For over 75 years the continent that spawned modern civilization, the continent that ruled and colonized the world for centuries, the continent that made the crucial difference in the American victory in the revolution, has been asleep.

After over thirty years, 1914-1945, of what some have termed the European Civil War, an exhausted but free Europe snoozed blissfully under the American defense umbrella. It seems, no longer. Here’s recent news from the continent.

FNC: “European leaders announced their intention to collectively rearm and increase independence in response to Russia’s aggression, which has caused a ‘tectonic shift’ on the continent. Leaders from the 27 member states of the European Union on Friday held an ‘informal meeting’ at the historic palace of Versailles outside of Paris to discuss the invasion of Ukraine and determine next steps.”

“A stronger and more capable EU in the field of security and defense will contribute positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to NATO,” the declaration stated. The leaders agreed to ‘invest more and better in defense capabilities and innovative technologies’ by increasing defense spending and through tighter cooperation and coordination between armed forces. European Council President Charles Michel referred to the declaration as the ‘initiation’ of European defense. Germany still presents the most surprising change in position, with Chancellor Olaf Sholz announcing on Feb. 27 that his government would set aside a 100 billion euro fund to boost its military after decades of taking a non-aggression approach to conflicts.”

If Vladimir Putin has made one gigantic mistake in invading Ukraine, it was waking up the Euros, especially, given Russian history, the Germans. They were quite content to set up elaborate welfare states, kvetch about rude and bumbling Americans, and let those very same Americans pay for their defense. Putin’s Ukrainian outing has changed all that.

Hitler was told by his U Boat admirals to wait until 1942 or 43 to start WWII. Then they would have enough subs to control the Atlantic, strangle the British, and keep supplies and convoys in port. But he wouldn’t listen and he lost. Thank God.

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As such, Putin should have gone bigger and faster on reconstituting the Soviet Union, to avoid the backlash and present the West with a fait accompli. But he thought, like Hitler in the Sudetenland, he had time and would get no response to this move due to previous Westen appeasement on other invasions.

But almost incredibly, all Putin did was probably get one, granted big, piece of the pie in Ukraine while awakening a continent to his designs. His international pariah status will make a victory in Kyiv taste like ashes in his mouth. And it may unleash a reckoning at home.

He thinks the Chinese will back him up in the long run, which will take the sting out of Western sanctions? Ha! The Chinese are only about the Chinese. They will use him as a pawn to indirectly abuse the West then cast him off at the first profitable opportunity. Putin has become their prison punk, their kept eunuch, their client state. So much for Russian national pride.

Perhaps when the dust, hopefully not radioactive, dust settles on this particular conflict, we will see a Europe reinvigorated as in times past. That would be a good thing for Europe, for America, and for the world. Their words certainly proclaim their renaissance right now. But their actions will speak more than any strongly worded declaration out of Versailles.