Clearing the Biggest Obstacle

From the September 2011 Trumpet Print Edition

Europe is on the brink of becoming a superstate. But one obstacle remains: Britain.

For years the British have fought against a “two-speed Europe,” where the more gung-ho nations would speed toward a superstate while nations like Britain poke along in the slow lane. Thus they have forced Europhile nations to slow down and drag Britain along. In July, for example, virtually the whole European Union backed the idea of a common military headquarters for the whole EU—until Britain’s foreign minister slapped it down.

But the British brake is about to be released. Comments by both the British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne reveal that they believe greater eurozone integration is necessary if the euro is to survive.

This reverses centuries of British foreign policy. The primary objective of this policy has been to prevent a single power from dominating the Continent. By taking its foot off the brake, Britain will be encouraging the rise of a German-led united Europe.

Maximizing British Independence 

As Europe begins to speed toward integration, Cameron suggests Britain may turn around and head the other way: creating not so much a two-speed Europe, but a two-directional one.

Cameron hinted he may allow the eurozone to unite more quickly if the EU allows Britain to distance itself. As the eurozone integrates, “There will be opportunities for Britain to maximize what we want in terms of our engagement with Europe,” he said.

While Germany builds a new European empire, Britain will go its own way—as the Trumpet has forecast for years.

The economic crisis is hardening British opposition to the EU. Half of Britons would vote to leave the European Union if given the option in a referendum, according to a YouGov@Cambridge and Politics Home poll published in July; 34 percent said the Greece financial crisis had made them more favorable toward withdrawing from the EU. Only one third would vote to stay.

Britain’s Parliament is also moving against Europe, passing a law on July 13 requiring the nation to hold a referendum before transferring any significant power to Brussels.

As Europe integrates, “The British are feeling extremely thoughtful,” Stratfor’s Peter Zeihan wrote. “They have always been the outsiders in the European Union, joining primarily so that they can put up obstacles from time to time. … [T]he British are in need of a national debate about their role in Europe. The Europe that was a cage for Germany is no more, which means that the United Kingdom is now a member of a different sort of organization that may or may not serve its purposes” (July 26).

A Dangerous Assumption

Britain’s entry to the EU was a mistake. As Herbert W. Armstrong pointed out at the time, “Britain is going to look back on Monday, January 1, 1973, in all probability, as a most tragically historic date—a date fraught with ominous potentialities!”

For years, Britain’s freedom and economy has been stifled by the EU. But now, its emerging strategy of disengagement could be just as dangerous. Why? Because, as the Financial Times noted, one of the main reasons Britain is reversing its policy “is that Britain no longer fears invasion from continental Europe” (July 27). “The very idea seems almost unimaginable in the modern world,” it wrote. “So the idea of a united Europe is no longer a question of national security, as it was in the age of the Kaiser or Napoleon. These days, the worries are much more prosaic—simply that Britain will lose influence in the European Union and will no longer have much influence over the third horse box directive, or whatever other nonsense happens to be coming out of Brussels.”

This assumption—that history is over, that the world is different now than it has been for thousands of years—is deeply dangerous. Historically, often in the good times before a major war hits, people have believed mankind has finally banished major wars for good. Before World War i, it was common to think that, in Churchill’s words, the “interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, liberal principles, the Labor Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible.” In the 18th century, people argued that modern weapons and enlightened thinking had rendered devastating battles a thing of the past.

In both joining the EU and in turning away from it, Britain makes this mistake. It joined the Union depending on its European allies to never instigate war again; now as it encourages European integration, it trusts that its former enemies will remain forever friendly.

Hosea 7:11 warns Britain of the danger: “Ephraim [modern Britain] also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.” Hosea was prophesying of Britain’s proclivity to foolishly flock to its enemies. The Matthew Henry Commentary explains that the dove is “easily enticed by the bait into the net, and has no heart, no understanding, to discern her danger, as many other fowls do.” The Bible reveals that in the end time, Britain will rely on foreign “lovers” instead of turning to God.

The EU isn’t the root cause of Britain’s problems—refusing to trust God is. Withdrawing from the EU will cut the British off from stifling European regulation. It will not, however, save them from the rising German empire.

But Hosea also has good news for Britain. Hosea 5:15 states, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” Britain will learn its lesson, but only after it suffers at the hand of the cross-Channel enemy it ultimately cannot control.