With a monumental lack of irony, Donald Tusk claimed yesterday that Brexit marked the true end of Empire, as though anyone thought that such a terminal event was a bad thing. This utter lack of self-awareness amused me hugely on two grounds. The first was that Brexit will mark the end of Britain's subjugation and restraint by his own nascent EU Empire, the second that Britain's rejection of the role of military muscle that the EU had planned for us will almost certainly curtail the EU's own dreams of a European empire to rival the US and China. He knows so little of the UK, or has been so deluded and gulled by specious Remain propaganda, to imagine that there's anyone at all on the Brexit side who yearns for Empire. Since 2008, not one single comment on this blog has even mentioned it. It is, as the psychologists say, Projection.
China, too, having hardly laid the first belt-and-road asphalt, is already experiencing the pains and costs of Empire, and I don't mean just Hong Kong. The hundreds of billions invested in African ports, transport infrastructure, mines and natural resources will be increasingly at risk; from forfeiture if ever the bribe taps to the ruling elites are turned off, or at the hands of an emergent new kleptocratic elite seizing them for the new regime. Either China uses military force to secure the assets, or loses the vast investments - a dilemma that every ex-colonial power has faced. Long lines of communication means a low ratio of teeth to tail, something that the US, with 1.3 million persons under arms only a small fraction of whom are tasked to combat duties, has already found. And internally, China is at the stage of millions detained already in detention camps - universally the precursor to regime change.
I have published before a map of Tusk's imperial European ambitions which I find simply strategically unbelievably stupid. Turkey doesn't even have to start a tank - just to release 3m migrants launched into the EU's soft underbelly. A NATO without boots on EU ground can shorten supply lines and constrict all sea routes to the EU if required, closing the Med up like a boating lake.
So thank you, Donald. Trebles all round, I think.