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Peaceful Engagement in Eastern Europe

Courtesy Reuters

THE United States has never had a realistic and effective foreign policy toward Eastern Europe. During World War II the official American position was that the disposition of Eastern European problems should await the peace settlement, but this was primarily a rationalization for a lack of policy. After the war, when the area became dominated by the Soviet Union (to some extent because of Western passivity), the American interest in Eastern Europe was overshadowed by the policy of containment. Containment was meant to halt further expansion of Communism, but by its nature it had only indirect bearing on areas already under Soviet domination. As a result, Soviet control of Eastern Europe was not seriously contested by the West during the period roughly from 1948 to 1953. The Eisenhower Administration then enunciated the policy of liberation. Subsequent events increasingly demonstrated the lack of realism and purpose behind this, and it soon became an

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