Europe has a long and bloody history of wars, of borders brutally contested, of nations and empires carving destructive furrows far from home. But a sad harvest of sorrow and loss after the Second World War was followed by decades of relative peace and prosperity, even during a Cold War that did not become hot.
Today that peace is being severely tested by Russian President Vladimir Putin as he masses troops on Ukraine's border and diplomats are raising the alarm in stark terms. The US ambassador to the 57 nation, globe straddling Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe, Michael Carpenter, warned on Thursday that European security is facing a "crisis" and "the drumbeat of war is sounding loud."
Putin, whose nation buried tens of millions of its own in European wars, is unearthing fresh grievances about the post-World War peace, specifically the role of NATO, the transatlantic defensive alliance and counterpoint to Russia's predecessor, the Soviet Union.