Why Brexit Will Promote European, British, and American Security

On June 23, Britain will hold a referendum on its membership in the European Union. Opponents of a British exit from the EU assert that a “Brexit” would be bad for both British security and the peace of Europe. Indeed, on May 9, British Prime Minister David Cameron, a supporter of Britain’s EU membership, implied that Brexit risks causing a European war.

This argument rests on bad history and a worse understanding of the risks to peace in Europe today. If Britain exits the EU, it will ensure that it retains control of its foreign, security, and alliance policies. This will allow it to continue to play a leading role in the NATO alliance, and ensure that it remains a vital security and intelligence ally of the United States. It is the United States and NATO—not the EU—that have brought peace to Europe.

Moreover, the EU’s policies today, while not posing an immediate risk of war within Europe itself, are based on a complete failure to learn the lessons of the post-1945 era. By simultaneously failing to deter Russia, refusing to confront the crises on the European periphery, and following policies that encourage the rise of domestic political radicalism, it is the EU itself that threatens the stability of Europe. As such, democratic assertions of national sovereignty, such as Brexit, are the best way to bring Europe back to sanity and security alike.

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