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Should the UK have remained in the EU? Show more Show less

Now that Brexit has happened, the UK has officially left the European Union. As the transition period continues and the effects of the decision to leave the EU begin to be felt, we will begin to be able to evaluate whether it was the right choice. Is the UK really stronger upon leaving the EU? Or would it have been better off to remain united?

Yes, the UK should have remained in the EU Show more Show less

It was a big mistake to leave.
(1 of 2 Positions)

Interdependence removes the scope for war

An important reason for the creation of the European Union was to prevent future wars such as WW1 AND WW2. We should honour those that fell in those conflicts by preserving this previous legacy.
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The UK has left the European Union on the 31st January 2020 as a result of the referendum in favour of Brexit in 2016. This decision has been controversial due to the slight percentual difference between the remain and leave camp. Additionally, the Leave campaign used false claims and has been involved with Cambridge Analytica as the scandal broke in 2018.

The Argument

The UK should have remained in the EU. One of the most prominent reasons for this is the importance of the EU in preserving peace amongst the nations of the European continent. Since the middle ages and all throughout WWI and WWII, European states confronted each other in deadly wars that led to the devastation of the continent. The EU as an institution that was born after the atrocities of WWII is not only a tool for economic cooperation but only a mean to ensure peace. These two factors are interlinked according to the economist Adam Smith who gained prominence with his “Wealth of the nations”. According to him, interdependence in trade between states will prevent them from going to war against each other. This argument of liberal pacifism has also been forwarded by Frederic Passy in the 1840s. It can thus be argued that the UK being no longer a part of the EU will put a toll on the open market and trade between the UK and EU countries which might fuel conflicts in the future. However, it is likely for new agreements to be negotiated and the possibility of war seems rather distant. Symbolically however, the exit of the UK sends a negative message for the European efforts of building a strong alliance

Counter arguments

1) War between two democratic states is rather unlikely according to the democratic peace theory. Furthermore, the fact of the UK leaving the EU will impact other political spheres linked to trade, immigration and labour but peacekeeping is not the main problem. The UK remains to be a member of NATO which is a pledge to not going to war with other member states which includes most EU member states. 2) Traditional warfare between two states is becoming increasingly rare, the commitment of the UK and member states of the EU post-WWII is not altered by Brexit.


The UK and the EU could be more likely to go to war against each other after Brexit.


[P1] A lack of interdependence fosters the possibility for war.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] The possibility for war between two entities is not altered by a lack of interdependencies.


Further Reading


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    This page was last edited on Wednesday, 24 Jun 2020 at 12:09 UTC