Courtesy Reuters

Three global transformations are well under way as we enter the 1990s. First, the reforms in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if successful, will end the Cold War and most East-West confrontation, and will allow substantial reductions in military arsenals. Second, the salience of security issues will decline sharply; economics will move much closer to the top of the global agenda. The international position of individual countries will derive increasingly from their economic prowess rather than their military capability. The relative power of the United States-and, even more, of the Soviet Union-will fall; Europe's-and, even more, Japan's-will rise. Third, the world economy will complete its evolution from the American-dominated regime of the first postwar generation to a state of U.S.-European-Japanese "tripolarity." An economically united Europe will be the world's largest market and largest trader. Japan is already the world's largest creditor and the leader in many key

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  • C. Fred Bergsten is Director of the Institute for International Economics, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs (1977-81) and Assistant for International Economic Affairs to the National Security Council (1969-71), and author of 18 books on a wide range of international economic issues. Copyright (c) 1990 by C. Fred Bergsten.
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