As the EU’s success in managing Ukraine slips, frequent AICGS contributor Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg reminds us that Europe “has more leverage over the situation than policymakers seem to think they do.” Misperceptions and conspiracy theories abound in the media. But the truth is that economic agony, which has lasted decades, is driving this crisis. Arguing that a fragmented Ukraine is in no party’s interest, zu Guttenberg points out that likening Crimea to past or ongoing crises mistreats the situation’s uniqueness.
Europe, and specifically Germany, have not only an important role, but also an historic responsibility to Ukraine. And similarly, the West—including NATO—must be prepared for any escalation from Russia, where the EU holds significant leverage through foreign direct investment and energy partnerships. So, despite Europe’s poor performance after Russia’s invasion of Crimea, zu Guttenberg concludes that there are viable paths forward.