The Ukrainian crisis is giving rise to new strategic shifts. Alongside the shift away from a US-dominated world order, the conflict shows the emergence of a new balance of power in Europe that eludes the comprehension of Western analysts.
At the heart of the new strategic situation in Europe is an “inflation of the influence” of Eastern European states that was unimaginable thirty years ago.
In its current form, the European Union, whose development – both economic and political – has been driven for almost seventy years by the countries of Western Europe, has essentially lost its sovereignty. At the beginning of the 1990s, at the height of post-Cold War integration plans, there was a real possibility of forming a full European confederation: Western European countries were thinking about their own defense policy, separate from the US, and were planning to go down the road of creating some form of United States of Europe. This would have greatly strengthened Western European autonomy, not only vis-à-vis the Americans but also in regards to Russia and China. This unique opportunity was never seized.
On the contrary, Western Europe was tempted to expand virtually to the borders of Russia. And when this expansion took place, it suddenly became clear that the old European core had been eroded.