America and the World 1989

America and the World 1989
69, 1

Essays

Essay
Jeane J. Kirkpatrick

Gorbachev's reforms have ended communist totalitarianism at home and the dream of total power in the world. Soviet policy in Europe faces two alternatives (1) to seek to maintain the division of Europe (2) to sacrifice the GDR for "a unified but neutral Germany, with the expectation that a neutral Germany would mean the end of NATO and of the US military presence in Europe". This latter course would re-create Germany as a major power, and "establish a Europe with the Soviet Union as its strongest power". It would also deprive the USA of superpower status, and force an abdication of cherished influence in Europe and Asia. See also Jeane Kirkpatrick 'As Europe changes durably, some of the instability is welcome' IHT 30 Jan 1990 p4 (ex-LAT).

Essay
Michael Howard

"1989 has been an 'annus mirabilis': a truly wonderful year", yet some might fear that its instabilities could lead to the disasters that followed those of 1789. "The lesson of 1789 and 1848 is not that events repeat themselves in some Thucydidean fashion. It is that during long periods of peace, such as those which Europe enjoyed from 1763 to 1789, 1815 to 1848, and 1945 to 1989, economic and social development engenders a political dynamic of its own. If governments are not responsive to that force they will sooner or later be swept away. Paradoxically, the man who discerned and explained this process most clearly was Karl Marx himself -- a great European philosopher whose works appear to have been as little studied in the Soviet Union as they are in the United States... Gorbachev was thus no fortuitous 'deus ex machina'... Unless they imitate Gorbachev's courage in embracing the future, the Chinese leaders will be faced, sooner or later, with other Tienanmen Squares... Even to chronicle the events of 1989 leaves one breathless". In Europe, the pace and confidence of German moves towards re-unification swept all expectations aside. President Bush, despite unfortunate tendencies of his officials at the outset of his administration, and despite absurdly archaic cries for US 'leadership' from Congress and the media, displayed "prudence, caution, concern for allied susceptibilities and a thorough understanding of the issues... as appropriate to the new conditions in Europe as President Truman's rugged courage had been forty years earlier". Although the end of East-West ideological confrontation will reveal the vast dimensions of residual problems, notably the disparity of wealth between North and South, it may well bring an end to proxy wars and unwise interventions. On balance, it is unlikely that the events of 1989 will produce the same instabilities and catastrophes as followed those of 1789. Professor of naval and military history at Yale University, and president of the IISS.

Essay
Jim Hoagland

Throughout 1989, "both superpowers centered their most important diplomatic and political strategies on West Germany, at times in competition, at times in tacit consent to Bonn's new position of strength". Summarizes the year's events in terms of (1) Gorbachev's policies, which "demonstrated a deep understanding of the consequences of the decay of the East European bloc and the acceleration of the economic integration of the West" (2) Bush's detailed grasp of issues, and "evident caution and reflectiveness" (3) the challenges now facing Western and Eastern Europe -- German re-unification, EC assistance in rebuilding the Eastern democracies and their economies, redefining EC relationships with the superpowers, forging a European security structure.

Essay
Arnold L. Horelick

The USA and USSR share an interest in stability, in the survival of Gorbachev and his initiatives, and in the adoption of a gradual, multilateral approach to German re-unification. The US choice is between (1) using the CFE negotiating structure to "perpetuate and legitimize an Eastern alliance that is imploding" (2) forgoing any follow-up to CFE by letting events take their course. The former course is preferable, providing a security framework through which change in Europe can be managed.

Essay
Abraham Brumberg

Offers a portrait of the Solidarity movement during the 1980s, as an aid to understanding its role in the events of 1989. Reviews current uncertain progress in the dismantling of the central economy, and sees risks of political instability if the 'leap' into a market economy is too abrupt.

Essay
Robert A. Scalapino

Considers how the USA should (1) best encourage evolution towards democracy in Asia's socialist states, covering China after the Tienanmen Square demonstrations, North Korea's improving dialogue with South Korea, and Vietnam's withdrawal from Cambodia (2) resolve its trade policy differences with Japan, before issues become "thrust into the heat of the domestic political arena".

Essay
Georges A. Fauriol

The Bush administration's foreign policy towards Latin America lacks strategic vision.

Essay
Bruce W. Nelan

FW de Klerk's plan for South Africa is "one for the continuation of apartheid with a smiling face". His reforms affect the outwards symptoms of apartheid without touching on the essential issue of black political power. He is more likely to risk continued international sanctions than to "compromise on what he sees as nothing less than the survival of his Afrikaner volk".

Essay
Mark A. Heller

The parties to the Arab-Israeli dispute remain "stubbornly wedded to timeworn arguments about primordial conflicts", and look to the USA for progress in a peace process, despite an evident inclination on the part of the Bush administration to see a reduction in the importance of the region.

Essay
Shafiqul Islam

US hostility against Japan stems not from any specific arguments about the trade deficit, or direct investment, or burden-sharing, but from an national loss of self-confidence about economic competitiveness.

Essay
Gregory F. Treverton

US public expectations of a 'peace dividend' from the collapse of the socialist bloc are unrealistic. Structural properties of US defence policy-making, and the non-existence of any strategic vision not predicated on the monolithic Soviet threat, mean that "for the next several years the 'peace dividend' will be much smaller than enthusiasts hope, and earning it will require departures from customary congressional habits". Offers advice on a strategy for reducing US defence expenditure (1) avoid a return to the 'hollow army' by shifting towards reserve or 'round-out' units (2) cut US forces in Europe in the light of CFE results, not in advance of them (3) defer various high-price equipment programmes, while preserving R&D budgets (4) using arms control to cut what the USA "can safely do without".

Essay
McGeorge Bundy

General reflections on the promise of the 1990s, and the gap to be crossed from the dismantling of totalitarian states to the building of healthy and prosperous democracies.

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