A great-power outage

Americans have long complained that Europe is feckless in the face of security threats — that America has often cared more about European security than Europe does. These days, the Americans have a point. Europeans have more at stake in Ukraine — a neighbor — than America does, and they have 10 times more trade with Russia to use as leverage over Mr. Putin.

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But Europe, led by Germany, prefers indifference to action when it comes to the future of Ukraine. As menacing as Russian behavior in Ukraine may be, Europeans fear more that Russia could make their energy supplies uncertain and expensive, or close itself off from European exports and investments.

Meanwhile, American strategy feeds European-Russian bonhomie. If there is an American grand strategy, it is to pivot attention to Asia, which could account for two-thirds of global gross domestic product by 2025. Hillary Rodham Clinton, while secretary of state, said the Asia-Pacific region was where the “future of politics will be decided.” President Obama underscored that message while visiting Asia, even as the Ukraine crisis unfolded.

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