The Russian invasion of Ukraine this morning ends several months of doubt and debate over the purpose of Moscow’s military buildup at the two countries’ border. Washington’s repeated warnings of an imminent military operation proved not to be the hysteria that Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed them as. In the end, Putin’s manufactured crisis was not an attempt at coercive diplomacy, or if it was, it was a failed one.
War and conflict have rarely been absent from the European continent, even during the past 30 years of ostensible peace and prosperity. But a war of choice and aggression by one nation against its neighbor, and especially one of this apparent magnitude, sends shockwaves across Europe and beyond. So if the start of military operations closes a period of uncertainty as to what will come, it opens another one with even deeper and broader implications.
This uncertainty will be felt on three levels: the military, the political and the societal.