16:39 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Did Washington Win or Lose from Britain's EU Departure?

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    Over the weekend, New York Times reporter David E. Sanger suggested that the United States is on the brink of losing the levers of influence on the European Union following the UK's decision to leave the EU. In reality, analysts speaking to Russia's Svobodnaya Pressa newspaper suggested that things are a little more nuanced.

    In his NYT piece, Sanger pointed out that Britain had always served as a reliable partner for the US in areas including security, intelligence and trade. "Few nations were as willing to put a thumb as firmly on the scales of European debates in ways that benefit the United States," Sanger wrote. 

    "Now that quiet diplomatic leverage – including moderating European trade demands and strong-arming nations to contribute more to NATO military missions – is suddenly diminished," the journalist wistfully added.

    Speaking to the newspaper, US analysts bitterly complained that the Brexit has come at a very inconvenient time for the West, while Washington and its allies are in the midst of a debate on how to deal with "a revanchist Russia," and how to "reinvigorate NATO," reach agreement on the TTIP trade deal, and "work through a diplomatic settlement in Syria that could relieve the migrant crisis in Europe."

    "Now, with Britain's exit…whatever passed for long-term plans – a [European Union] that gradually takes a greater role in its region and the Middle East as America devotes more attention to Asia – are imperiled," Sanger warned.

    Accordingly, because there is no other country inside the EU capable of taking the UK's place in serving as the US's chief source of influence over the bloc, Washington, according to the journalist, is forced to think up a new strategy, and to reevaluate its relationship with the EU.

    Asked to comment on the New York Times analysis, Moscow State University political science professor Sergei Chernyakhovsky told Russia's Svobodnaya Pressa online newspaper that "in fact, the picture is quite a bit more ambiguous."

    "On the one hand, the United States can consider that it has lost leverage on the European Union," the professor said. "On the other hand, it might be said with no less certainty that they have gained" from this outcome.

    This, Chernyakhovsky noted, comes down to the fact that "creating a certain amount of chaos in Europe, and preventing the possibility of the EU becoming an independent center of power, is of course profitable for the US establishment. As a result [of the referendum], today everyone is suffering from a sense of bewilderment. But this does not mean that this event will result in catastrophic consequences on a planetary scale."

    Even as far as the European countries are concerned, the professor indicated, "it would be pure speculation to try to analyze the situation and to assess whether it will give an additional impetus for disintegration processes in Europe or, on the contrary, frighten European [elites] into uniting. For now, all these evaluations are mere constructions, unsupported by any meaningful calculations. It's necessary to wait and watch carefully for the first consequences of this event."

    As for the country at the center of the crisis — the United Kingdom, Chernyakhovsky suggested that doomsday predictions of that country's imminent demise are also premature. In fact, the analyst noted, he could "not rule out the possibility that Britain would benefit from the decision. It's no secret that in recent years, the country felt economically constrained by the policies formulated in Brussels."

    "But there's another point to be made: the model of integration which the British are now getting rid of was both naïve and flawed from the beginning. Firstly, because decisions are made not by the representatives of various political forces, but by a faceless bureaucracy, which came to govern the EU, and drawing on neither party level or mass support, but on purely bureaucratic considerations."

    "It should be noted," Chernyakhovsky suggested, "that this phenomenon, dubbed 'managerism' — when people who are incompetent attempt to govern (that is, to become the managers of 'everything and everyone', without understanding anything), has become fashionable," and not only in the EU.

    Ultimately, the academic noted, "the EU has demonstrated that the fruits of this 'managerism' are the destruction of national economies of lesser developed countries, specifically, by forcing them to abandon their traditional economic activity and production…Such schemes were applied to Greece, where the EU first killed off national industry, 'generously' provided the country with credits, and then began to demand them back, and with very, very heavy interest."

    "Furthermore, the Brussels model, with its policy of 'ethno-cultural mincing'…has too visibly led to the loss of everyday cultural comfort for a majority of Europeans, most of whom have begun growing increasingly lost in their own countries through the rushing flow of migrants in recent years. We know that when ethnic and cultural elements of other civilizations and traditions reaches 20% of a country's population, it begins creating social tensions. Meanwhile, among EU countries, the tendency toward reaching this 20% mark is very strong in many countries."

    For his part, Nikolai Burlyaev, president of the Zolotoi Vityaz International Film Festival of Slavic and Orthodox Peoples, suggested that whatever else happens, as far as Russia is concerned, it's necessary to stay calm.

    "Here, I think, the phrase that 'the salvation of those who are drowning depends on the drowning themselves' fits perfectly," the artist suggested. "We should deal with our own problems, not to wag our finger at the West, but think about what it is that Russia should focus on, as Petr Stolypin said in his own time. Europe, meanwhile, should solve their problems. All their supranational formations, whether built under the American flag, or the pan-European one – all this will fall apart sooner or later." 

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