While debating on the better of the two prominent International Relations’ schools; my class was predominantly Realist against my instructor’s expectations for it to be Liberalist. I was a part of the three-fourth of the class arguing the inevitability of global structures to fail because of states’ interests ultimately subordinating that of a bigger integrated body. Liberalists, as they are, asserted the need for higher codependence as a means of ending conflict because of self interests being closely tied. Their commonly cited examples were that of the European Union (which the realists pointed out had been disintegrating) and the International Institutions such as United Nations, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank (which again pointed out by the realists, have been unable to improve the lives of many).

While there were inconsistencies in the Liberalist arguments and their inability to prove multi polarity as a viable solution in brining global peace, there was a considerable amount of agreement on both sides for democracy being the ideal form of governance. State sovereignty driven by a lust for power epitomized the Realist view while the Liberalist projected ideas of codependence, global governance and a rejection towards power politics. Following the in/famous Brexit Referendum of June 23, 2016 there is considerable debate on how this would determine the course of future.

For years, Liberalists have glorified the European Union and what it projected for the world at large; a peaceful consolidation of prehistoric dynastic unions for them to maintain, gain, their Great Power status at a time when two ideologies were at war with each other. After the two most devastating world wars, the world pledged, “Never Again” and made considerable efforts to ensure systems of global security and prosperity. Various treaties since then have been signed amongst various states which work on the principle of mutual cooperation. European Union has presented the same nexus since 1945 till it properly materialized in 1993 as a means of political and economic union. Such a union of states compromises state sovereignty and formulates policies as a single unit. For forty three years, this union was seen by the people of Britain as a means of greater economic prosperity and by way of which the economics of ‘trickling down’ was quicker to happen. However, fallacies on part of the European leaders left no choice for the Britons but to vote for Leave on the day of the Brexit Referendum.

While for some time political thinkers have been predicting the eventual disintegration of Europe, especially after the excruciating Greek debt crisis, no one in my class thought that a month after our class debate Britons would have voted to Leave the EU. Brexit (Britain Exit) can be seen as a triple protest: against the surging immigration, City of London Bankers and European Union Institutions.

The first of these can be attributed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to open her country’s doors wide to refugees, an inspiring gesture, but it was not properly thought out because it ignored the pull factor. A sudden influx of asylum-seekers disrupted people in their everyday lives across the EU.

The lack of adequate controls, moreover, created panic, affecting everyone: the local population, the authorities in charge of public safety, and the refugees themselves. It has also paved the way for the rapid rise of xenophobic anti-European parties – such as the UK Independence Party, which spearheaded the Leave campaign – as national governments and European institutions seem incapable of handling the crisis. However, in the face of greater geographical meltdown of the Middle East, there isn’t much that these countries can do except bear the consequences of this never ending war. The war in the Middle East is being dragged to be considered an unending war, so that countries like the United States, Russia and Iran (and European countries) can show the world that they can flex their military muscle and fight the war, rather than end it. This again points towards the Realist notion that countries need militaries to protect their self interest at home and abroad and that countries are in perpetual conflict with each other and assert where there exists a power vacuum. And now that the European Union has started disintegrating while Russia still stands strong and US isn’t as politically or economically fit as it had predicted, only time will tell how this balance of power will shift.

Secondly, the implicit class warfare between working class Leave voters and that of the rich, especially the despised bankers of the City of London had intensified. Furthermore, Scotland, which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, can be expected to make another attempt to gain its independence, and some officials in Northern Ireland, where voters also backed Remain, have already called for unification with the Republic of Ireland.

Thirdly, the EU institutions’ inability to manage the Greek crisis highlights their shortsightedness and this ongoing Eurozone turmoil following the huge influx of refugees was enough for the Leave voters to outweigh the Remain voters.

As Britain is going through an economic plummet (the fall of the pound to a 31 year low, possible job losses and a collapse of bonuses, cooling off property values) there is speculation that it will survive but the EU won’t. This is because up until now, the UK has played an important role as a counterweight to Germany. But now Germany is left to assume leadership of Europe, whether it wants it or not. The problem is that the remaining EU member states will not tolerate German leadership. Europe’s inland empire of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland will stand in firm opposition and the nationalists in these small nations will assert their influence way beyond the capacity of the EU.

Brexit has made the world realize that state sovereignty with all its constituents is the key principle determining the geostrategic policies, much like the class debate I had.