Why is anyone surprised? Look to the unilateral decisions of Obama and Merkel for the passage of Brexit (52)

British Prime Minister Cameron and German Chancellor Merkel take part in a group photo at a European Union leaders summit addressing Brexit and the migrants crisis in Brussels, Feb. 18, 2016. (REUTERS/Yves Herman)
By Joseph Enge
6/25/2016 10:38 PM
Category: Opinion

University of Tartu guest history lecturer Joseph Enge thinks that the UK's vote to leave the European Union is both reasonable and rational, and that it should not come as a surprise. Even more, the current criticism of the voters shows that they are right to leave.

Yesterday’s vote for the UK to leave the European Union should not come as a surprise. Their decision is reasonable and rational given the unilateral decisions made by President Obama and Chancellor Merkel without consulting or taking account British concerns or interests. Yet, the hue and cry have been falsely and insultingly directed at the intelligence and motivations of the British electorate. In fact, such insults confirm they made the right decision.

Obama unleashed the disaster of Syria with his false red lines, refusal to utilize American strength to punish President Bashar al-Assad for atrocities against his own people, and in any way stabilize the Syrian crisis. This in turn provided for the exponential expansion of ISIS to not only carve large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, but to become a center for destabilizing the region and exporting terrorism into Europe and America and creating a refugee crisis that imperils the European Union.

No matter how quickly threats arose and situations changed, President Obama has shown a single-minded commitment to create a personal hands-off legacy of his presidency to curtail U.S. application of power overseas no matter how detrimental to American and European security. Non-action is an action.

That President Obama put his personal concerns for his legacy over the security concerns of his own country and allies is no longer a surprise as his second term comes to an end. What made a bad situation worse in Europe was Chancellor Merkel’s decision to provide safe haven for the millions of refugees from the Middle East without consulting European partners last year.

Having survived, but with great effort, the debt crisis of Europe’s fiscally irresponsible southern neighbors, the refugee issue has proven to be more dangerous than anticipated for a European Union far more fragile than most are aware. Allowing large numbers of Middle Eastern refugees has created a social, economic, and safety issue as the refugee populations are not committed to assimilation to their host countries, actually expect these host countries to change their systems to accommodate their values that are the antithesis of Western democracies, and are being used as a vehicle to export terrorism has created the perfect storm.

The surprise is not that Brexit passed, rather that it did not pass by a larger percentage. President Obama’s visit to the UK and willingness to weigh in on their controversial domestic political issue of the day to remain in the EU was both tactless and counterproductive. Given recent decisions in Washington D.C., Berlin, and in Brussels have clearly demonstrated themselves to have discounted British concerns, they have politely bowed out from this arrangement to take their destiny in hand on their own terms.

The insults directed at the elections results that the British voters are somehow ignorant and/or racists are not only slander to hide the EU’s failures and vulnerabilities, but prevent the honest self-analysis necessary to make the EU healthy again.

The UK has decided to leave the EU, but remain committed to NATO. In the face of the resurgence of Islamic terrorism and Russian aggressiveness, NATO has proven itself to be more relevant than ever while the EU has proven to be less relevant.

There are lessons to be learned by the election results, but I am cynical the EU will learn them as they disparage the British electorate for choosing to control their own destiny in light of bad decision making by President Obama and Chancellor Merkel.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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