Alexey Gromyko – Director of the Institute of Europe (RAS)

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One may argue that today the pattern of the First World War’s igniting stage cannot repeat itself because of the existence of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and the experiences of the past. However, if we recall the Cuban crisis, we will remember that the world almost crossed an existential line in spite of already possessing WMDs, and having experienced not one, but two world wars. It was up to decision makers whether or not to act. In a similar pattern, one may argue that the igniting stage of the Second World War cannot repeat itself either. Again, WMDs come to mind, as well as the fact that presently there is no state in Europe – or among their allies – that would plot to spread its sphere of influence by military force, or possesses the potential to do so by using conventional armaments.