BERLIN – War is ravaging Europe’s east. Ukraine is a victim of Russian military aggression, and, like it or not, its fate will essentially determine that of Europe’s, because the current crisis will define the rules and principles that Europeans live by in the twenty-first century.
Will Europe be governed by the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, and the inviolability of national borders? Or will sheer might and the willingness to use force triumph? Will “managed” democracy and spheres of influence trump the right of countries, large or small, to determine their own future?
With the Cold War’s end and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity quickly became a cornerstone of the European order. This strategic fact is more evident now than ever before. Simply put, today’s democratic Ukraine is fighting for Europe’s future.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to restore an international order based on exclusive spheres of influence controlled by major powers – the system that prevailed in Europe’s war-torn eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A European Ukraine and the European Union stand in the way of this goal. That is why current Russian policy seeks to destabilize Ukraine permanently, especially militarily and financially. In its own interest, Europe must not allow this policy to prevail.