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How the Ukraine War Must Remake Europe

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has made Europe more united than it has ever been. The challenge now is to uphold this sense of common purpose, and build a stronger, more resilient, and more self-sufficient EU capable of advancing its geopolitical interests in a world of renewed great-power rivalry.

BERLIN – War has returned to Europe. One month ago, a European great power attacked its smaller neighbor – which it claims does not have the right to exist as a sovereign nation-state – and even threatened to deploy nuclear weapons against those that challenge it. With that, the world was fundamentally changed. Europe must change with it.

With his unprovoked aggression against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin deliberately destroyed the underpinnings of European peace and, to some extent, of the entire post-Cold War international order. Not only has the West’s diplomatic and economic relationship with Russia been decimated; direct military confrontation between NATO and Russia is a distinct possibility.

The world now must contend with the risk – once thought to have been overcome – that a war in Europe could quickly escalate into a global conflagration. If World War III were to erupt, it could entail an unprecedented level of destruction, even by European standards, owing to the likelihood that weapons of mass destruction would be used.