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One Europe or none


Publication date: 10/27/2017


On the one side the institutions that had maintained the Soviet bloc were dismantled, whereas on the other side the Atlantic security system was maintained and in the end enlarged to encompass much of the territory of its former adversary. The European post-Cold War order assumed monist forms. Instead of the geopolitical and ideological diversity sought by Mikhail Gorbachev as he brought the Cold War to an end in the late 1980s, a type of monist cold peace was imposed in which Atlantic security institutions and ideas were consolidated.

The monism was both institutional and ideational, and the two reinforced each other in a hermetic order that sought to insulate itself from critique and transformation. Russia was excluded as anything but subaltern. The post-Cold War European peace order was thus built on weak foundations, provoking a cycle of mimetic rivalry. In Russia the fateful dialectic of external challenge and domestic stultification once again operated, heightening the Kremlin’s threat perceptions. Russia’s relations with the European Union (EU) and Washington veered between the cooperative and the confrontational, until settling into a conflictual mode in 2014.


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