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French police officers detain a suspected jihadists during a raid in Strasbourg, France, May 13, 2014 (AP photo by Jean Francois Badias).

Lacking Security Strategy, EU Counts on Nearby Crises to Absorb Threats

Monday, July 28, 2014

Europe’s strategic situation is simultaneously precarious and curiously comfortable. From eastern Ukraine to northern Africa, conflicts crowd in on the European Union (EU). Yet the bloc’s security may actually benefit from the ongoing instability in cases such as Ukraine, Mali and even Syria. The longer these conflicts absorb the energies of potential foes, ranging from Russian President Vladimir Putin to various Islamist radical groups, the less likely they are to menace the EU directly. Europeans have little or no appetite to get involved in these wars, leading critics to grumble that they refuse to fight for their interests. But it may be in Europe’s interest to let others keep fighting.

A quick survey of the EU’s neighborhood is dispiriting. The Ukrainian war is worsening. Apparently insoluble conflicts crisscross the Middle East. To the south of the Mediterranean, Libya is in anarchy. Much of the Maghreb appears unstable. ...

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