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The Ukraine crisis has shone a spotlight on one of the glaring gaps in the world right now – the lack of a strategic and purposeful Europe. The United States can and should lead on the response to this conflict but nothing can really happen without Europe. The European Union is by far Russia's largest trading partner, buys much of Russia's energy, is the major investor in Russian companies and is the largest destination for Russian capital. Consider how Europe has dealt with Ukraine. For years, it could not really decide whether it wanted to encourage Ukrainian membership in the EU, so it sent mixed signals to Kiev, which had the initial effect of disappointing pro-European Ukrainians, angering Russians, and confusing everyone else.EU leaders were beginning to woo Ukraine without recognizing how this would be perceived in Russia.Negotiations between the EU and Ukraine meandered along, taking a year to work out the text.
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