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Russian Invasion of Ukraine Awakens Europe


Europe’s assertive response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has raised a possibility that would have been unimaginable a month ago: the European Union as a superpower could change the global order, promote liberal democratic values ​​around the world.

Before the war, the EU focused largely on economic growth. It resists calls, especially from the US, to increase military spending and be more autonomous in defending Europe.

Vladimir Putin’s invasion has made European countries more aggressive. They have imposed tough sanctions that have crippled the Russian economy and are working to cut off the transaction from Russia. They sent weapons and other aid to Ukraine. Several countries have moved to increase military spending, and EU leaders have met in France over the past few days to coordinate their efforts. The leaders of France and Germany yesterday pressed Putin in a phone call to agree to a ceasefire.

New European commitments can help fight the globe democracy slips in the past 15 years. The failure of democracies to stand up for themselves in part caused that change. But a tougher Europe, as well as the fierce response of other countries to the Russian invasion, shows that democracies are still willing to use power against autocratic governments.

Michael Abramowitz, president of Freedom House, which monitors the state of democracy around the world, said: “Democratic nations and people are sending a united message to Putin that democracy is important. and dictators cannot act without punishment.

The European Union (EU) is often very complex, consisting of countries and ethnic groups at war with each other for centuries and with different, sometimes competing, interests and values. Britain’s vote to leave the union in 2016 shows how far such divisions can go.

But the EU has moved in a more unified direction in recent times. Although it is not a single country, in many ways it functions as one. What began as a loose organization of six countries now comprises most of the continent’s population, with 27 countries as members. Most share a currency and open their borders to each other, and all send representatives to the legislative, executive and judicial branches that have power over all aspects of European life. .

The EU’s response to Russia’s aggression is yet another unifying step – one that could propel Europe from a passive role to becoming an influential democratic force around the world.

Europe’s previous inaction dates back to World War II. After the atrocities of war and the Holocaust, Germany leaning towards pacifism, refuses to build an army or transport its weapons to conflict zones. As the EU’s most populous and wealthiest member, the EU’s approach has had a major impact on the continent.

Russia’s sudden invasion of Ukraine forces the continent’s leaders to confront the prospect that their stance is failing one of the EU’s fundamental goals: preventing war in Europe. As a paradox, the EU may need greater military strength to prevent more wars.

Jana Puglierin, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations, told me: “Peace is self-evident. That is no longer the case, she added.

Within days of the invasion, Germany was spending more to rebuild its army. Other countries made similar commitments, including Austria, Denmark and Sweden last week. Experts say more EU and NATO members will follow.

In the long run, a resurgent Europe could help renew a damaged global order led by a democratic West.

One way this could happen is through Europe being more proactive in defending itself. That would free up American resources currently devoted to European security, thereby allowing the United States to embark on something long-promised. refocus on Asia to help fight China. (White House officials say the war has convinced some Asian governments to work more closely with the West to protect democracy, my colleagues. Michael Crowley and Edward Wong reported.)

As the world’s second-largest economy, Europe can also use its wealth to counter threats to itself or to democracy abroad – with sanctions, investment, and sanctions. financial investment and trade policy.

The EU has played a role in the expansion of a former global democratic order. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the EU’s embrace of Eastern European countries empowered new democracies, from Bulgaria to Lithuania. Timothy Garton Ash, a historian at the University of Oxford, told me “it was one of the biggest democracy promotion projects in recent history.

The future is not as simple as a new Cold War between democracies and autocracies. India, the world’s most populous democracy, is friendly with Russia and has refused to condemn Putin’s war in Ukraine. The United States is dealing with illiberal movement. Within Europe, democratic institutions have deteriorated in Poland and more severely in Hungary. “There are serious internal problems in Europe,” said Mujtaba Rahman, an analyst at Eurasia Group.

One big unanswered question remains: Will Europe’s new assertiveness last? Europeans are facing a refugee crisis and rising food and gas prices as a result of the war and sanctions imposed on Russia. That could trigger a backlash against politicians who have been actively pro-Ukraine – and cut short the path Europe is on today.

  • Russian war planes attacked a base near the border with PolandIt has killed at least 35 people and brought the war closer to NATO’s doorstep, Ukrainian officials say.

  • Russian forces increased bombardment to wreak havoc on the cities and towns of Ukraine. Soldiers fight street by street in a suburb of Kyiv.

  • Russian forces detain the mayor Ukrainian officials say the city of Melitopol is occupied, prompting hundreds of angry residents to protest.

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accuse Russia begins a “new phase of terror” designed to break the will of citizens.

  • Attacks in two cities pierced relative sense of security in western Ukraine.


Sunday Question: Has the cultural backlash against Russia gone too far?

Isolate Russia by banning their athletes, throwing their vodka and sneaking their artists around can be helpful turn against PutinAtlantic Yasmeen Serhan speak. Slate Dan Kois disagree, claiming to stigmatize innocent Russians harm Ukraine’s cause. (Times opinion Spencer Bokat-Lindell there are more.)



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