Ukraine and the Future of Europe

BERLIN – What will happen when Russia’s deployment of troops along the Ukrainian border is complete? Will Russian President Vladimir Putin give the order to attack in his effort to deprive one of Russia’s neighbors – a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations and the Council of Europe – of its independence and force it back under the Kremlin’s yoke?

We still don’t know, but the facts overwhelmingly point to an impending war. Should that happen, the consequences for Europe would be profound, calling into question the European order and the principles – renunciation of violence, self-determination, the inviolability of borders, and territorial integrity – on which it has been based since the end of the Cold War.

Owing to violent aggression on Russia’s part, Europe would once again be divided into two spheres: a “Russian Europe” in the east and the Europe of the European Union and NATO in the western and central parts of the continent. Imperial interests would once again be set against those of democracies working together under a common rule of law.

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