The German word schadenfreude captures the sensation patriots feel knowing that the deaths of some of history’s greatest traitors have come to them, if not in cages, then at least in obscurity, as they passed penniless and were ignominiously laid to rest in foreign, ungrateful places.
So it is with America’s most notorious turncoat, Benedict Arnold, who lies in a mass grave in a nondescript churchyard in London.
Those who betray the legacy of their forebears and rob their progeny of their birthright deserve a similar fate. So, it should be with the leadership of the United Kingdom, the European Union, and their accomplices in Paris and Berlin.
The United States—as the last, best hope of mankind on earth—ought to name, shame, and sanction these individuals, if not their countries, for the greatest betrayal of the popular will in generations.
If America cannot stop the Brexit betrayal, we can at least hold those responsible for flouting democratic norms accountable—today, tomorrow, and forever.
Brexit Sabotage: Chaos like a Fox
On Thursday British Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Council President Donald Tusk agreed to extend the Brexit deadline to October 31, 2019—eight months beyond the deadline set forth in the EU membership referendum Britain held in June 2016.
After coddling her Europhile (i.e. Remain-supporting) Tory Members of Parliament for months, May—who herself backed staying in the EU—has lost a series of votes on her milquetoast, non-Leave Brexit plan in the House of Commons.
Parliament voted to extend Brexit’s deadline but could not manage a majority for any option—full Brexit, Brexit-light, Brexit a la Norway, or a second referendum.
But don’t worry, Remainers, the fix is in. Without a solid, working majority in the Commons, May’s party must rely on the protestant-nationalist DUP of Northern Ireland whose own petty demands and inconstancy dictate the ebb and flow of Brexit debates for the time being.
May likely will be deposed by her own party’s right flank (Brexiteers) or if she steps too far toward actual Brexit, Tory Remainers and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour MPs who could dissolve Parliament in a stroke. Either way, a second referendum (“People’s vote”) or unending foot-dragging and Brexit delays will frustrate efforts to extricate Britain from the EU until a beleaguered Brexit is killed dead by some late-night, backroom deal.
If at First You Don’t Succeed, Vote, Vote Again
But the sturm und drang of Brexit’s public debate obscures the reality in front of Leave voters’ faces, Europhiles in Britain and the EU’s technocratic overlords have no intention of letting the will of the voters be manifest.
Never mind that 17.4 million or 52 percent of Britons voted to leave the EU, Brussels brokers no dissent and has great success in getting their way, if only eventually.
In 2005, the EU Constitution Treaty to further integrate the member-states faced the public in referendums in France and the Netherlands. Both countries rejected the plan which required unanimity to be enacted. Portugal had scheduled a binding referendum on the proposal for later that year but just scrapped it instead.
But the EU overlords were undeterred. They gussied up the undead treaty and the zombie became the “Lisbon Treaty” which no member-state, save Ireland, had to ratify by plebiscite. In 2008, the Irish duly rejected the proposal at the ballot box.
Dublin’s masters of the universe would not take “No” for an answer and subsequently resurrected the Lisbon Treaty with a few tweaks and the Emerald Isle backed the deal on the “re-vote” in 2009. The EU had done it before in Ireland in 2001—compelling a re-vote to achieve the desired outcome.
The EU’s motto seems to be: just keep voting, until they vote the “right” way.
The first democrats, the Greeks, saw their government ignore the EU’s austerity demands a few years ago. Athens’ populist government sheepishly ceded to Brussels and its German financial backers to flout the public will there too.
Now it appears Britain’s elected class of betters is on track to betray Brexit and there must be hell to pay for it.
Democracy for Thee, Not for Me
In a fit of irony, the EU and Britain impose sanctions all over the world for violations of democratic norms and authoritarian regimes’ sham elections.
Just last year, the EU parliament voted to sanction Viktor Orban’s Hungary, an EU member, over “undemocratic” acts including banning American financier George Soros’ organizations from operating in the country. Earlier that year, the executive body, the EU Commission started the same process against the freely elected, nationalist government of Poland.
Further, the EU recently imposed sanctions on the Democratic Republic of Congo, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe for those countries’ anti-democratic moves.
May, Tusk, and the Remainers have all the democratic acumen and allegiance worthy of the tin-pot dictators they seek to condemn.
As they encourage the removal of the Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro for undemocratic rule, they thwart the will of tens of millions of Britons for the sake of the undemocratic international bureaucratic project.
Uncle Sam’s Righteous Vengeance
Giving the EU—or at least its leadership—some of its own medicine would be a welcome and appropriate measure. America would be justified in calling out Europe’s hypocrisy and paternalism when it comes to self-determination and democracy.
Targeting Theresa May, her Remainer-laden cabinet, the EU president Tusk and his leadership cabal, and even two most high-handed European leaders, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel, might also prove useful and satisfying.
A 2014 study by Harvard researchers concluded, “By concentrating only on sanctions aimed at increasing the level of democracy in the targeted authoritarian state, we found that these sanctions are indeed associated with increasing levels of democracy. Moreover, authoritarian regimes targeted by democratic sanctions are more likely to experience institutional and leadership change.”
American foreign policy should be guided both by our interests and our values, and serendipitously, those overlap in promoting earnest democratic empowerment for the peoples of Europe against the anti-American technocrats ruling across the Atlantic.
Uncle Sam should make them pay for their hubris and teach them that the popular will is not a mere nuisance but a sacred charge.
Photo credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images