Is Russia Europe’s Biggest Threat?

Judy Dempsey asks Stefan Meister and other experts

22/02/2018 | by Stefan Meister

“Judy Asks,” Carnegie Europe Blog, February 21, 2018

Category: European Union, Russia

As part of her “Strategic Europe” blog for Carnegie Europe’s website, Judy Dempsey asked a selection of foreign and security policy experts, including the DGAP’s Stefan Meister, about Russia’s role for Europe.

Stefan Meister answers

No, Russia is not Europe’s biggest threat—and Europe and the United States have to take care, that they do not make Russia stronger and more dangerous than it is. The Western liberal world is in a fundamental crisis, not because of Russia but because of the West’s own inability or slowness to adapt to a changing environment, including digitalization, globalization, and social shifts. This opens opportunities for Vladimir Putin to raise his prestige and to challenge the Western liberal order—not because he is so strong, but because we are weak.

If we, as European states and societies, would do our homework, there would be limited basis for populism and disinformation. Instead, there would be military capabilities, social resilience, and abilities for crisis management in the world, including in the Middle East, which raises the costs for Russia’s military provocations and shrinks the room for maneuver for Mr. Putin. This does not mean that Putin’s Russia is not a dangerous player; it has improved its military capabilities and, because it is economically weak, it is more a destabilizer than a security provider. But in focusing on Russia as the biggest threat we distract from our own political deficits and from more substantial challenges, including China.

Read the entire entry on the Carnegie Europe Blog here.

 
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