Enough of Bad History
Eastern Europe Is Europe

Ukraine 2014 isn’t the Balkans 1914. The true historical parallels of Putinism aren’t to be found in the the Great War, but from World War II and the Cold War. The war in Ukraine is about the fundamentals of the post-Cold War order in Europe.

Published on: August 12, 2014
Andrew A. Michta is the M. W. Buckman Professor of International Studies at Rhodes College.
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  • Pete

    “Eastern Europe is Europe.”

    Maybe marginally so.

    • Andrew Allison

      Not even marginally, Eastern Europe is Europe only in name, witness Hungary, etc. The EU will pay a terrible price for its expansionism. We should try and avoid a contribution.

      • adk

        How about Poland and the Czech republic?

        On the question of whether “it’s still Europe”, if EU/NATO haven’t embraced Eastern Europe, that would have left them to the tender mercies of Putin’s Russia, with all the attendant consequences (see Ukraine.)

        • Andrew Allison

          There’s debate about whether Poland and the Czech Republic are Eastern or Central. I vote for Central. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that the debacle in Ukraine was brought about by the EU attempting to draw the country into its orbit, something which Putin could not countenance.

          • adk

            Eastern or Central, a distinction without a difference in this context. You seem to accept that Putin has the right to decide what kind of political system and associations former Soviet block countries may have. I don’t, and neither should the West.

          • Andrew Allison

            The distinction is clear: Poland and the Czech Republic have thriving democracies and economies, Eastern Europe does not. Ukraine was independent (and whole) until the EU poked the Bear. I should add that the US has been deciding what kind of political system and associations former dictatorships should have, with horrendous results. In a perfect world, powerful nations would not interfere with other countries’ forms of government. We don’t live in one.

          • adk

            Poles and Czechs emerged from the rubble of communism not as thriving democracies and economies. It took them time, effort, and association with EU and NATO to get where they are now. Ukrainians look at them, look at Russia and choose the West. You have a problem with that?

          • Andrew Allison

            No, I don’t have a problem with Ukraine, or any other country, choosing sides. I just wonder whether the Ukranians would have made the choice they did if they had recognized the consequences.

  • The most important point in re: Ukraine is this: The non-reaction by the West is the largest possible advertisement for proliferation. Ukraine gave up its nukes in exchange for guaranteed borders. Ooops. Bet that Japan, S Korea, Poland, Czech, Saudi Arabia ALL have already learned this lesson. The West CAN NOT BE TRUSTED with the Left in charge in Europe and America… PERIOD.

  • nomorebanderas

    There is no legitimate Kiev govt. It is a fascist junta that overthrew a democratically elected president, which was aided by malicious western influences and carried out by nazi forces. In the east junta forces are killing its own citizens who did not agree with the bloody coup. Thank god crimea got out in time, but donbass is being bombarded…all because they didn’t agree with the illegal overthrow.

    • Aidas Puklevicius

      Would you be so kind as to share contact number of your dealer? It must be mighty powerful new designer drug you have been ODing recently, my good man 🙂 Unless, of course, the explanation is much more trivial – ODing on RT and stuff 🙂

      • nomorebanderas

        Sorry you’re in denial Aidas, you have pravy sector and the rest of the rioting bandera thugs to blame for the sorry state of Ukraine. Killing its own citizens who want nothing to do with the Nazi bandera thugs in power. The poor east is begging Russia to help free it from the mask wearing fascists.

    • El Gringo

      I heard it was Bigfoot under the control of aliens.

      • Andrew Allison

        Please don’t feed the trolls.

  • S.C. Schwarz

    In twenty years or so, maybe less, we will look back on this time as when it all could have been stopped, easily. Stopped in eastern Europe, stopped in the Middle East, and stopped in the South China Sea. But of course it won’t be stopped.

    Pity the future.

    • Andrew Allison

      “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (what Santayana actually wrote)

  • adk

    Read “nomorebanderas” rants to better understand the points Prof.Michta is making. nomorebanderas demonstrates the kind of hysteria that currently grips both the Kremlin and the majority of Russians. Whether Putin believes his own wild propaganda or just cynically uses it for self-preservation is beside the point. This is a self-propelled sickness that will be either stopped now with relatively low costs or with much greater ones later.

    • Thetruth

      The fact that the democratically elected president of ukraine was overthrown in a violent coup is fact. Now the people who did not want this fascist gov. out east are being abused and killed by pravy sektor and other bandera forces. Ukraine is in civil war.

      • Andrew Allison

        Is FSB incapable of hiring even semi-literate trolls? It wasn’t a violent coup and, while it’s legitimacy is certainly debatable, the government has shown no sign of Fascism. Meanwhile, Russian-led and -fed agitators have fomented rebellion in the east.

  • Andrew Allison

    Stuff-and-nonsense. Other than the possibility that events there could trigger WW-III, Eastern Europe is largely irrelevant, to the EU and the ROW. The EU made an enormous mistake in enlarging the organization to include peripheral (in every sense) countries, and is paying the price. Let’s try and ensure that we don’t contribute to the payment. The truly serious problems faced by the EU are the black hole in Brussels and the utter failure of the Social Democratic (better known here as “Blue”) model of governance.

  • Bankotsu

    Eastern europe is also Eurasia.

    • amclarenf95284


  • Bo

    The West – once bound together by a deep and abiding Judeo-Christian Faith – is now a weak no-man’s land bound together only by its collective sense of ennui. In other words, Putin holds the upper hand morally (certainly in the eyes of the people of The Rodina), as he can point to the true decadence of The West, where abortions outstrip live births and men have been emasculated by the State and a Hollywood culture. The EU/NATO today is not the EU/NATO of Konrad Adenauer or even Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. It has become the all-invasive “State” that it once painted the USSR as being. Quoting Pogo: “We have met the enemy and it is us!”

  • Michael Cook

    Scipio made an important point–Ukraine gave up its nukes (and much of its conventional arms stockpile) in return for promises of security. Those promises were made and renewed by Clinton, Bush, and Obama, as recently as last year.

  • “The war in Ukraine is about the fundamentals of the post-Cold
    War order in Europe, both in terms of territory and power distribution.
    If Russia is allowed to overthrow it, Europe will never be—to invoke a
    mantra of the past decade—“whole and free and at peace.”

    Then I guess the Europeans had better get cracking – and fracking. Not our job to do for them what they will not do for themselves. Happy to help those who are willing to help themselves, and who lead the way by making sacrifices in their own defense.

    Aren’t the Ukrainians thrilled now that they gave up their nukes?

  • U Nderwater Glockenspiel

    You-crane-ians are fascistoids, so fooq ’em.

  • NoPasaran

    Dealing with power struggles in eastern Europe, like dealing with the problems of people in the middle east is holding back development in the world’s civilized societies. If there were no such thing as the ICBM, I would be prone to advocate simply ignoring all of them along with the human misery they can’t seem to stop dispensing.

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