Crimea crisis: Europe must finally check the Putin doctrine
Europe's Eastern policy, if there ever really was one, is in tatters. It has unraveled at breakneck speed, as Russia moved against Ukraine, effectively annexed part of its territory, and put its smaller neighbor on the brink of war.
Moving from disbelief to dismay to horror, Europeans lost whatever hopes and illusions they may have harbored that Russia was a predictable and cooperative partner. Instead, images are being invoked of the Soviet intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968 and in Hungary in 1956, and a new Cold War seems fully possible now.
However far-fetched they may seem, these comparisons reflect a frantic search among Western politicians and experts for the underlying causes, rationales and consequences of Russia's actions in Ukraine. And it slowly dawns on Europe that it is witness to a sea change in Russian foreign policy that shakes the very foundations of the European order that emerged after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
Joerg Forbrig is a program director and Eastern Europe expert with the German Marshall Fund of the United States.