BREXIT: Is Britain against the European Union or Globalisation? Some Lessons for East Africa

Gasiano G. N. Sumbai

Abstract


The establishment of the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1957 was a response to the growing US economic, military and political influence on the ailing economies of Western Europe after WWII. Under the leadership of France, the founding members resisted Britain’s attempts to join the Community. Not until 1973 did they allow it to become a member of the Community. From the beginning, the EEC struggled to position itself as a capitalist bloc, ready to cooperate with the USA in defending vital capitalist interests against the perceived communist threats and the struggles against each other for economic interests all over the world. The USA, as leader of the capitalist bloc, closely checked the development of the EEC and later of the European Union (EU) as well in order to defend American interests in Western Europe. In the post-Cold War period, the USA enjoyed American unipolar hegemony and continued to challenge the EU, a powerful economic bloc which was a threat to the US economy. The EU had been looking at the US-British Special Relationship as a barrier to its progress. Britain used all the means at its disposal to protect and promote the British-American joint interests in Western Europe. However, these traditional capitalist economic blocs cooperated to defend capitalist interests against fascism and communism, but were in constant struggle among themselves. The demise of the Russian brand of communism resulted in the need to re-examine the US-EU relations as the EU wanted to stand on its own feet and did not want to be under the US shadow. This paper shows that Britain’s Exit (BREXIT) from the EU is Britain’s attempt to maintain its special relationship with the USA against the growing influence of the EU on the domestic policies of individual member states. It is shown in this paper that, as a regional bloc, the East African Community (EAC) can learn the manifestation of globalisation and its effects on regional integration. The constant struggle between supranationalism and nationalism and ways of harmonising various approaches to solving regional challenges are the important lessons that the EAC can learn from BREXIT.


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