriculture as “the greatest vassalage since King John paid homage to Phillip II at Le Goulet in 1200”.
The use of such an arcane example is presumably intended to show that Rees-Mogg has deeply pondered the great triumphs and betrayals of English history. In doing so he unintentionally reveals one of his many blind spots by choosing an event long preceding the creation of a British nation state incorporating Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
What blind spot? He is stating the truth, whether that statement involves an example that pre-dates the conquest of Scotland, Wales and Ireland is irrelevant. That they became colonies doesn't mean England should. Particularly since at least the Celts could claim they fought it and didn't give their sovereignty away like lollipops at the dentist.

A problem about the whole Brexit debate, which has confused the issue since long before the referendum in 2016, is that discussion is focused on the economic connection between Britain and the EU when it should really be about the political relationship.”
Yes and the Brexiteers were quite keen to do that weren't they? It was the Remainers that didn't want to talk about it. I wonder why?

Trump says that the present Brexit plan rules out a US-UK free trade agreement, but even if it did not, there is a strong element of fantasy and wishful thinking in the Brexiteers’ vision of Britain’s economic future.”
What do you mean “even if it did not”? Are you pretending that the present Brexit plan is somehow to essential to the vision of Brexit and that abandoning it will somehow make the Brexiteers' vision less reality based?


Again it is worth looking at Johnson’s letter because it is almost touching in its naivety and wishful thinking about Britain’s future place in the world economy. We are to stifle “self-doubt”, and instead be more “nimble and dynamic and maximise the particular advantages of the UK, as an open outward looking economy”. “
What is wishful about that? What is wrong with trying to be more responsive to economic incentives provided by the rest of the world? What is naïve about thinking that is possible? Without some evidence that this is not 100% achievable calling it naïve is simply shaming tactics.
Apparently, the world is full of hermit kingdoms that have long been short of such vibrant economies and, once freed from the shackles of the EU, we will be able to meet their long unsatisfied needs.”
What are you talking about? Nobody mentioned 'hermit kingdoms' and surely in a trade deal they're not really relevant. The world is full of nations that wish to trade with the UK. I don't know why you ignore this fact.


It is easy to mock and the mockery is well-deserved,”
Then why weren't you able to point out a single thing he said that was wrong? Why did you have to strawman his position to mock him?

but it should be balanced with a much stronger part of the pro-Brexit case which is simply the pursuit of national self-determination regardless of the economic consequences.”
And how is that worse than the pursuit of European union regardless of the consequences? Yes people have other concerns than their pocketbook, how is that either naïve or bad?

This demand for independence has usually preceded the formation of nation states, once imperial possessions, the world over.

Most nationalist movements have claimed with varying degrees of truth or exaggeration that their economic, social and sectarian troubles stemmed from imperial misrule and independence would cure all.”
Who in the Brexiteer camp has claimed Brexit would cure everything?

When this fails to happen few nationalist movements have had a realistic alternative plan.”
Few? Citation needed. How few?


Brexiteers similarly buttress their perfectly legitimate demand for self-determination with dubious assumptions about the degree to which EU regulations hobble the British economy.”
Oh really? What do your numbers of how much the EU regulations hobble the economy say? Oh that's right you're a leftist, you don't do numbers.

Most Brexiteers are on the right so they are neither familiar nor comfortable with anti-imperial arguments traditionally advanced by the left.”
And yet Nigel Farage was the ONLY leader to point out the reality of the Ukraine coup.

They would not be happy to be reminded that much of what they say is the same as Sinn Fein – “Ourselves Alone” – says today in Ireland or Indian and Kenyan nationalists said before independence.”

Wouldn't they? How do you know? Have you asked any? And what if it was the same and they weren't happy about it, wouldn't the argument still be valid?

A further cause of reticence is that focus on the economic benefits of Brexit masks the extent to which the result of the referendum – and the rise of populist nationalists in the US and much of Europe – are fuelled by opposition to immigration and racism.”
Ok then to what extent is the result of the referendum fueled by opposition to immigration and to racism? Oh of course you're not giving that number either because this is a smear not a serious argument.

But there is a price to pay for the Brexiteers’ skewed picture of Britain and its place in the world. If it leaves the EU, as seems inevitable, it will become a lesser power and no longer able to balance between America and Europe as, to a degree, it has hitherto been able to do.”
How would it become a lesser power? What would lessen it's power? How do you even know it won't become a greater power?


Dependence on the US will inevitably increase”
Why inevitably? What would Britain want, let alone need, that only America could provided? If Britain became a lesser power might it simply stop doing things great powers do and keep itself to itself?

and we have just had a rude foretaste of what this means for Britain’s future in the Trump interview in The Sun.”
So what this “dependence” means is that the US President can tell people the consequences of a proposed action on the negotiations between the UK and USA. Good.

He knows that Britain has nowhere else to go and must bend the knee,”
When did he ask them to bend the knee. He's telling them that they can't get something if they do a particular thing. He's not saying they have to not do that thing, merely that it's a bad idea with specific consequences.

something swiftly confirmed by the evasive British government response to his unprecedented intervention in the UK’s internal affairs.”
Calling it unprecedented is a lie, and even calling it an intervention in the UK's internal affairs is borderline dishonest. He gave advice on a foreign policy matter from the viewpoint of how it will affect US/UK relations. That is all.

The British government would clearly like the old post-Second World War order and Britain’s place in it to continue forever.”
What has that got do to with the Brexit negotiations even if it's true?

British politicians and civil servants are hoping that the Trump visit is a temporary bad dream but is in fact it an early sign of a post-Brexit reality in which Britain will play a lesser role in the world.”
How? Trump is not telling Britain what to do. Britain at this point is in control of it's own destiny, or at least Theresa May is in charge of it. Trump can't block the Chequers plan, all he can do is tell May how stupid it is and why. The fact that her own diplomats didn't tell her is revealing. There is no indication that Britain will play a lesser role in the world, or even not a greater one. You are just making shit up.