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Europe’s Geography of Values

Confronted with Russia’s reassertion of its imperial tradition and the deceptive methods and reflexes of the Soviet past, how should Europe respond? To embrace an “energy raison d’état” that leaves Europe dependent upon Russia for about one-third of its energy resources would be suicidal.

PARIS – Confronted with Russia’s reassertion of its imperial tradition and the deceptive methods and reflexes of the Soviet past, how should Europe respond? Should it give priority to “the value of geography” or to “the geography of values”?

Those who opt for the former do so in the name of short-term “energy realism,” arguing that it is vital to reach an agreement with Russia because Europe lacks America’s shale gas and oil. According to this reasoning, the United States can live without Russia, but Europe cannot.

Moreover, for the realists, America’s defiant behavior toward its oldest and most faithful allies – reflected in the recent surveillance scandals implicating the National Security Agency – has discredited the very idea of a “community of values.” If America no longer respects the values that it professes, why should the European Union lose the goodwill of the Kremlin in the name of upholding them?

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