If your core assumption is Sinn Fein becoming biggest party in NI to take over the First Minister position craters power-sharing then what would pundits making such points expect the EU to do? Even if the EU does what Johnson wants (it won't) it can't save the DUP from DUP idiocy
We're heading to outcomes where Sinn Fein dominates politics in Dublin as well as Belfast at this rate. Does the UK government expect the EU to stop that from happening?
Unionist concerns need to be taken account of in negotiations over the Protocol, but there are much bigger structural shifts playing out through Brexit itself and the '09 financial crisis that UK pundits can't wish away
At some point London-based media and political milieus need to clock that the current governing Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green coalition in Dublin will be the friendliest it gets for the UK government and that future Irish governments might prove far less accommodating
The EU can do a lot of things but it can't save UK Unionism from the incompetence of a UK Prime Minister

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More from @APHClarkson

18 Nov
German media and political discourse coming to terms with the possibility that South European states can sometimes do things better than Germany might prove a transformative cultural moment in itself
And yes of course seasonal effects mean cases will go up in Spain and Italy. But vaccination programmes have been more efficient so I doubt the political class in either will tip into the panic that is proving so counter-productive to finding effective strategies in Germany
It's not the concrete problem of the rising cases that I find shocking in Germany. COVID19 generates tough dilemmas to manage. It's the headless panic of the German political class in response and its confusion around the basics of a vaccination programme that is off the scale
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
There is a point after years of crisis where state institutions and populations become ground down by fatigue and structural attrition. It might be unrealistic to expect the German state and public to have the discipline and capacity in November 2021 that they had in March 2020
Watching Germany now is a bit like watching debates in the UK in November 2020 before the vaccination programme helped to restore trust in the NHS and other state healthcare institutions
And this really isn't a UK vs EU thing. A lot of EU states such as Italy, France or Spain have done OK with vaccination programmes and reopening. This is specifically a debate that needs to be had about German state resilience
Read 4 tweets
18 Nov
A lot of what got put under the "hybrid war" bracket is what the EU faces with all kinds of difficult neighbouring states on a regular basis without automatically treating it as a military problem rather than as a law enforcement and diplomatic problem
How "hybrid war" spread from Russia analysis to debates around handling states like Morocco, Turkey or Libya has proven unhelpful as well. Often what then becomes portrayed as an issue for military power is in reality an issue that needs to be handled through gendarmerie power
What gets called "hybrid war" is often the grasping around of weaker states trying to find vulnerabilities that can be used to exert pressure on much stronger neighbours. More often than not these tactics of the weak fail because they can't make up for asymmetries of power.
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
Anyone surprised at the tough and at times brutal approach the EU is taking to controlling its borders now has not been watching the EU's trajectory on border management since 2015
In the UK the idea the EU is not some kind of geopolitical pony farm emitting innocence and light but is rather increasingly state-like and does what states do to survive when it thinks it is threatened does not fit either Remainer or Brexiter talking points
Meanwhile it looks like Lukashenka having started a border crisis to demonstrate he still has the strength to push a state like Poland or Lithuania around is now at a point where he is getting pushed around by EU as well as Russia in ways that make him look weak
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
Worth considering whether Russia's leadership is now so marinated in its own propaganda that it genuinely believes only military pressure on neighbours prevents an attack on Russia

Ukraine, US and EU stuck in a position where every signal they send gets misinterpreted by Moscow
People trying to work out strategic thinking by Russia's leadership based on realistic assessment of Ukrainian, US or EU intent might be missing the possibility that Russia's leadership is so paranoid its internal system rationality is detached from political realities around it
If Russia's leadership genuinely believes a NATO/Ukrainian/US/EU etc attack is imminent, it can convince itself that buildups along Ukraine, Black Sea, Belarus, Baltic states are defensive while also once troops are there be paranoid enough to talk itself into war at short notice
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
UK pundit blames EU for UK government not sticking to agreement UK government signed and negotiated with the EU.
Guys it's getting silly now
Might be worth using an alternative timeline where UK governments don't torch all trust with the EU and Irish governments in the run up to negotiations as a starting point before speculating about EU and Irish flexibility.
Read 4 tweets

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