Dan O’Brien: The world faces a dangerous stand-off between democracy and autocracy

Greater European insecurity, changes to energy policy and a radical increase in political risk for businesses are among the long-term consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, regardless of when and how the conflict ends

An anti-Putin poster in Warsaw in Poland: Russia’s aggression has caused the biggest change in European energy policy in half a century. Picture: Getty

“If real trouble ever comes to Europe, it will come from the east.” In a discussion of Russia, this was the conclusion arrived at in my 2009 book: Ireland, Europe and the World: Writings on a New Century. The conclusion was reached because Russia is profoundly different from the rest of Europe, and from the continent’s other big powers in particular.

Just as Britain and Switzerland’s histories of keeping an arm’s length from the rest ...