Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

Europeans have weapons—but aren’t warriors

By Alexis Carré

04 Dec 2022 · 7 min read

Russian President Putin went ahead with the invasion of Ukraine because he knew that Europe's democratic nations lacked the determination for war, a guest writer for Foreign Policy argues.

Curated by informed

Europe’s military leaders have been aware for some time that high-intensity military conflicts and even major wars are a real possibility for the continent. Europe’s gradual rearmament, accelerated by the war in Ukraine, bears witness to that. It would be unfair to say European leaders are unrealistic about the threats they face. But they have made the mistake of believing that a material response to those threats will suffice.

Armaments are only one aspect of Europe’s problem. NATO already has at its disposal military means that are vastly superior to Russia. But that did not stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from carrying out his aggressive plan against Ukraine, which Europe has clearly declared an important interest in.

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