The war in Ukraine has triggered serious ripple effects in international relations all over the world. Few countries are able to sit on the fence; and even some of those pursuing this policy in public are—in reality—taking sides one way or other. International organizations, alliances, and regional partnerships are being tested. Emotions are, understandably, running high. Strong statements are made, which can at times be intemperate and unhelpful. Level-headed thinking is always welcome. In times of crises, it is more necessary than ever. As in every war, there are actually several ’wars’ going on simultaneously. What one can see is, more often than not, only a limited part of reality. True statesmanship is about the ability to see clearly in the ‘fog of war’, and to make provisions for a number of eventualities. Russian aggression against Ukraine has resulted in such a dense ‘fog’ geopolitically, diplomatically, economically—and even, unfortunately, culturally—that to see through it would take such greats as, for instance, Abraham Lincoln or Winston S. Churchill. It is unfortunate for the world that there is a short supply of leaders of their calibre. Although we have heard multiple times in the past few years that the international order has reached a crossroads, this time it may even be true. There are a number of squares—or perhaps it would be better to say strategic triangles—that need to be circled: most urgently, the US–EU–Russia triangle, then, in the longer term, the US–China–Russia one. The prospects are not especially encouraging. Strategic thinkers with a clear vision are far and few between—if, indeed, there are any. Short-termism seems to be the name of the game, and the Atlantic community is not an exception. The voices of moderation, caution, and prudence are invariably drowned by threats, swagger, and sermonizing. Let us not forget, however, that might does not necessarily make right.
Tamás Magyarics, Editor-in-Chief