Courtesy Reuters

Nineteen eighty-four has been a quiet year in U.S.-West European relations—a year during which these Western countries had the luxury of organizing a large number of conferences for intellectuals and public figures to ask themselves whether George Orwell’s bleak warnings had actually been prophetic (if they had been, these colloquia could not have been held) and whether Soviet reality resembled Orwell’s vision of totalitarianism. What actually happened in the relations among these nations was less interesting than what did not happen.

The end of 1983 had been marked by the crisis over the deployments of American

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