Culture notes: Russia wouldn’t do that!

Catherine Fieschi on why Europe failed to foresee the invasion of Ukraine

The World Today Published 1 April 2022 Updated 31 March 2022 2 minute READ

Catherine Fieschi

Director, Counterpoint

As Russia’s war on Ukraine unfolds, Europe and more broadly ‘the West’ are in self-congratulatory mode. After years of polarization and populism across advanced economies, red lines abandoned and struggles to rally behind some of the most basic challenges such as climate change, the unprovoked aggression against Ukraine by Russia has focused minds. The declining West has found a purpose and a cause. 

As many have pointed out, in a few short weeks Putin managed to do what nothing else – not even Covid – had done for the declining West. In the United States, President Biden has found a cause that, against all expectations, seems to work across partisan lines. In Europe, the slow, corrosive, post-Brexit nit-picking between the European Union and Britain has abated somewhat. 

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