The old comfortable certainties are now creaking and breaking apart. Unless the UK wants to face a strategic shock – for example, additional Russian action in Eastern or South-Eastern Europe; a growth in German “post-Atlanticism”; or some completely unforeseen eventuality – it needs to begin laying the foundations for Europe’s future.
By stepping up as a European power, the UK could do much to enhance European security, and help it find a new and important role for itself as it leaves the EU.
For the past five centuries, the United Kingdom (UK) has been forced to engage with the European mainland, despite its preference to move freely of European entanglements. As Field Marshal Lord Carver put it in 1981:
For centuries the basis for the protection of the interests of Britain has been the need to ensure that the continent of Europe is not dominated by a power that is unfriendly to us. That was the basis of opposition to France in the time of Louis XIV and XV and of Napoleon Bonaparte, and to Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm II and Hitler. It is the fundamental reason why we have welcomed the foundation of NATO, the threat from Germany having been replaced by that of the Soviet Union.
Read more at Briefings for Brexit.