Recently regarding the British Foreign Policy the biggest concern has been the issueof leaving the European Union with the starting decision taken by the citizensof the UK and the government, especially Teresa May who was in remain sideduring the campaigning term was respectful for the decision of the voters inthe referendum of 2016 and she added “Brexit means Brexit” to respect the decisionof her citizens.It was an enormous shock in the international system,especially in the European area and also it was one of the biggest blows to theEuropean Project.Because until the day of 23th of June 2016, therewas no official attempt to leave the EU and on the other hand the EU was alwaysadapted to gain new members, not to lose.The decision to leave the EU definitely shapedand transformed the existing and future British Foreign Policy.In this articlefirst of all I would like to touch on the process of the UK’s EU membership andI would like to underline how was the UK’s attitude to be a member in the secondhalf of the 20th century. Later on, I would like to mention TheresaMay’s letter as a starting point of Brexit process and British Foreign Policy’sstrength and weaknesses on some aspects.
I should also state that due to the process of Brexit is notconcluded yet, sometimes I evaluated the situation by talking about likelihoods.The UK’s Membership to the EUToday’sdiscontentedness and Brexitof the UK with the EU is actually a direct reflection of the relations with theunion from the early begining.Therefore examining the membership process andthe term after being a member will let us to better comprehend the UK’s policywith the EU.
After the Second World War there were many bigchanges regarding the EU position and situation. The UK was a victorious powerof the war, however it was also exhausted of fighting. And the UK was neither an empire nor a superpoweranymore.Thereby he was not able to change the order in the internationalsystem, what should be done was being in the same line with a superpower. According to the UK’s new position after theWar, there were 3 great circles that highly mattered British Foreign Policy as Winston S. Churchill stated in his speech in the conservative massmeeting of 19481.Theexistence of 3 great circles was crucial among free nations and democraciesabout the future of the UK.The important thing for Churchill was generallyestablishing a balance on the relationship with the 3 circles.
Firstly BritishCommonwealth and Empire, secondly English speaking world (such as the US,Canada, Australia and other British Dominions) and thirdly a united Europe wassignificant.Taking lessons from the consequences of the Second World War, inChurchill’s opinion these 3 great circles were co-existent and when they achievedto be able to stand together there could be no other power to challenge them.AndChurchill found the UK lucky for staying in the intersection of these 3 circles(in the center of seaways and airways).Thereby following the policy accordinglywould be so precious.During Churchill’s period, the UK’s foreignpolicy was supporting the integration of European countries especially with thedirect contribution of Churchill, however the UK’s independence and sovereigntywas primarily important, thereby Churchill did not include the UK to theintegration process, we can see this in his speech of Zurich in 1946. These 3 majestic circles served well in thepolicy of the UK, enabled the UK to navigate its transition from imperial topost-imperial power, to manage the hardships of the Cold War and to negotiate uncertainties of its aftermath.Sothe success of the UK was supported by the dynamism of Churchill.
Churchill’s message was crystal clear as hewas implying that Britain should always pursue to engage politically,economically and institutionally with America, Europe and Commonwealthcountries, and also if the tie of one circle weakens then it can destroy allthe ties with all the circles. However, now one of the 3 circles is in the processof damaging.If we want to summarize the policy of the ColdWar era, there were 2 big actors(the EU and the US) the UK required to have aperfect relationship. Regarding the topic of the article, it will be sufficientto explain only the UK’s relationship with the EU.On this point, there shouldbe a united Europe that is united for all the European countries and the UKshould be a member of the union.However this was not tendency of the UK in1950s(regarding the founding treaties of the EU 1951 and 1957) due to the factof relationship with the Commonwealth countries and at the same time the UK wasmuch more favoring a union based on economic cooperation without posing anyobstacle against its sovereignty.After recognizing the successful economicdevelopment of the European communities in the 1960s, the UK’s keeping itselfisolated from the integration process policy was not an issue anymore, the UKapplied to be a member in 1961 and in 1967, but all these applications wererejected by Charles De Gaulle, just because the UK was filled with problems andwas heavily dependent on the US with a special relationship.
Later in 1973, theUK eventually achieved his goal on being a member of Europe by joining the EuropeanEconomic Community.This way, the UK was able to preserve its foreign policyinterests through a bigger organization.In the 1970s, the inflation in the UK wasabove %13, and due to the petroleum crises the economy was not fine, moreoversuspects over the government were top.Under these circumstances, the UK firstly had gone to the referendum forthe first time in 1975.And the result was to remain in the community with %67.Oneof the biggest difference between 1975 and 2016 referandum was that, media landscapewas not so benign for the pro-EU camp in 2016.
In 1975’s case the communistMorning Star was the only newspaper backed to leave the community.However in2016’s case The Sun, Daily Mail and Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph allsupporting to leave.2British Foreign Policy in Respect ofBrexit ProcessFor any member of the EU who demands to leavethe union directly needs to invoke the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.Thisarticle mentions how to leave the EU.Basically, it frames 2 years of timeperiod for the agreement process and also underlines that decison needs to beapproved by 27 member states and also by the European Parliment. 29th of March, 2017 Theresa May’s letter was handed to DonaldTusk.This letter was constitutively setting theobjectives of Britain for the Brexit period and future relations with the EU byinvoking the Article 50.
However despite the fact that 2 years of negotiationterm is prescribed in the Article 50, however Theresa May stated that the processwould take 2 and more years3.This6 pages missive at the same time not only has a historical significance butalso reflects the draft of British Foreign Policy criteria regarding the EU.Theletter generally talks about security partnerships, future relationship withthe EU and protecting the UK rights living in the EU.
In the first paragraph of the letterTheresa May underlines that the UK is leaving the EU not Europe and she addsthat the UK wants the EU to prosper and succeed by the support of the UK’s goodwill.The UK knows that leaving the EU will negatively cost on some aspects dueto not being a member state anymore, that’s why Mrs. May’s intention is tocomfort the EU on a highly critical issue of leaving and she tries to showthere is no hard feeling of Brexit issue toward the EU. Seven times in theletter the term of “deep andspecial partnership” is stressed, we can easily realize how important for theUK to reconstruct a special relationship with the EU on economic and security cooperation.Inthe following parts, she mentions on the necessity of striking an agreement aboutBritish citizens living in Europe and other member citizens living in the UK.
Generallyspeaking on this letter, British Foreign Policy is inclined to calm the EUabout this leave and tries to keep the previous strengths of being a member.Brexit is adecision both has potential risks, dangers, downsides and potentialopportunities, benefits.So after takingsuch a decision, what the UK should do is pondering well on circumstances,taking swift and bold actions in order to start a new lease of life and also toeridicate the rumour of Brexit as a sense of isolationism.And the biggestthreat to trade interests could be created from an isolated policy, so it isactually not likely for the UK and it is clear that the UK will erase this kindof rumours with a proactive attitude in the international system.Regarding theBrexit’s downsides, the UK foreign policy should be concentrated on to changethem to new opportunuties.For example, the UK will be in the pursue of newpartners for collaborations (maybe China or India) and also the UK couldimprove its relations with the US, all the European countries, this way the UKcould achieve to receive the best result from the negotiation term.
The UK’sposition in the international organizations actually did not change exceptBrexit.The UK still keeps its membership in the UN, in the G7 countries, NATOand Commonwealth.In this aspect, the UK still has significance on internationalissues.Looking at the fact that in 2015, the UK committed itself to the targetof %2 of GDP required by NATO countries4,so the UK more likely to keep on increasing its defense and security positionto take bigger role in NATO and to take hard defense role.Actually, Britain isalready good at defense and one of the main priorities for the UK after Brexitwill be showing the commitment to NATO.
NATO sees the UK as a core member andalso the US respects the UK as being a partner.So after the Brexit in contrastto the less allocating national income to the national security in thepost-Cold War years, now the UK’s policy might be much more inclined toincrease investment on military issues to make the success.Generally speaking, Brexitsomehow generates conditions for strengthening NATO.
Brexit couldsupport a new momentum for the benefit of the special relationship with the US,and the UK will find more space to increase this relationship independently.Thisway the UK could soften or prevent the undesirable sanctions caused due toBrexit negotiation term.At the same time, the UK is still the second strongestmilitary power in the West and US’ ally on issues with Russia, Middle East etc.However,the UK should balance it not to be an increased dependent partner of theUS.
Here actually there is already an entanglement of China and China relatedissues.Because the ambition to have a golden era relationship with China wasfirstly coined by the ex-chancellor George Osborne and now Theresa May is alsosupporting the term, so this could lead the special relationship to a deadend.On the other hand, China proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB)to compete with US-led World Bank and IMF.
This new bank not only increased thetension between the US and China but also between the UK and the US, justbecause the UK is a regional member of AIIB from the date of 25th ofDecember 2015.The UKgovernment is decided on leaving the trade agreement and customs union of theEU’s single market which is a lucrative system gives member countries freemovement of goods, people etc.; on the other hand, it is the underlying reasonof the recent increasing number of migrants in the country especially in thesouth-east.Actually, the UK is hosting a high rate of skilled immigrants andthis directly boosts the UK’s economy.Instead of that, Mrs.May is consideringto arrange a new trade agreement which allows free flow of goods but alsocracks down on immigration from Europe.
Therefore if Mrs.May really couldachieve to end the negotiation process as she considers, then this could bevery beneficial for the UK.And regarding the EU members development, this couldcause a halt in the single market. However there is no guarantee that the UKcould have a more open trade policy and single market.In the newatmosphere, the system of the UK will likely to be more adapted to receive themost skilled workers and of course it will reduce the number of inwardimmigrants.But this would damage the economy of the UK as well, especially thesectors related to the EU.And at the end of the negotiation process, two sidescould conclude to a form of free movement just like the way the EU and Norwayor Switzerland have. Although being in the European Unionwas advantageous for British citizens on the right of moving, working, living,investing etc.
in other European countries, being granted many protections asconsumers, they were not happy about the position of their undermined nationalcitizenship comparing to the EU citizenship.It is likely that after thedecision of Brexit, British law makers will rearrange the state’s law onconsumer rights and protections.So from now on British citizens won’t be ableto enjoy the previous rights and protections, especially those who are livingin the European countries.
However, there is also one possibility that theBritish industry could be in EU competition law, because the EU even sometimescan apply this law to those companies who do not belong to EU countries. For British, the EU was notdemocratic in the sense of law-making.There was a compulsory situation forBritain to apply the laws that EU enacted, it does not matter whether the UKfind the law applicable or not.And the EU law(for ex.
judgments and directivesfrom the European Court of Justice) always has the superiority of law in termsof any contradiction between the UK and the EU laws.Moreover, decision makingin the Council of the EU and also in the process of decision making how muchthe EU pays regard to the UK Parliment’s views are all unknown and secretive.Soleaving the EU will definitely let the UK implement the laws in its own accordand erase the superiority of the EU law above the UK’s law.On the other hand,to access the single market of the EU, the UK maybe again have to accept the EUrules.This will be clear at the end of the Brexit negotiations. The EU unequivocally is a keyplayer in the WTO regarding the governing the trade and making laws.
Directlythe UK’s membership of the EU makes the UK influential on trade-related issuesalmost without having any downsides.Leaving the EU forces the UK to turn itsface to other fast-growing markets like China and India.Here the bright side isthe UK can implement new tariffs with these non-EU countries to import cheaperproducts.But not being in the EU anymore will put the UK in a weaker positionfor new negotiation processes with non-EU countries, they may not pay theprevious priority for the UK anymore.More of that, there is a camel’s nosebetween China and the UK about steel and alleged Chinese damping. Regarding the peace and securityissues, under the roof of the EU collectively taking actions gives the UK aninternational influence. The EU uses diplomacy and peace-keeping forces tocontribute the stability in areas mostly in the leadership of the UK, like inBalkans, Noth Africa etc.After the Brexit, the UK can decide on its ownsecurity priorities on its own; on the other hand, this could limit the UK’sinfluence on security issues when EU countries collaborate on defense issues ina way to undermine NATO.
The UK will be pleased with the new situation, becausethis way the UK will be able to distance itself from some aspects of EuropeanForeign and Security Policy which the UK finds flawed and damaging NATO.Thereforein the following years, the UK will think about a new special relationship withthe EU on foreign and security policy and re-examining NATO’s command structuremay be primary. The UK joined terrible memoriesof Iraq and Afghanistan invasions which are challenging to the reputation ofthe country and perceived as serious mistakes of the UK’s policy.In my opinion,these terrible memories will not prevent the UK from joining new militaryoperations in the following years, having the Brexit will also contribute tothis.The UK will be interested in taking interventions if the intervention isperceived as necessary.Of course, for the next possible interventions, the UKwill be much more cautious. Remaining or leaving the EU bothhave pros and cons when we take a look at it in a financial perspective.
On thebright side membership of the EU contributed to public finances of the UK bytax revenue.At the same time, the UK is a net contributor to the EU budget bypaying the membership fee.Just after Germany, the UK comes as the second memberwho pays more to the EU5.Actually,this amount of money was reduced during Margaret Thatcher term.However,generally the UK pays more for the EU than the UK receives from the EU.
Due toBrexit, the UK is not able to direct the EU budget to the areas where the UKcan receive more benefit and also can not receive any money from the EUprogrammes.But on the other hand, now the UK is able to spend the membershipfee for other areas.And also the UK may still have to contribute to the EU,like Norway, to access to the single market. Inthe following years, Brexit could provoke Scotland and Northern Ireland toleave the UK.These two regions were not on the side of leaving the EU, and justafter 2016 referendum result was published, authorities in Scotland declaredthat their aim is to take any constitutional option otherthan independence into consideration in securing Scotland’s place in the EU6.
Inmy opinion, firstly Scotland will try to preserve its position both in the EUand in the UK, but if Scotland can not find a new formula for this, Scotlandmay leave the UK and then apply for the membership of the EU.Regarding NorthernIreland, there is a possiblity of leaving the UK and then Northern Ireland canunite with the rest of the Ireland.So Brexit has weakness on the BritishForeign Policy by creating political instability and division in the UK. For more than 40 years ofmembership, the UK and the British people have never taken the EU Project toheart, they always showed a low level of willingness to acknowledge the EUidentity and British identity has always had the superiority7,thereby this was not an unexpected decision.It is clear that Brexit was adecision of the British Foreign Policy to be less bothered with the problem ofthe rest of the world, especially the EU’s problems.And the consequence of theBrexit is still ambiguous about the British Foreign Policy’s strengths andweaknesses.It will take years to figure out how the new British Foreign Policywill be exactly shaped.
But it is clear that relationship with Europe, even whenleaving the EU, still will be heavily invested in political, economical andsecurity arrangements that exist on the continent. 1 Winston S. Churchill,’Conservative Mass Meeting: a speech at Llandudno, 9 October 1948′, EuropeUnite:speeches 1947 & 1948, London : Cassell, 1950, p. 416-4182 CURTICE John, WhyLeave Won the UK’s EU Referendum, Journal of Common Market Studies, Page 263 STONE Jon, BritainCould Miss 2019 Deadline of Leaving the EU, Independent, 19 October 20164 BEW John andELEFTERIU Gabriel, Making Sense ofBritish Foreign Policy After Brexit, July 2016, Page35 The UK in a Changing Europe , Colloboration study on Strengths,Weaknesses, Opportunuties, Threats of the UK’s membership of the EU, Page 216 KOLÇAK Harun, Associate Statehood for Scotland as the Way to Stay inboth the United Kingdom and the European Union: the Liechtenstein Example, No.1, June 2017, Page 457 JohnCURTICE, Why Leave Won the UK’s EU Referendum, JCMS 2017 Volume 55.AnnualReview, pp.21 Table 1