Europe in the cross hairs: wielding a pistol at a protest in Odessa, May 2014
Yevgeny Volokin / Reuters

Until recently, most Europeans believed that their post–Cold War security order held universal appeal and could be a model for the rest of the world. This conviction was hardly surprising, since Europe has often played a central role in global affairs. For much of the last three centuries, European order was world order—a product of the interests, ambitions, and rivalries of the continent’s empires. And even during the Cold War, when the new superpowers stood on opposite sides of the continent, the central struggle was between two European ideologies, democratic capitalism and communism, and over control of the European lands in between.

Still, it was not until 1989 that a distinctly European model of international conduct emerged, one that represented a radical departure from the assumptions and practices that still held elsewhere. In June 1989, communist authoritarians in China crushed that country’s nascent pro-democracy movement; that same year,

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  • IVAN KRASTEV is Chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, in Sofia, and Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, in Vienna.

 MARK LEONARD is Co-Founder and Director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Follow him on Twitter @markhleonard.
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