Editorial: Ukraine, Europe on the sidelines

Lhe new Russia-United States dialogue on Ukraine may be held in Geneva, in the heart of Europe, but it is largely absent from the discussions when it is primarily concerned. And that several countries on its eastern facade would have front row seats in the event of an invasion …

Lhe new Russia-United States dialogue on Ukraine may well be held in Geneva, at the heart of Europe, it is largely absent from the discussions when it is primarily concerned. And that several countries of its eastern facade would have a front row seat in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukrainian lands.

Not invited to the shores of Lake Geneva, the Europeans once again pay for their diplomatic and military weakness. And they really need the “strategic compass” that the French presidency of the Union wants them to adopt to begin to pull them out of their lethargy while war is knocking again at the door of the Old Continent.

This summit between Russian and American diplomats, with a very “cold war” flavor, goes back to the time when Europe, torn apart by the Iron Curtain, was the plaything of rivalries between “supergrands”. Putin, this great nostalgic for the USSR, actively participates in this “return to the future” by demanding to speak to Uncle Sam over the heads of his allies. And Washington, which wanted to delegate to the latter the dialogue with Moscow to deal with China, must come to the rescue.

In Geneva, the match is not over. There are still two meetings, one in Brussels, the other in Vienna. But Europe will have to raise its level of play

This American return also marks that of the Atlantic Alliance. Emmanuel Macron denounced in 2019 his “state of brain death”. But NATO, awakened by Russian military intimidation, has regained its teeth. And gathered around it again European countries more tempted by the American umbrella, even pierced by the Trump years, than by the still very fragile pillar of “European defense” dear to Paris and some of its partners.

This winter of 2022 in Ukraine once again poses to Europeans the fundamental question of peace or war. And since they continue to display their political divisions, their strategic hesitations and their energy fragilities, they find themselves quite logically relegated to the sidelines. However, the game is not over.

In the face of Putin’s intimidation, the Americans reaffirmed the Ukrainians’ right to decide on their alliances. And promised their European partners not to sign anything with Putin without referring it to them. After Geneva, two other meetings are planned, in which the Europeans are associated: one between NATO and Russia in Brussels, the other in Vienna within the framework of the OSCE, the European security organization resulting from the Cold War. . Invited this time to enter the field, the Europeans will have an interest in meeting the challenge.

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