The Crisis in Ukraine
Europe’s Divisions

When it comes to responding to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Europe is caught between corporate interests, regional security differences, and thoroughly postmodern publics. But the United States can still help clear up the allies’ strategic confusion.

Published on: May 22, 2014
Andrew A. Michta is the M.W. Buckman Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College and a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA).
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  • I agree with the author’s assessment of the current situation, but I disagree with his optimism about the posited role of the US.

    We are mired in our own strategic confusion. As a matter of fact this quote used to describe Europe also describes the US:

    “caught between corporate interests, regional security differences, and thoroughly postmodern publics”

    We’ve been crashing around in the world like a drunken former prize fighter in a saloon, aging but still somewhat dangerous, since the Cold War ended.

    • Corlyss

      Lack of strategic vision cripples great nations. People used to accuse Old Blighty of just muddling thru but that really didn’t have any context until it lost its empire trying to survive and had to turn their foreign policy over to post WW2 US. So much American and thus western policy was organized around the cold war that when the inevitable events removed the template, we really had nothing to latch on to. We still don’t. GWOT just doesn’t have the same cachet. I vaguely recall reading a Krauthammer article in National Interest (I think) a decade or so ago in which he quoted some Russian diplomat as saying, “You’re really gonna miss us.” Of course Russia isn’t what it was, not even close. But it still has a remarkable capacity for mischief, just as do NorKor and Iran. It’s an insight into the democratization of technology esp. in weaponry.

  • Julie Leighton

    Excellent piece.

  • Andrew Allison
  • Of course, in Europe and in America the public has largely moved on. Protests and occupations make for good news and give internet idealists and opportunity to play rebel, but the real business of building good governance after the fact is much too boring. So on to the next movement, with the occasional, “Tsk tsk, what a shame” being all that’s left to be said on the matter.

    What’s scary is that this appears to be the approach not only of the European and American public, but also of their governments. I can only hope that isn’t or ceases to be the case. Although I imagine Putin and Russia are more than happy to keep Americans and Europeans blasé about the whole thing and take a drip-drip-drip approach. It reminds me of boiling a frog by slowly heating the water. We’ll see if the Europeans and Americans feel the heat quick enough.

  • Bretzky1

    It makes little sense to be in a security relationship with states who will barely lift a finger in their own defense. It is time to leave NATO.

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