In an attempt to assuage security fears, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg argued that “The UK will remain a strong and committed NATO ally and it will continue to play its leading role in our alliance.” Nonetheless, questions remain. Lt. General Ben Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe, stated “If the EU begins to become unravelled there can’t help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance.” Brexit will only add to the security concerns of Poland and the Baltic states as they face a revanchist Russia on NATO’s Eastern frontier.
Further, fissures within the UK are already looming on the horizon. A more inward-looking UK may be reluctant to assume its share of defense spending. The UK’s military budget, which already experienced a series of recent cuts prior to the Brexit vote, may no longer meet the 2% NATO threshold if the current balance in parliament is upturned. Adding to this, calls for a new Scottish referendum bring into question the future of the Faslane nuclear submarine base whose closure is a key policy goal of the Scottish National Party.
Europe's Edge is an online journal covering crucial topics in the transatlantic policy debate. All opinions are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position or views of the Center for European Policy Analysis.
Photo: NATO Multimedia Library/NIDS