Pieter Lagrou is professor of contemporary history at the Université libre de Bruxelles and member of the research centre Mondes Modernes et Contemporains
The end of many eras
February 24, 2022, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is also a date that signals the end of several eras. First of all, it is the end of a period of almost 77 years of peace in Europe. This peace is certainly relative. It signals the ability of the great powers to fight in theatres of war other than Europe. It is only valid if peace is equated with the absence of large-scale conventional wars in which one sovereign country invades another, leaving aside other violent episodes such as the Greek civil war, the wars in the former Yugoslavia or the 2014 invasion of Crimea. It is also the end of an only slightly shorter period of “nuclear deterrence”, understood as the idea that the possession of nuclear weapons prevents the outbreak of a conventional conflict in Europe.
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This opinion piece was presented by Professor Pieter Lagrou at the conference « Décoder le conflit en Ukraine », organised by the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the ULB of the ULB, the Institut d’études européennes, Cevipol, REPI, MMC and CTP le on March 10, 2022.
Main photo: European Union, 2022. Scopes : Information and education only, Non-commercial use. Copyright. Source: EC – Audiovisual Service