As we approach the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion later this month, the Ukraine war remains the world’s dominant geopolitical conflict.

The big-picture structural issue is the post-Cold War order in Europe and the place of a shrunken and much-diminished Russia in the European security order and architecture. History did not end with the defeat of the Soviet Union in the Cold War. Nor was the power status of post-Soviet Russia settled. The immediate conflict parties are Russia and Ukraine.

Yet, in a very real sense, Ukraine’s territory is the battleground for a proxy war between Russia and the West that reflects the unsettled questions since the end of the Cold War. In his influential book, "The Anarchical Society" (1977), Oxford professor Hedley Bull argued that war is the arbiter of the creation, survival and elimination of actors in the system, especially the major powers; of the ebb and flow of political frontiers; and of the rise and decline of regimes. This is the real stake.