By abandoning Ukraine, even before it was attacked, NATO and its allies gave up on dissuading Putin from assaulting his neighbour.
A few troops, even on exercise, might have sufficed ...
Ukraine is alone and the Ukrainians will pay a very heavy price for this renunciation.
But now it is also Europe that is alone.
For fear of the consequences, it has not imagined using force to dissuade, and its allies in the Alliance have shown no desire to get involved in this latest rift in the continent.
It is therefore up to the EU to decide whether it wants to see the environment on its borders gradually eroded by force.
Years of refusal to organise a collective and autonomous system of defence risk leading the Union to a place to which it does not want to return - armed conflict – where its allies would hesitate to follow. For the moment, convinced, perhaps wrongly, of its relative weakness, it relies on them, even though they are far from the theatre of operations, and it seems tetanised by the idea of a more widespread war posed by the transgressive Russian assailant which it has been unable to dissuade.
The price Europe has to pay to stop this unjustifiable act is therefore increasing every day. Moreover, the probability of being dragged into a conflict that may one day directly affect Europe is increasing.
Europeans would then be obliged to show solidarity with each other according to the Treaty on European Union (Article 42.7), in much more imperative terms than Article 5 of the Atlantic Treaty: "Should a Member State be the object of armed aggression on its territory, the other Member States shall render it aid and assistance by all the means in their power.”
Will this commitment convince them to take the necessary decisions to oppose the man who wants to rewrite Europe's already tragic history?
In the light of the past, it is only through the EU’s members states’ determination and their indispensable unity, through massive rearmament and reinforced coordination, through a strong and early response, that they would be able to stop a tragedy that might otherwise be followed by others.