It is beyond tragic that the peace of Europe is being challenged today.
That was supposedly settled once and for all by the establishment of the European Union which bound together enemies through ties of economic interdependence, and by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Whose fault is this new disturbing state of affairs? Mistakes have been made on all sides.
But first let’s look at recent events:
From Estonia, a neighbor of Russia, US President Barack Obama this week accused Moscow of acts of threatening the peace in Europe. He declared: “We will defend the territorial integrity of every single ally.”
The threats to peace in Europe were noted by two major American newspapers, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
The editorial of the Journal was particularly worrisome:
Titled Deterring a war in Europe, it noted that, “The Atlantic alliance needs to prove it is serious about deterring the no longer unthinkable prospect of another major war in Europe … Europeans also thought the World Wars of the last century were unthinkable right up until they broke out.”
The Time’s piece was titled The urgent challenges of NATO , and said “The question is whether NATO is up to the challenge of pushing back against Mr. Putin’s expansionist tendencies.”
These are unfamiliar words to generations of Americans and Europeans. But it is not only Russian President Vladimir Putin who has lost his mind.
The West must also bear much of the responsibility for the situation. This story began with the expansion of NATO in 1999 into Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland.
In 2004 it added Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The Russians were right to protest bitterly, and even then-Russian leader Boris Yeltsin warned of war.
However, when NATO turned toward Georgia and particularly Ukraine, Putin described it as a “direct threat” to Russia. It was impossible for Russian to let their neighbor Ukraine fall into the sphere of influence of the West.
Just like America would not permit Canada to pass into the sphere of the influence of Russia or China. Thus, Putin seized the Crimea and made it clear that he prefers to take apart Ukraine rather than let it fall into the West’s hands.
Hopefully both sides will come to their senses before it’s too late.