Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives for his bilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on March 24, 2016, to discuss Syria and Ukraine at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]
Russia Can’t Be Excluded From European Affairs

The Western attempt to expel Russia from Europe has failed. That there was such an attempt was always implicit in the strategy of seeking to admit every European country but Russia into NATO and the European Union. In this context, the NATO slogan “A Europe Whole and Free” is an explicit statement that Russia is not part of Europe.

But as French President Emmanuel Macron has reminded us, Russia is part of Europe and is simply too big, too powerful, and too invested in its immediate neighborhood to be excluded from the European security order. A continued strategy along these lines will lead to repeated Russian attempts to force its way back in. At best, this will lead to repeated and very damaging crises; at worst, to war.

A structure needs to be created that can defend the interests of NATO and the EU while at the same time accommodating vital Russian interests and preserving peace. The solution lies in a modernized version of what was once called the “Concert of Europe.”

The current security order has reached its limit. Until 2007-2008, the expansion of the EU and NATO appeared to have proceeded flawlessly, with the admission of all the former Soviet satellites in Central Europe and the Balkans, as well as the Baltic states. Russia was unhappy with NATO expansion but did not actively oppose it. Then, however, both NATO and the EU received decisive checks, through their own overreach.

Read the full article in Foreign Policy.

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