The process for the disintegration of the European Union has started. The Brexit has set in motion the chain of events that could ultimately spell doom for the once exemplary union of European states. Marine La Pen of the National Front in France has been elated at the exit of the UK. She, and her counterparts in other European states, have been emboldened by the results to advance their own agenda. The emboldening of centrifugal, ultra-nationalist -- and quasi-fascist -- factions will not augur well for global peace. Apart from domestic factors, the trend can be attributed to the intransigent policies of President Barack Obama. In a nutshell, it is his indifference to the Syrian crisis that tore apart the very fabric of the EU.
Obama cannot skirt the blame for accelerating the process of European disintegration. The shocking 'yes' vote in the British referendum was an outcome of the years of feet-dragging by the Obama administration. Centrifugal forces in Europe largely remained on the periphery until the start of the Syrian crisis. Obama drew a red line and then forgot to observe it, giving the Assad regime and his Iranian proxies a free hand to kill and maim as many as they wanted. The relentless pounding ultimately resulted in the rise of the Islamic State. While Obama did focus his energies on tackling the IS, he forgot to address the root cause. Rather, he chose to sleep with the enemy in this case.
Thus the millions of refugees, who were seeking shelter in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey started pouring into Europe. The refugee crisis became the turning point in European history. United States was uneager to help its long-term ally, accepting but only a few thousand of the millions of displaced persons. The EU buckled under the seemingly relentless wave of refugees. This, in turn, emboldened the centrifugal forces who gained enough momentum to influence policy decisions.
The rest, as they say, is history. The terror attacks in Paris and Belgium and the continued US reticence in tackling the Syrian crisis in a meaningful manner has brought Europe to an existential crisis. The EU can still survive but it will be an uphill task for Germany and France -- two of its key pivots -- to absorb the loss of Britain and provide enough economic impetus for others to continue cooperating. The resignation of David Cameron can foretell similar fates for other leaders in Europe, especially if they were to face electoral challenges from the so-called nationalists.
The biggest beneficiary of the Brexit will be Russia. Putin is already exploiting the caveats in the EU to advance his expansionist agenda. Obama has provided him enough leeway to enforce his will in not only Europe but also in the Middle East. Brexit will inadvertently affect the NATO, which is under pressure due to internal rifts and growing Russian provocations.
Amid this mayhem, the US is largely a silent spectator. More importantly, it has significantly contributed to the crisis. Among the many failures of Obama's foreign policy, Brexit and Syria will stand out. Hillary Clinton will most likely continue with the policies of the Obama administration, thus further complicating the situation. Donald Trump has already hailed the Brexit and will be least interested in keeping any facade of cordial ties with Europe.
US is so intertwined with Europe that it can't escape the fallout if the EU were to disintegrate in future. The transaltantic alliance has endured past challenges but is fracturing under the contemporary ones. While Obama has little time -- and no intentions -- of rectifying past mistakes, a nonplussed Trump and indifferent Hillary will quicken the demise of the once iconic alliance. One can still hope Hillary will fare relatively better than Trump. At the end of the day, however, it will be Obama who will be remembered as one of the key instigators of the EU demise, if it were to become a reality.