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America’s Billionaires Congealing Around Warren and Buttigieg

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The Democratic Presidential candidates who have been the most backed by billionaires have not been doing well in the polling thus far, and this fact greatly disturbs the billionaires. They know that the Democratic nominee will be chosen in the final round of primaries, and they have always wanted Pete Buttigieg to be in that final round. Therefore, they have backed him more than any of the other candidates. But what worries them now is that his opponent in that round might turn out to be Bernie Sanders, whom they all consider to be their nemesis. They want to avoid this outcome, at all costs. And they might have found a way to do it: Elizabeth Warren. Here is how, and why:

Among the top three in the polling — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren — only Biden is among the top five in the number of billionaires who have backed him, and each of the other four candidates scores higher than Biden does in the number of billionaire backers. Furthermore, Biden is sinking in the polls. Consequently, Democratic Party billionaires are increasingly worrying that their Party might end up nominating for the Presidency someone whom they won’t support. That person would be Sanders. And the Democratic National Committee — which relies heavily upon its billionaire backers in order to be able to win elections (just as the Republican National Committee relies upon Republican billionaire backers in order to win) — is terrified by this possibility (alienating its Party’s crucial moneybags).

The saving grace for these billionaires (and for the DNC) increasingly seems likely to be Senator Warren’s candidacy, which draws support away from Sanders, and therefore gives Buttigieg a chance ultimately to win the nomination. 

As of August 30th, the most-comprehensive website reporting on the latest polling information and trendlines concerning the Democratic Party presidential primary contests, https://projects.economist.com/democratic-primaries-2020/, reports that more registered Democrats are considering whether to vote for Warren (50%) than for any of the other candidates, including #2 Biden (48%), and #3 Sanders (38%). The percentages shown there as currently intending to vote for each one of those are 27% Biden, 18% Warren, and 16% Sanders. Buttigieg is currently only at 5% who are intending. The “intending” trendlines are downward for all of the candidates except Warren, whose trendline is steadily upward ever since May and is trending to surpass Biden at around the time when the primaries actually start in February 2020. So: right now, Warren clearly seems to be the likeliest winner of the Democratic Party’s nomination. The likeliest possibility to block that would be for Sanders to reduce his loss of progressive voters to Warren, and for Warren to start trending downward while Sanders trends upward; so, that’s what the billionaires would want to prevent from happening.

On August 27th, the top website for Democratic Party activists, Political Wire, headlined “Warren Overtakes Biden as Most Favorable Candidate”, and reported that not only does Warren now edge out both Biden and Sanders in net favorability rating, and top the entire field of candidates in that extremely important measure, but Warren is overwhelmingly the most frequently mentioned second choice of Democratic Party primary voters, which means that not only would the voters who intend to vote for her in the primary be delighted if she were to become the Democratic nominee — this outcome would also likeliest produce the most-unified Party going into the general election. This, in turn, would mean that Democratic Party billionaires, instead of Republican Party billionaires, would almost certainly control the country after 2020 — the country would be controlled by people such as Thomas Steyer and Donald Sussman, instead of by people such as Sheldon Adelson and Paul Singer. It would be a different ‘democracy’, but not really much different; it would be like the difference between George W. Bush and Barack Obama — it would be different in rhetoric and bumper-stickers, but very similar in actual policies. (For examples: whereas Bush invaded and destroyed Afghanistan and Iraq, Obama invaded and destroyed Libya and Syria; and, all the while, both of them supported the Sauds and Israel; and, moreover, both of them supported Wall Street, though Obama tongue-lashed them, which Bush didn’t.) So: though the rhetoric is sometimes different, the basic policies aren’t. The policies of Republican billionaires and of Democratic billionaires are basically similar.

As of just a few weeks ago, the Democratic Party’s five top U.S. Presidential candidates, in terms of whom had been backed the most strongly by America’s billionaires, were, in order from the top: Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Michael Bennett, and Joe Biden. Warren was 12th down from Buttigieg’s #1 position, in support from the billionaires. Sanders was at the very bottom — zero billionaires backing him (he was the only one of the 17 reporting candidates who had no billionaire backer). 

The Democratic Party’s billionaires are just crazy about Buttigieg, but the question right now is whom will they choose to be running against him during the decisive final round of the primaries? Would they rather it be Sanders? Or instead Warren? 

They definitely prefer Warren. Her recent soaring poll-numbers are raising her support, from them, so strongly that the neoconservative-neoliberal (i.e., pro-billionaire) David Bradley’s The Atlantic magazine headlined on August 26th, “Elizabeth Warren Manages to Woo the Democratic Establishment”. This magazine reported (to use my language, not theirs) that the rats from the sinking ship Joe Biden have begun to jump onboard the U.S.S. Elizabeth Warren’s rising ship, which might already be tied even-steven with the other two leading ships, of Biden and of Sanders. Since Sanders is the only American Presidential candidate whom no billionaire supports, there are strong indications that Warren is drawing some of them away from Biden. This could turn the nominating contest into, ultimately, Buttigieg versus Warren (both of whom are acceptable to billionaires), instead of into Buttigieg versus Sanders (which would pose the threat to them of producing a Sanders Presidency). There is little reason to think that Buttigieg will decline to the #2 position in billionaires’ support; but, if this contest turns into Sanders v. Buttigieg, instead of into Warren v. Buttigieg, then Democratic Party billionaires not only would pour even more money into Buttigieg’s campaign against Sanders, but they would likely end up donating to the Republican Presidential nominee in 2020 if Sanders ends up beating Buttigieg (as polls indicate he almost certainly would). By contrast, if this nominating contest ends up being between Warren v. Buttigieg, then the Party’s billionaires wouldn’t likely switch to supporting the Republican Presidential nominee — they’d continue donating to the Democratic Party, regardless of which of those two candidates wins the nomination, in order to defeat Trump (or whomever the Republican nominee turns out to be), and take the control of the country away from Republican billionaires (as it now is).

Therefore, David Bradley’s propaganda organs are turned on, really hot, by Lizzie. For some typical examples, at Bradley’s biggest-circulation one, The Atlantic, its recent stories gushing about her have been headlined: “Elizabeth Warren Had Charisma, and Then She Ran for President”, and “Elizabeth Warren’s Big Night”, and “The Activist Left Already Knows Who It Wants for President”. For example: the last-mentioned of those articles was about “Netroots Nation, a conference that’s been around since the early 2000s,” which “is run by the liberal political blog Daily Kos.” Here’s what it hides: Daily Kos was founded and owned by the CIA asset and El Salvadorian aristocrat Markos Moulitsas, a ‘former’ Republican far-right person, who set up his website in 2002 and suddenly specialized in fooling progressive Democrats to endorse whomever the billionaire-run Democratic National Committee wants them to support. Unlike David Bradley’s ‘moderate’-Democrat rags, Moulitsas’s ‘progressive’-Democrat rag, Daily Kos, targets to make suckers of Democrats who might vote in the primaries for people that the billionaires actually fear — and that’s now especially Sanders — in order to turn them instead toward favoring the ‘mainstream’, ‘more electable’, Democratic Party candidates (such as Biden, Buttigieg, and Harris — not David Bradley’s darling as Buttigieg’s stalking horse, Warren). In 2016, that ‘mainstream’ was Hillary Clinton (whom the DNC had rigged the primaries to ‘win’ against Sanders), but more recently it was Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg; and, now, this ‘mainstream’ is starting to include (from the billionaires’ standpoint) Elizabeth Warren. That’s because Warren is vastly more preferred by billionaires than is Sanders, and so they want the Party’s progressives to choose her, instead of Sanders, so that the final Democratic Presidential contest will be between Warren versus the billionaires’ actual favorite, which is Buttigieg. If they can’t get him, at least they can get her, the Party’s billionaires clearly now are hoping.

On April 19th, Jonathan Martin headlined in the New York Times, “‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum”, and he opened:

“When Leah Daughtry, a former Democratic Party official, addressed a closed-door gathering of about 100 wealthy liberal donors in San Francisco last month, all it took was a review of the 2020 primary rules to throw a scare in them. … “I think I freaked them out,” Ms. Daughtry recalled with a chuckle, an assessment that was confirmed by three other attendees. They are hardly alone. … But stopping Mr. Sanders … could prove difficult for Democrats.

Martin went on to say:

His strength on the left gives him a real prospect of winning the Democratic nomination and could make him competitive for the presidency if his economic justice message resonates in the Midwest as much as Mr. Trump’s appeals to hard-edge nationalism did in 2016. And for many Sanders supporters, the anxieties of establishment Democrats are not a concern.

That prospect is spooking establishment-aligned Democrats. …

David Brock, the liberal organizer [founder of the Media Matters anti-progressive Democratic Party website against Republicans], … said he has had discussions with other operatives about an anti-Sanders campaign and believes it should commence “sooner rather than later.” …

Howard Wolfson [here’s the wiki on him], who spent months immersed in Democratic polling and focus groups on behalf of former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York, had a blunt message for Sanders skeptics: “People underestimate the possibility of him becoming the nominee at their own peril.” …

The matter of What To Do About Bernie and the larger imperative of party unity has, for example, hovered over a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz [the billionaire former Vice Chairman of Lockheed Martin]. …

[Rufus] Gifford [former President Barack Obama’s 2012 finance director, who] … has gone public in recent days with his dismay over major Democratic fund-raisers remaining on the sidelines, said of Mr. Sanders, “I feel like everything we are doing is playing into his hands.”

But the peril of rallying the party’s elite donor class against a candidate whose entire public life has been organized around confronting concentrated wealth is self-evident: Mr. Sanders would gleefully seize on any Stop Bernie effort.

“You can see him reading the headlines now,” Mr. Brock mused: “‘Rich people don’t like me.’”

So: the rise of Elizabeth Warren gives the billionaires a ‘progressive’ candidate who might either win the nomination or else at least split progressive voters during the primaries (between Sanders and Warren) and thus give the nomination to Buttigieg, who is their first choice (especially since both Biden and Harris have been faltering so badly of late).

This explains the gushings for Warren, at such neocon rags as The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Yorker, and Mother Jones. It’s being done in order to set up the final round, so as for its outcome to be acceptable to the billionaires who fund the Democratic Party. Her record in the U.S. Senate is consistently in support of U.S. invasions, coups, and sanctions against countries that have never invaded nor even threatened to invade the U.S., such as Venezuela, Palestine, Syria, and Iran; she’s 100% a neocon (just like G.W. Bush, Obama and Trump were/are); and, to billionaires, that is even more important than her policy-record regarding Wall Street is, because the Military Industrial Complex, which she represents, is even more important to enforcing and spreading the U.S. megacorporate empire than the investment-firms are. So, whereas they would be able to deal with Warren, they wouldn’t be able to deal with Sanders, whose policy-record is remarkably progressive in all respects, and not only on domestic U.S. matters. Whereas the public pay attention virtually only to domestic matters, billionaires care even more about foreign than about domestic affairs — and this fact — more than anything else — makes Sanders utterly unacceptable to them. Under a President Warren, America’s string of invasions, coups, and economic blockades (sanctions) would continue; but, under a President Sanders, all of that wasted money would be spent instead on improving the lives of the American people, rather than on destroying the lives of the residents in those foreign lands so as to conquer those lands in the name of advancing ‘human rights’ and ‘democracy’ there and of ‘defending America’ against ‘enemies’ who never even have threatened us. This con is the reality that both the Democratic and the Republican sides of The Establishment (the collective operation of all billionaires and their ‘news’-media and think tanks, etc.) constantly hide from the public. And that is why, for example, America went from invading Iraq on the basis of lies in 2003, to invading Libya on the basis of lies in 2011, and Syria on the basis of lies in 2013-, and maybe Venezuela and Iran on the basis of lies after the upcoming Presidential ‘election’.

Author’s note: first posted at strategic-culture.org

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Addressing the infodemic should be the key priority of a Biden administration

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The 2020 election underlined the growing tribalism in the United States with many seeing it as a referendum on the soul, identity, and future of the United States.

One reason for the growing divisions is that Americans increasingly self-segregate, living in communities that reinforce their political, social, religious, and philosophical views facilitating the growth of visceral political anger. Consequently, everything is political and personal and compromises virtually impossible. 

The election and the result highlighted that millions of Americans, despite plenty of factual evidence to the contrary, hold views not based on empirical evidence. Millions believe the 2020 election was neither free nor fair and that Democrats support globalist cabalschild-trafficking, paedophilia rings.  

The tribalism is most visible in the way many Americans respond to the Covid-19 pandemic with 76% of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents asserting the US had done a good job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, even though the virus continues to run rampant across the country. Despite plenty of evidence to the contrary around 29% believe Covid-19 is an intentional bioweapon, others believe Bill Gates had planned the pandemic or that 5G technology is responsible for the outbreak. 

Without tackling the infodemic, a Biden administration would struggle because proponents of disinformation (the intentional spreading of untruths) and adherent of misinformation (belief in untruth) have increasingly moved from the fringe to the centre. 

A study from the Cornell Alliance for Science identified President Trump has the world’s biggest disseminator of COVID-19 misinformation. It is therefore unsurprising that so many Americans question not only the root of the pandemic but how to combat it. Consequently, many doubts any information that does not come from Donald Trump, especially as many of his supporters look at life in a binary way, of either full support or full resistance.   

Soon after being declared winner, Joe Biden announced the establishment of a COVID-19 advisory board composed of public health experts, whose role would be to aid in coordinating the response to the pandemic. However, relying on science is problematic as the hyper-politicisation has meant many Americans mistrust scientific findings, holding it to be equally biased.

Beyond a highly partisan Congress, which is likely to stall many of Biden’s policies, the administration would need to grapple with President Trump’s judicial legacy. President Trump not only appointed three Supreme Court justices thus altering the political leaning of the court, but he reversed the trend of promoting diversity. For example, in 1977, the judiciary was predominantly white and male, but successive presidents worked hard to bring forth minorities onto the bench to reflect the nature of American society. President Trump’s nominees could end up slowing down or torpedoing an ambitious, reformist agenda. Challenging the legitimacy of the courts would only add to the growing division, especially as studies indicate that over 60 percent of Americans have faith in the judicial branch.

Joe Biden is uniquely suited to address many of these challenges. Firstly, his age may be an advantage; he has lived through many changes, and he can rely on those experiences as he reaches out to people. He has blue-collar roots, and the fact that he attended a non-Ivy League university would appeal to many Americans suspicious of the elites. His religious commitment gives him a unique ability to speak to many of President Trump’s religious supporters; he just needs to find the tone.

Biden’s principal task should be to use to White House pulpit to speak with people, connect with them, and persuade them to abandon their hyper-partisanship. He should reject President Trump’s usage of executive orders, regulatory discretion particularly when things will get tough, such as Senate refusing to confirm his nominees. As an experienced bridge-builder, he must spend more time speaking with people, bringing them to the Oval Office to persuade them to support empirically-test policies. Reminding opponents, he secured the support of over 80 million Americans. 

The Biden administration will also face many demands from Progressive claiming they worked very hard to get Biden elected. They will argue, with merit, that having a moderate agenda, one designed to win over moderate Republicans and Independents is a betrayal. However, Biden emphasises his goal is to heal America, to bring an element of stability. To pacify the Progressive, he must emphasise he is overseeing a transitional administration, designed to restore civility and unity and lay the foundation for Kamla Harris.  

Reversing the infodemic would take time as it calls for healing divisions and encouraging many Americans to abandon many strongly held ideas, which requires empathy. Joe Biden has the skills to do bring about positive change, and for the sake of many Americans and the world, we must hope that he succeeds.

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Fakhrizadeh’s Assassination Could Endangers Biden’s Diplomacy

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Image source: Wikipedia

The international political situation heats up, especially in the Middle East, after the killing of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Apart from Mohsen, several other Iranian nuclear scientists have also been killed in the past decade.

Mohsen was attacked in eastern Tehran on Friday (27/11). He was ambushed by an armed group and the target of a Nissan car explosion before a gun battle broke out. He was rushed to the hospital, but his life could not be helped.

Iranian political and military officials have blamed Israel and US as the masterminds behind Mohsen’s assassination and attack. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called for retaliation for Mohsen’s death. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also said he would retaliate and appoint Israel as the mastermind behind the attack.

Iran and Hezbollah are currently said to be targeting Israelis and Jews around the world. Places owned by Israel and Jews will be the main targets of their retaliation for Mohsen’s death. Israel is also raising its guard. The Israeli government is reportedly on standby and is tightening the security of its embassies around the world. Jewish communities around the world are also asked to be on high alert. The Israeli military has also increased its vigilance along the country’s borders.

What is interesting is that the US secretly deployed the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier to the Arabian Gulf region last Wednesday. Although US Navy Fifth Fleet Spokesperson, Rebecca Rebarich, denied the movement of the fleet was unrelated to Mohsen’s assassination, the international public interpreted the aircraft carrier in order to anticipate the escalation of threats that might arise after the murder case.

There is not much information about Mohsen. Mohsen is the head of the research and innovation organization at the Iranian Ministry of Defense. He’s the main figure behind Iran’s secret nuclear development.

In April 2018, PM Netanyahu mentioned Mohsen’s name when uncovering a nuclear file which he said had been smuggled by Israeli agents from Iran. He named Mohsen as the head of a secret nuclear project called the Amad Project.

In its 2011 report, the UN nuclear weapons watchdog also identified Mohsen as the mastermind behind Iran’s nuclear technology. He was considered to have the ability to do so and at that time it was suspected that he still had an important role in these activities.

Mohsen’s assassination is certain to provoke a new confrontation between Iran and its enemies, including the United States and Israel, in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency.

Mohsen’s assassination is considered as the culmination of the US and Israel’s strategic plan to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. In fact, various parties consider Mohsen’s killing to be the culmination of Israel’s long-term plan.

Mohsen has long been the target of several Israeli prime ministers as well as several directors of the Mossad spy agency. This murder was also predicted to aim at uprooting Iran as a country of nuclear knowledge.

However, some international observers have speculated that the main purpose of the assassination was actually to obstruct the US administration in the era of President-elect Joe Biden who will dialogue to find a diplomatic solution to end the conflict with Iran.

What’s more, President Biden has expressed his intention to re-enter the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, which has been largely devastated since President Donald Trump left the deal in 2018.

Statement from Amos Yadlin, former head of Israel’s military intelligence and head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS). Amos said whoever makes the decision to assassinate Mohsen should know that there are still 55 days left in which the White House has someone who sees the Iranian threat as they do. In fact, Amos says Biden is a different story. Amos’ statement certainly points to President Trump who is still in power in the White House.

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Biden’s victory: An Opportunity for Transatlantic Reconciliation after Trump and Brexit?

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Joe Biden’s victory Last November came at a critical point during the Brexit negotiations between The European Union and the United Kingdom. There has been a lot of speculation as to whether a change in the American presidency will substantially affect the talks between Europe and Britain. Realistically speaking, the effect the Democrats’ victory in the US will have, at least on Brexit talks before the end of this year, will be minimal.

On a positive note, now that Donald Trump has been defeated, this leaves very little room for the UK to use the threat of a quicker and better deal with the US to try to subdue the EU and make them accept a more pro British agenda. The UK has no longer the US is an alternative to fall back onto if no deal is the result of the negotiations by December 31st.

Since the 2016 British referendum, the decision to leave the EU was enthusiastically greeted by Donald Trump. In very simplistic terms, Trump saw The British “Yes” vote as an act that vaguely resembled his campaign slogan “Let’s Make America Great Again.” The long standing, more loyal foreign policy ally of the US in Europe, was slowly showing signs to move away from the multilateralism Donald Trump greatly despised.

Ever since the outcome of the Brexit referendum became official, Donald Trump voiced his strong support for the UK to pursue a hard Brexit, and even enticed the British government with the prospect of a robust trade deal between the US and the UK, to convince the UK to drop out of the EU without a deal. In reality, none of those big American promises ever materialised. From 2016 to 2020, Donald Trump did absolutely nothing to support the UK. Biden’s victory last November, makes any past promises made by Trump impossible to fulfil.

Biden will, in principle, follow a diametrically opposed foreign policy to Trump’s. He sees the EU, and not the UK, ask the key actor that will help him advance American interests in the European continent. While there have been mutual expressions of willingness to strengthen the relationship between the Americans and the British, Joe Biden has always been skeptical of Brexit, and has made it clear from the start that one of his priorities in foreign policy will be to rebuild the relationship with the EU rather than pursuing a trade deal with the UK.

Ideally, should the UK try to have some sort of leverage to negotiate with the incoming American administration, they need to aim to strike a workable deal between with the EU before the end of this year. That, however, seems unlikely to happen. From an American perspective, it is highly probable that the Biden’s administration will not prioritise any UK-US trade deal in the foreseeable future. There is a strong possibility that Joe Biden will focus on domestic and close neighbours (Canada and Mexico) Issues during his first year in the presidency.

While this is understandable, considering the legacy of the Trump, Biden also has to be careful enough to avoid the temptation to play hardball with the UK because of Brexit. If he does, this could prove to be a fatal mistake with long lasting consequences, specially in a moment when the West is struggling with its own internal weaknesses and the rise of external threats to its unity.

One aspect that both Europe and the US have to acknowledge is that the importance of the UK goes beyond striking a trade deal with the EU. Looking at the rise of more geographically widespread authoritarian and antidemocratic pressures from central, Eastern Europe, China and Russia, the UK is still plays an important role on the continent’s security. Talks on further cooperation on how the EU and the UK will cooperate on foreign and security policy once the transition period ends on 31st of December 2020 have not yet been held. The UK, unfortunately, is likely to remain a crucial partner on such topics especially due to its role as a prominent and active member of NATO, and therefore, talks on this issues should not be left unaddressed.

The UK is aware of its importance militarily, and this explains the £24.1 billion investment announced by the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, this year. This is the largest investment since the end of the Cold War and it aims to modernise the armed forces, as well as to expand the Royal Navy to turn it into the largest fleet in Europe.

This move will enhance the UK’s status as Europe’s leading military power. The UK has also been among the first respondents to recent security crisis in Ukraine and Belarus. Not engaging with the UK altogether in security and foreign policy issues may prove to be detrimental in the long run for the security in the EU, especially considering the rising tensions and instability in the Ring of Fire, from Belarus to Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Nagorno-Karabakh.

The EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) allow for intergovernmental cooperation, this means that  states can pursue their own policies and coordinate them only when they align with the EU’s. The CSDP also allows EU member states to intervene when NATO as an alliance chooses not to. To date, there are 17 of such interventions, in all of these, the UK has been the biggest contributor.

Security is an area of opportunity for Europe and the US, Biden could potentially push for the Europeans to grant the UK an observer role in the Political and Security Committee, or the Foreign Policy Council to advance a common security and foreign policy for the region that wouldn’t only benefit Europe, but also the US interests in the wider European area.

Recently, the UK has been an advocate of what is called a “Global Britain” that echoes the times of the great British Empire’s prominence as a global player. How this will be achieved is still unclear. This grand strategy may fare impossible under current economic and political conditions in the UK and in the world, as well as with the uncertainty surrounding the future relationship of the UK with its neighbours after Brexit.

Anything can happen, the UK could pursue a close, special relationship with Europe where cooperation is prioritised, or there could be a more profound break between the two, where the UK sets its own agenda against the EU’s. For decades, the terms Europe and the EU have been used interchangeably. Now that one of the major European players is out of the organisation, both sides have not yet worked out how the future relationship will be. If it continues to be antagonistic this could send the whole continent into a spiral of chaos, reduced capabilities an increased volatility.

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