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The Big Chill has descended over China. Sino-American relations are suffering. While we assess the ramifications, we must also look beyond the crisis and sketch blueprints for a warmer climate, for the present season will not long endure.
Not much attention was paid in March 1985, when the European Council, whose members include the chiefs of state and government of the 12 member states, decided that it should constitute a single market by 1992. After all, the European Community had been established in 1957 with the goal of a common market, and many people believed that the goal had been reached; tariffs within the Community had been abolished, a common external tariff put in place and a controversial common agricultural policy instituted.
In this year of 1989, France has been celebrating the bicentennial of its revolution at a time when the myth attached to that event is in the process of dying out among the public at large. The French have spent the past two centuries building a dream of their revolution, either to damn it or to exalt it.
In my frequent visits to the United States these days, I am asked most insistently two questions about Europe: "What will happen in 1992?" and "Can a united European market work?" Many Americans are either skeptical about the future of Europe or nervous about it. Some predict that when put to the test a united Europe will quickly splinter under national and local political pressures. Others fear that Europeans will drop their internal trade barriers only to erect a higher new external wall, creating a kind of "Fortress Europe."
The postwar division of Europe is slowly eroding. This is partly a consequence of the thaw in relations between Washington and Moscow. But it would not be possible without the powerful influence of a resurgent and increasingly self-confident European Community. The West Europeans themselves have become the engineers and chief architects reshaping Europe, with economic forces driving the process. The growing unity and prosperity of the EC exert a magnetic force on Eastern Europe, setting in train a process by which the two halves of the continent are steadily reducing barriers to the movement of goods, ideas and people-and largely on terms that support Western values and interests.
Mikhail Gorbachev's reforms have unleashed an unprecedented tide of protests and demonstrations across the U.S.S.R. in which national grievances occupy a central place alongside economic unrest. From Alma Ata to Abkhazia, from Tallinn to Tbilisi, virtually no region of this vast and complex multinational society appears immune to the rising tide of national self-assertion. Whether in the form of anti-Russian demonstrations, as in Kazakhstan and Georgia, or in the emergence of new sociopolitical movements demanding greater economic and political autonomy, such as the Popular Fronts of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, or in more volatile outbursts of communal violence that have resulted in a tragic loss of lives and many thousands of refugees, as in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan-all pose a growing threat to Gorbachev's leadership and to the future of his reforms.
The rush of notable events set into motion by the uprising nearly two years ago of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank and Gaza is impressive. Two decades of near tranquility in Israel's occupied territories were shattered. The intifadeh provoked Jordan's King Hussein to relinquish his claims to the West Bank, which his grandfather had annexed in 1951. It led the Palestine Liberation Organization to declare Palestinian independence, to renounce terrorism and to accept Israel's right to exist, which in turn paved the way for the diplomatic dialogue between the United States and the PLO. Finally, in Israel, it led the Likud-Labor coalition to adopt an initiative for elections in the occupied territories for transitional self-rule to be followed by negotiations on their final status. Opponents on all sides rallied in an effort to cripple Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir's initiative. These events, and more, were crammed into a short period of time, creating a sense of unparalleled passion and fluidity, of fears among some and euphoria among others.
As in other Latin American countries that have returned to democracy this decade after bitter experiences under military regimes, Brazil's "New Republic" came to power with wide public support. The 1985 transfer of power from the military to the politicians went smoothly. The political and labor climate was relatively calm. The productive base of the economy was solid and business sectors wanted to give democracy a chance. Brazil had a foreign debt of over $100 billion, but huge trade surpluses made foreign creditors willing to refinance the debt. Under these circumstances the transition did not have to go badly. But it has.
In the winter of 1980-81 I analyzed the question of American involvement in southern Africa in the pages of this journal.1 I discussed a set of concepts-"constructive engagement in the region as a whole"-as a possible basis for pursuing American interests in southern Africa. It seemed to me at the time that this phrase was self-evidently consistent with mainstream U.S. internationalism and essential to the very meaning of activist diplomacy.
The two world wars are the mountain ranges that dominate the historical landscape of the twentieth century. We still live in their shadows, in America as well as in Europe. Only with these wars did European and American history begin to coincide. The revolutions of 1820, 1830, 1848 and the wars leading to the unification of Italy and Germany marked the nineteenth century in European history, while the major events in American history were the westward movement, the Civil War and mass immigration. These events had certain transatlantic connections, yet not decisive ones. But in the twentieth century the two world wars have been the main events in the history of Europe and America as well.
Early on August 22, 1939, the world was startled to learn from an announcement in the Soviet press that German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop would arrive in Moscow on the following day to sign a nonaggression pact. Equipped with instructions from Adolf Hitler authorizing him to sign both a treaty and a secret protocol that would enter into force as soon as signed by the two countries (rather than when ratified later), Ribbentrop left for Moscow that evening. At the airport, the German delegation was met by deputy commissar for foreign affairs, Vladimir P. Potemkin, who earlier that year had declined an invitation to meet with British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax.
"Mikhail Gorbachev's team of official intellectuals is engaged in a program of historical revisionism serving Moscow's interest", by means of exaggerating Khrushchev's 'reasonable flexibility' in averting nuclear war. The superpowers were not at the brink of nuclear war, and took great care not to be. The Soviet purpose in deploying the missiles was not to defend Castro, but to force a change in US perceptions of strategic superiority over the USSR, and thereby to de-stabilize US commitment to NATO and the FRG.