The point of the European Union is not to bring European-style parliamentary democracy and regulation heavy free-trade-zones to the Continent. It is to end grinding, vicious, catastrophic wars that leave the Continent a smoking ruin.
Brussels and Washington must do what they have been reluctant to do for years and forthrightly assert their interests in the face of opposition.
The choice for a change is stark, and has been for some time: A Ukraine that is part of Europe, or a Ukraine that is merely a glorified province for Russia.
This development is part of a larger series of events that point more and more inexorably toward the signing of the Association Agreement and closer ties at last between Europe and Ukraine.
When the story of Ukraine’s drive for Europe is written, Vladimir Putin will star in an outsized role: one of his rare blunders will be known as perhaps the final push that brought Brussels and Kyiv together at last.
Credit goes to Viktor Yanukovych’s administration, which has been smart enough to see that whatever the short-term gains might be found in an alliance with Moscow, the future can only lie with Europe.
As Brussels and Kyiv rapidly approach the date on which they are to sign the Association Agreement to which they have worked so long, all present noted the remarkable speed with which Ukraine is meeting its target benchmarks.
Russia has, inadvertently, reminded the EU that there are others with their sights set on Kyiv’s economic and political riches, and those suitors will not wait forever.
Today, a decade of hard work is set to pay off, and Ukraine deserves credit for its rapid work repairing and revitalizing the drive to Europe.
The coming months and years will be a test of leadership in the EU and Ukraine, as Russian intransigence and vengeance will undoubtedly come with heavy clubs.