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This Article Originally Appeared in The New York Times
Britain’s referendum decision last month to leave the European Union has plunged Europe into crisis. There will be institutional and political upheaval for years to come while the terms of Britain’s knotty disentanglement are worked out. The ability of both Britain and the European Union to maintain their international influence and remain major forces on the world stage is in doubt, with potentially dire consequences for Continental order.
It is a stark situation. One person who understands this very well is Russia’s president, Vladimir V. Putin.
Mr. Putin has spent the past 16 years trying to destabilize the West. He has pursued a foreign policy designed to intimidate Russia’s near neighbors, undermine Euro-Atlantic unity and challenge the post-Cold War international order. Yet each of Mr. Putin’s attempts to divide the European Union has failed. It stood united through all of Russia’s economic embargoes, financial subversions, energy cutoffs and military interventions.
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