A black ribbon is attached to a flag combining EU and Ukrainian national flags, February 22, 2014.
Vasily Fedosenko / Courtesy Reuters

The dramatic events unfolding on Europe’s doorstep seem an affront to the European Union’s core political values: self-determination, rule of law, and peaceful conflict resolution. Yet even as the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated, Europe has largely remained a passive observer. EU representatives’ initial efforts to help stabilize the situation after the ouster of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych petered out with Russia’s invasion of the Crimean peninsula. And the emergency session of EU foreign ministers in Brussels on March 3 resulted only in a bland statement condemning Russia’s actions that merely hinted at potential serious repercussions. European heads of state are likely to meet later in the week to discuss further options, but few are predicting that the European Union will play a large role in the conflict. The Wall Street Journal aptly summarized consensus opinion with its headline “A Shaken EU Makes No Real Effort to Confront Russia

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  • KATHLEEN R. MCNAMARA is Associate Professor of Government and Foreign Service and Director of the Mortara Center for International Studies at Georgetown University.
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