Three of the four scenarios presented in the
report are in one way or another based on the same premise, of long-term confrontation between
Russia and Europe/the West lasting at least until 2030 (or even beyond). And today there are
seemingly few reasons to question that trend. Neither side cherishes hopes of change in the other's
policy. The authors of EUREN Report 2 extrapolate this trend into the foreseeable future (with the
exception of the "dreamful scenario," whose specific function has been discussed above) and focus on
security threats, which are the central concern of the project. But I think that a deeper problem
lies here. What matters is not just the costs of specific foreign policy choices, deriving from
planning mistakes and subsequent misperceptions, but also much more fundamental disagreements and
contradictions concerning the key national interests and the common "philosophy" of the parties. We
just want different things today and we think differently.
Quite often the current
international moment is seen as a return to the Cold War, whose dangers are discussed primarily in
terms of international security. This is true, but it is not only a matter of threats to global and
regional security, although they are extremely important. There is also a basic confrontation
between today's "world perceptions" and the interests arising from them. Once upon a time, during
the "first Cold War," foreign policy and military confrontation between the two blocs stemmed to a
large extent from the global rivalry between universal ideological systems that had convinced
adherents and sought for dominance. Today, the "European idea," as well as the "Western idea" in
general, is experiencing hard times, everyone its speaking about the "crisis of liberalism," about
the challenges of populism, nationalism, and other threats to seemingly unshakable European values
that have claimed to be universal and attracted countries and continents for many centuries.
But even in Russia no substitute for the rejected and forgotten communist universalism has
arisen, there is no big idea that could inspire. The idea of an "anti-West" cannot truly mobilize
the Russians, despite its growing popularity in the developing "non-Western" world. The new Russian
"offensive" ideology "for domestic consumption," which some of our colleagues talk about, is still
just a propaganda slogan. The days of the Great Victory of the Second World War as the basis for a
new national idea are over. At the same time, I am not inclined to bury the European liberal idea.
History shows that liberalism and democracy periodically face acute crises, and Europe is now
clearly entering one of them. It will be up to Russia to make a civilizational choice, when this
becomes possible. And of course, we have no reason to simply imitate someone else's decisions –
especially when they are not making them. It seems that the confrontation within and outside the
security field will continue in the foreseeable future. No exit scenario is in sight.