Publication Year

1992

Keywords

Politics, government, NATO, North Atlantic Trade Alliance, Cold War, Europe

Disciplines

Economics | European History | International and Area Studies | Political Science | United States History

Abstract

The proverb warning that one must be careful about what one wishes for, because it just might come true is particularly applicable to the collapse of the Soviet Empire in Eastern Europe and the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States within the former Soviet Union. The most fervent Cold War rhetoric from President Ronald Reagan, "Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!" has been eclipsed by actual events that have surpassed even the most hawkish fantasies of the early 1980s. Indeed, the criticism leveled upon the former Soviet Union by Russian reformers makes the "Evil Empire" pale by comparison.

The events in Europe since 1989 have proceeded at a pace that has left the leaders of the world struggling to keep control of world events and conditions. In particular, the end of the Cold War has removed the unifying factor of Western defense policy: deterrence of an expansionist Soviet Union. With the collapse of the Soviet Union into the Commonwealth of Independent States the once-unifying fear of Communism and of the Soviets has yielded to uncertainty and confusion. It is against this backdrop that the West enters the early nineties.

This paper will demonstrate that the NATO Alliance (with modifications to facilitate cooperation with the Central and Eastern European nations) is still the best agent for providing European security. NATO is too valuable as an insurance policy against European instability to be discarded until another proven mechanism arrives to fulfill its role.

Department 1 Awarding Honors Status

Political Science

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