Concluding ‘trade agreements’ usually involve improving the terms of trade between countries by amicable negotiations in which both parties seek to open up trade under mutually beneficial arrangements.
Restricting rights to trade is usually the hostile business of unilaterally imposing trade restrictions, called ‘sanctions’, that harm the other party.
Unilaterally abolishing mutually agreed trade relations is usually tantamount to an ‘act of war’ (albeit international law may continue to govern the relations between the ‘hostile’ states).
The oddity of Brexit is that it involves the UK’s in attempting to coerce the EU into a so-called ‘trade agreement’ that in fact restricts trade by threatening a No Deal ‘act of war’ that would be even more harmful than ‘negotiated sanctions’.
Brexit is therefore the world turned upside down, a nonsense, in which a friendly state with thriving trade relations seeks to harm its trading partner by restricting their trading rights through a so-called ‘trade agreement’ or by an ‘act of war’ that abolishes their existing trade relations.
And we wonder why Brexit continues to elude the UK.
If the Tories win the general election, this nonsense will continue and, short of an ‘act of war’, namely, a No Deal, escaping the EU will continue to elude the UK simply because the EU will strive to protect its existing trading rights with the UK as part of the Single Market and to minimise harm to itself from the UK’s threatened ‘sanctions’. So, the only question would be, will the UK undertake that ‘act of war’ against its partners in the EU?
This blog has always argued that no UK government would leave the EU without a Deal simply because ‘war’ would bring with it risks of harm which, in the absence of a ‘clear and present danger’, would be too dangerous and uncertain to incur by choice. Short of revoking Article 50 and Remaining in the EU, the result would be the UK, having fatuously threatened ‘war’, achieving self-harm by remaining indefinitely bound into the EU under the so-called ‘transitional arrangement’ or under a so-called ‘trade agreement’ that avoided ‘war’ by binding the UK into the EU while surrendering its rights to participate in the governance of the Union or to pursue an independent trade policy of its own.
The irony of a nationalist revolution resulting in foreign subjection is not new to human history but for people to vote for it might be seen as a rare piece of stupidity that could only be explained by the veil of nationalism in which the hard Brexiteers, aided by opportunists in No. 10, are attempting to shroud the public debate about Brexit.