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The consequences of the end of the cold war for international security
Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski
a a

Center for Strategic and International Studies , Washington, DC Published online: 02 May 2008.

To cite this article: Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski (1991) The consequences of the end of the cold war for international security, The Adelphi Papers, 32:265, 3-17, DOI: 10.1080/05679329108449071 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/05679329108449071

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The Consequences of the End of the Cold War for International Security
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DR ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI
The point of departure for a consideration of the consequences of the end of the Cold War must be a brief recapitulation of the repercussions of the Cold War itself for international security. Its principal consequences can be briefly summarized as having involved three elements: - first, the unprecedented polarization of world politics around two ideologically and geopolitically hostile superpowers - each supported by a cluster of dependent allies or reluctant satellites, respectively - and with both sides seeking geostrategic preponderance in Eurasia; - second, the tendency for regional military conflicts to escalate into superpower political contests, thus inflating the stakes involved in such regional conflicts, while paradoxically containing their explosive potential; - third, the pervasive danger - and public fear - that superpower contests might someday get out of control, precipitating a global nuclear disaster. The Cold War was thus viewed as the potential precursor, indeed, as the potential catalyst, of a 'hot war'. The end of the Cold War has obviously altered that situation. However, it is not only the end of the war itself, but also the way in which it ended that is germane to any serious assessment of the impact of the cessation of hostilities on international security. The Cold War ended in a lukewarm peace, in contrast to the 'cold peace' that usually follows a hot war. There was no act of capitulation, as in Compiegne in 1918 or in Rheims in 1945. Precisely because the Cold War did end peacefully, both the victors and the vanquished shared an interest in obscuring the fact that it did, in fact, end in a victory. Nonetheless, the Paris conference of November 1990, a scene of East-West reconciliation, was in effect the ratification of the geopolitical and ideological victory of the West. It follows, therefore, that the end of this conflict, particularly its onesided outcome, has drastically altered the three central security consequences of the Cold War:

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- first, polarization has given way to a condition of preponderance by a single power on the world scene, although it must be hastily added that this condition occurs in a setting of far greater diffusion of economic power and of political pluralism than one might expect in a hegemonic situation; - second, regional conflicts are now decoupled from the earlier linkage with superpower rivalry. Regional conflicts may now be globally less critical but, conversely, they may be freer to escalate to higher levels of violence; - third, public political attention is likely to shift to other aspects of international security - aspects perhaps better characterized as issues involving 'global well-being', such as poverty, underdevelopment and domestic instability. The above, however, merely describes the obvious external manifestations of what is undeniably a major change in the nature of international security. To grasp fully the meaning of that change and to comprehend its longer-range policy implications, one must understand that the Cold War's end marks this century's third grand transformation of the organizing structure and of the motivating spirit of global politics. The first two great transformations did not enhance international security. Will the third do so? The catalyst for the third transformation - as just noted - is the success of the West and, more specifically, of the United States, in the recently ended Cold War. Much, therefore, depends on the geostrategic implications for the future that are now drawn from the conclusion of the Cold War, especially by America and its principal partners in that prolonged engagement.1
The three grand transformations

The first transformation was generated by the collapse of Europe's balance of power and, thus, of Europe's decisive position in the world. That balance had been sustained by several Europe-centred, but globespanning empires. Dominant worldwide and conservative in spirit, the European system - in existence since 1815 - eventually collapsed because it was neither able to assimilate the rise of the national power of Germany, nor to contain the centrifugal forces of rising chauvinism. The first 'world' war was, in reality, the last European war fought by globally significant European powers. World War I gave rise to an abortive attempt to organize Europe and thus, indirectly, the international system as a whole, on the basis of a new principle: that of the supreme primacy of the nation-state, with nationalism fuelling political emotions. The result was a massive failure. The new European order was too precarious to survive for long. With the territorial imperative igniting interstate conflicts, and with weak nation-states dotting the map of the new Europe, it was only a question of time before a new eruption occurred. Germany was again

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the precipitator, although not entirely the root cause, of the resulting explosion. World War II, in reality the first truly global war, completed Europe's historical suicide. In the course of it, Europe ceased to be the effective centre of world politics and became instead the critical theatre of a global competition waged by two powerful extra-European states: Both of them realized that geostrategic control over Europe would be tantamount to eventual control over Eurasia, and control over Eurasia would yield global preponderance. Accordingly, throughout the resulting 'cold war', Europe was for each of them the central stake - and thus Europe, instead of being the subject, now became the object of a global contest. This century's second great transformation of world politics - like the first - also failed to enhance genuine international security. The 45-year-long conflict between the two superpowers entailed, first of all, enormous risks. With ideological hostility intensifying their arms race and with their arms possessing for the first time a lethal capacity on a globally devastating scale, their rivalry was enormously costly in economic terms and potentially devastating beyond comprehension. Ultimately, the United States was successful: first, in deterring the Soviet Union from gaining preponderance in Eurasia and, second, in discrediting its ideology and in exhausting it economically. Belated efforts by the Soviet leadership to set in motion a process of domestic renewal created openings for intensifying challenges to its control over vassal states. The crisis of power in the Kremlin and the sense of historical failure of communism eventually caused the Soviet empire to disintegrate. The Cold War thus ended without a hot war. In so doing, it generated fundamental changes in two critical dimensions of world affairs: the geostrategic and the philosophical. In Eurasia, Soviet power not only shrank back to its frontiers of 1940, but is now being challenged even within its own borders. Indeed, the future survival of the Soviet system itself is now in doubt. Moreover, a united Germany is now in NATO, non-communist East European governments are craving membership not only of the EC, but of NATO as well, and a politically independent China is making steady progress in its pragmatic economic modernization. Geostrategically, far from subjugating Eurasia, the Soviet Union is now on the defensive within it. Moreover, the philosophical tenor of our time is now dominated by Western concepts of democracy and the free market. This is not to say that such concepts are being successfully implemented in the postcommunist states, but it is to assert that they represent today's prevailing wisdom. The competing notions of Marxism, not to speak of its Leninist-Stalinist offshoot, once so intellectually dominant, are generally discredited. It follows that the end of the Cold War - and particularly its rather one-sided geostrategic and philosophical outcome - has direct consequences for this century's third grand transformation of world poli-

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tics. If the first transformation can be said to have been fuelled by nationalist aspirations within a Europe no longer capable of dominating the world, but still capable of disrupting it, and the second involved an ideologically intensified global contest between two nonEuropean superpowers, the structure and the spirit of the third transformation are being increasingly shaped by the political and philosophical influence of the successful Western coalition. In the course of the Cold War, that coalition acquired a comprehensive institutional character, embracing not only America and Western Europe, but increasingly Japan as well. Considerations of security, a shared interest in economic growth based on free world trade, a commitment to democratic policy-making and the impact of modern communications drove the coalition towards increasingly institutionalized co-operation. As a result, in its internal relations the successful coalition, increasingly came to manifest a pattern of conduct motivated by what might be broadly (and somewhat clumsily) described as functionally pragmatic transnationalism. Undoubtedly, important residues both of nationalism and of ideology continue to surface in the conduct of affairs even within the coalition {and much more so in the world at large). But these impulses tend to be constrained by pragmatic considerations focused on the maximization of collective security and on the promotion of an open international trading system. Moreover, for the average citizen, the imperatives of consumption are now more important than those of territory or doctrine. Neither the desire for complete national independence nor ideological self-righteousness is the dominant motivation shaping the coalition's public opinion. As a result, functional pragmatism, as well as transnational institution-building, generally tend to dominate policy-making within the democratic West. In the process, international politics - the interaction and struggle among nation-states - are being transformed into a more organic process of global politics. That process tends to blur the distinction between domestic and foreign priorities. It enhances the importance of internal economic and political well-being in determining the conduct and the relative importance of individual states on the world arena. With nuclear weapons inhibiting the recourse to war among the leading powers, global politics is becoming in some ways similar to American urban centres: a mixture of interdependence and inequality, with violence concentrated in the poorer segments of society. Today, on the global scale, war has become a luxury that only the poor nations can afford.
New threats to international security

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Traditionally, threats to international security have been defined in terms of state-to-state relations. This was especially the case in the age in which the nation-state was the principal vessel of decisive political action. However, in the emerging age of organic global politics it is just

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as likely that major threats could originate from within states, either through civil conflicts or because of the increased technological sophistication of terrorist acts. The character of the security challenges now facing the global community was dramatically defined by Jacques Delors, in his important address in March 1991 to the HSS: 'All around us, naked ambition, lust for power, national uprisings and underdevelopment are combining to create potentially dangerous situations, containing the seeds of destabilization and conflict, aggravated by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction'. That general description could be amplified by a long list of specific problems, some of them surfacing because of the end of the Cold War, some involving long-lasting regional conflicts, some being the legacies of imperialism, some likely to rise because of the emergence of new regional powers, some inherent in the inequality and poverty of the human condition - made worse by the population explosion - and all of them made potentially more lethal because of the inevitable continued spread of weapons of mass destruction. In these complex and dynamic circumstances, much depends on whether the pragmatic transnationalism of the Cold War's successful coalition will become not only the defining, but also the enduring substance of this century's third transformation of global politics. Much hinges on the way that four large structural dilemmas each of central relevance to international security and each also a consequence of the end of the Cold War are eventually resolved. The dilemmas are: - first, how will Europe eventually define itself as a truly European Europe on a supranational basis, probably deeper before becoming wider, or as a Europe of closely co-operating states, perhaps wider before deeper? Which is more likely to enhance global security and which should America favour? - two, how will the Soviet Union be transformed? Is its preservation in a reformed mode for the sake of'stability' desirable from the standpoint of international security, or is its progressive but fundamental transformation ultimately the safest path towards enhanced international security? - third, how will the Pacific region organize itself? Should the US remain decisively involved in the security arrangements of the region, or should Japan be encouraged to assume the pre-eminent role, consistent with its economic power? If Japan is to be so encouraged, how will this impact on regional security and, most notably, what is China's posture likely to be as a result? - the fourth structural dilemma centres on the Middle East. Can the United States, now so deeply absorbed in the Middle East's complex problems, afford not to promote energetically a framework of security and accommodation, or are the region's problems so intractable that the wiser course dictates a policy of cautious diplomacy? Which

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is preferable from the standpoint of international security and America's capacity to contribute? The answers to these questions will go a long way towards denning either a system that is capable of containing and mitigating the new threats to global security, or in yielding to a condition of intensifying global disorder. Each issue involves a series of critical and complex policy dilemmas. A positive development in the case of all or, at the minimum, in at least three of the four would represent a major contribution to the emergence of politically and economically stabilizing zones of international co-operation, thereby enhancing the scope of international security and reducing to a tolerable level the inevitable presence on the world scene of some degree of violence and conflict.
Defining Europe

Of special relevance here is the fact that the international landscape, specifically the distribution of global power, is being significantly altered by the acceleration in the processes of Europe's unification. The end of the division of Germany - clearly, the most significant geopolitical change produced by the end of the Cold War - has had the somewhat unexpected effect of actually spurring the West Europeans (save for the British) into adopting a more ambitious timetable, not only for economic integration, but also for the political, and eventually military, integration of their portion of the continent. Wisely, the Germans themselves took the lead in this acceleration, strongly supported by the French. Their hope is that by the end of the decade, Western Europe will be emerging on the global scene as an increasingly single-minded and purposeful player. However, difficult debates regarding Europe's internal organization and its external boundaries are likely to dominate Europe's outlook throughout much of this decade. Two major visions of Europe's future are currently colliding, and America will at some point have to make a clear choice between them. One vision was eloquently articulated by Jacques Delors in his previously mentioned address. He posed in it the central question: 'What destiny are we proposing to the people of Europe? What destiny and what ambition?' His answer was clear-cut. It should be an integrated Europe, 'a community based on the union of peoples and the association of nationstates pursuing common objectives and developing a European identity'. Such a Europe should, therefore, have its own defence policy, a policy that would represent 'the second pillar of the Atlantic Alliance' with the United States. The EC would thus be the political, as well as economic, framework for the expression of a European identity that is comprehensive and increasingly organic. The alternative vision was forcefully defined by Margaret Thatcher in a speech to the Heritage Foundation in Washington on 8 March 1991. Thatcher warned that: 'If a European superstate were to be

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forged, it would almost certainly develop interests and attitudes at variance with those of America. We would thereby move from a stable international order with the United States in the lead to a more dangerous world of new competing power blocs. This would be in no one's interest, least of all America's'. Accordingly, she expressed an explicit preference for 'a Europe of nation-states, a Europe that is open as soon as possible to participation of those European states currently outside of the European Community, notably the democratizing states of post-communist East Europe'. Inherent in these two competing visions are sensitive security issues. Two stand out: first, what is the scope of the West's security perimeter in Europe; second, what is the proper American role in European security? As Eastern Europe democratizes itself at first, in the more promising Polish-Czech-Hungarian triangle NATO's security perimeter is already beginning implicitly to include these countries. As that security perimeter shifts eastward, and as European economic integration moves forward, further dynamics in favour of political and military integration are likely to be generated. Europe will certainly need political cohesion and a joint security policy to deal with its potential ethnic or regional problems. It may even chosoe to adopt the European equivalent of the Monroe Doctrine in that regard, and, in this connection, the energetic response of the EC to the Yugoslav crisis represents an important and positive precedent. Such a development would be consistent with the American desire for a genuinely pluralistic and self-governing world. A Europe with a defined military and political identity would certainly continue to have an interest in a strategic alliance with the United States. That alliance would be the guarantee against any potential revival in the Soviet military threat and would serve as the basis for joint responses if joint interests are involved to out-of-area threats. For this reason it is historically unwise for America to oppose greater European military integration, especially through the linkage of the EC and the WEU. Economic unity cannot be insulated from eventual political and military unity. Official US insistence on preserving NATO as the central military decision-making body seems to indicate an American preference for a Europe that still remains a Europe of nation-states, contrary to American rhetoric about support for European unity. The troubling inconsistency between the American desire that Europe be more active, not only in safeguarding itself, but also in assuming out-of-area roles, and the American insistence that the EC refrain from becoming the mechanism for defining Europe's security policy has another negative aspect. It ignores the historically significant reality that a more united Europe would be also a Europe more capable of absorbing and assimilating Germany. That would make unlikely any potential German-Russian manoeuvres that, in turn, could revive old European insecurities. One cannot dismiss the

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possibility however remote today that in a fluid Europe and in a messy Soviet Union, both Berlin and Moscow could again someday be tempted. A more self-reliant and reliable Europe, in which America maintains only limited ground forces, but which it backs with its strategic deterrent, would also be less vulnerable to the negative spillover effects both social and political of the deepening Soviet crisis. The implosion of the Soviet Union is almost certain to continue. A longterm decomposition of the Soviet political and economic system is under way.
The transformation of the Soviet Union

The national crisis within the Soviet Union introduces a particularly emotional complication, making it all the more difficult to construct an all-union framework conducive to political compromise and congenial to rapid economic recovery. More likely is a protracted period of uncertainty, as the Soviet Union is transformed - both through evolution and periodic turbulence into something eventually quite different. During this period of change, the Soviet geopolitical relationship with Eastern Europe may be quite unstable, with fears and anxieties on both sides. The East Europeans fear both Soviet power and Soviet weakness. They know that not all Soviet leaders have become reconciled to the geopolitical loss of Eastern Europe. They are concerned that the continuing security vacuum in the region could again be filled by Soviet power. East Europeans follow carefully Soviet internal debates about Soviet policy towards the region, and they are not reassured by all they read. Basically, two lines of thought have emerged in Moscow regarding Eastern Europe. Some commentators have been urging a policy consistent with the 'new thinking' that is said to characterize Mikhail Gorbachev's foreign policy, viewing Eastern Europe, and especially Poland, 'as the door-step to the West. . . Moscow must avoid using force and seek compromises as it does in Washington, Bonn and Paris'.2 However, more frequently there have been charges that: 'Soviet policy in Eastern Europe is operating without a precise strategic concept, without a clear definition of aims', which is not only facilitating the spread of Western influence, but is even permitting the new East European leaders to engage in activities aimed at 'the USSR's socialist perspective and existence as an integral state'.3 These public debates mirror the more serious disagreements within the Soviet Union regarding relations with Eastern Europe. By and large, the Soviet Foreign Ministry reflected the more benign attitude towards changes in Eastern Europe. In contrast, a directive of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, issued in January 1991, urged the use of political and economic leverage ('energy exports to Eastern Europe must be viewed as an import-

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ant instrument of our strategy in the region') to restore some degree of Soviet influence. Even a cursory glance at a map suggests that the main thrust of any Soviet effort to redress the geopolitical situation is likely to be directed at Poland. From the Soviet point of view, the restoration of some degree of control over Poland would greatly reduce the momentum of the centrifugal forces now at work in Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. But it is not only the reapplication of Soviet power that worries the East Europeans: Soviet weakness is another source of concern. Existing trade patterns have already been unilaterally severed by the Soviets, with a very adverse impact on East European economies. The East Europeans fear that an internal catastrophe in the Soviet Union could precipitate massive migration to the West, on a scale perhaps of even as many as several million refugees. The fragile East European states could not handle such a situation. One must expect, therefore, considerable uncertainty as regards the Soviet relationship with Eastern Europe. This is essentially why the East European governments have been favouring a policy of some Western aid for the Soviet Union, but aid which also deliberately facilitates the restoration of disrupted trade flows between East Europe and the Soviet Union. This is also why, until some alternative emerges, NATO, with its American presence, has come to be viewed by the East Europeans as their primary source of security. For the East Europeans, the CSCE given its rule of unanimity, which places on the same level such entities as the Soviet Union and Monaco - could become an effective security system only when insecurity no longer exists. The foregoing underlines the shared stake both of the East and the West in the peaceful and stable transformation - and not just reform of the Soviet Union. It is in the collective interest of the West, and of international security more generally, that Western policy has as its strategic objective the progressive strengthening of the political and economic power of the various Soviet national republics, thereby generating a dynamic process that will eventually replicate the pluralism that already characterizes the West. Ultimately, the Soviet Union might thus evolve into a looser confederation, or a league of sovereign states, with associate status in specific security and economic matters for those Soviet republics that opt for complete independence. In a Soviet confederation, the existing Soviet Army, a huge multinational establishment based on compulsory military service, might gradually be transformed into a smaller, professional military formation, presumably subject to the confederal government. However, some of the republics have indicated that they might choose to maintain separate national conventional forces, perhaps of the US National Guard type.4 The confederal government would also be likely to exercise control over the existing Soviet strategic forces, probably staffed in the main by Russian nationals, but there would be an arrangement - perhaps as in NATO - for a republican role in the

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decision-making regarding the use of such forces. In this fashion, the enormous Soviet nuclear arsenal would eventually be decoupled from the single most powerful conventional army in the world, thereby somewhat mitigating the threat that Soviet military power still poses to the West. Clearly, any such prospect is still far off. Movement in that direction could be derailed by a sudden reversal in internal Soviet politics, including some belated attempt at centralized dictatorship. Moreover, even sustained movement is likely to be subject to periodic halts, some reversals, much friction and some turbulence. Nonetheless, the benign scenario outlined above - which can no longer be relegated to the realm of political science fiction - is already being discussed in the Soviet Union. It therefore reinforces the proposition that the vision of a transformed Soviet Union should serve as a strategic beacon for Western policy. And a politically united Europe, together with America, can assist more deliberately such a peaceful transformation than a Europe that itself remains susceptible to internal national rivalries. Relations in the Pacific The third structural challenge to global security in the post-Cold War era involves the Far East. Irrespective of what actually transpires in the foreseeable future in the Soviet Union, shared security concerns are now less likely to mitigate the intensifying American-Japanese economic rivalry. A more deliberate effort, therefore, will be needed to define the substance of a genuine partnership between America and Japan. Fortunately, on both sides of the Pacific there is a growing recognition of the emerging economic-financial interdependence and interpenetration of the two economies. In the meantime, the security question in that relationship will have to be addressed within a strategic perspective that is sensitive to broader regional dynamics. The Pacific region, although economically now the most vital sector of the global economy, lacks any viable security structure. That absence was not a major problem as long as the central security issue was the American-Soviet rivalry. However, in the near future, China, given its relatively successful economic transformation, is likely to emerge as a geopolitical power contender in the Pacific region. This alone is bound to have a major impact on the region, potentially prompting a significant shift in the Asian power balance away from US and/or Japanese preponderance. Indeed, it is quite likely that, within a decade or two, the security of the Far East will be as dramatically transformed by the emergence of a more powerful China as the security of Europe has been transformed by the fading power of the Soviet Union. If present trends continue, by the year 2010 China will join the United States, the EC and Japan as one of the world's four leading economic powers. It may even make its political and military weight in world affairs felt earlier - a prospect that has to be taken into account.

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In any case, a much more complex interplay, involving not only Japan and China, but other regional players too, is already in the process of gestation. A unified Korea, for example, could even be a nuclear power. Indonesia is likely to be more assertive in South-east Asia. India clearly is already a regional hegemon in South Asia, as well as a nuclear power. It is unclear whether in the years to come India might suffer from significant internal insecurity or whether it might seek to play a more assertive role in a wider Asian context. Moreover, the list of potential interstate as well as internal conflicts in Asia certainly far exceeds that of Europe. The United States is determined to remain a Pacific power, with its forces projected to the edges of the Asian mainland. Yet, at the same time, the United States desires Japan to assume a larger military role on the grounds that this behooves its standing as an economic giant and as an emerging global power. The longer-term danger arising from such pressures on Japan is that at some point either a serious clash between America and Japan over US geostrategic perspectives may develop, or that Japan, forced for the first time since World War II to define its own geopolitical priorities, will plunge into a security role that goes far beyond anything that the American side had actually desired. It is, therefore, far from clear that it is truly in America's interest to pressure Japan into assuming larger military responsibilities. The problem is likely to be compounded by increased Chinese resentment regarding American strategy. Chinese commentaries on the 'world's strategic pattern' make it clear that, in its view: 'Europe is no longer the focus of [the] world strategic pattern, while the strategic position of the Asia-Pacific region is rising'.5 This makes the Chinese even more concerned that the Asian region has not yet developed a regional security structure similar to that of Europe, one which could assimilate Japan in a manner akin to that of Germany in Europe. The answer to the region's longer-term security dilemmas is thus not likely to be derived from a more militarily powerful Japan nor from an America permanently perched on the edge of the Asian mainland. It certainly is not desirable to generate a dynamic and destabilizing interplay between a more militaristic Japan, an antagonistically assertive China, and a beleaguered Russia. Instead, in the wake of the Cold War, the West should exploit the opportunity to participate in shaping the new structure of Asian security which will gradually embrace the major powers and interested states, especially China. Perhaps two sets of negotiations will, at some point, be needed - one pertaining to North-east Asia and the other to South-east Asia. The first might focus particularly on the need to generate a four-power consensus on the reunification of Korea. The second might build on the agreements regarding Cambodia to create some standing consultative machinery for the resolution of territorial and/or political conflicts. In both cases, the point of departure for any initiative should be close consultations and co-ordination between America and Japan. An

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enduring alliance between the two - but neither a US military protectorate nor a regional Japanese military role - is the essential foundation for Asian security. Progress along these lines should permit the progressive pull-back of American forces from forward bases in the Philippines, Korea and eventually, perhaps, from Japan as well. This should be viewed not as a symptom of American isolationism, but as consistent with the gradual emergence on the world scene of new and wider-ranging security structures of regional self-reliance. Peace in the Middle East The fourth major consequence of the Cold War's end was the freedom of action that the United States enjoyed in conducting the war against Iraq. The Soviet Union had little real choice but to play the role of a benevolent - even if eventually also of an increasingly frustrated spectator. It was no longer America's contestant for regional influence. However, the military victory attained in that war has plunged America into a deep, probably protracted, political and military absorption in the Middle East's various crises. Regional power is now concentrated at two extremes: Iran is the only self-reliant military power in the Gulf, and Israel has no Arab military match. Thus, in the Gulf, the United States will have to be the principal source of security. Perhaps over time a new political relationship with Iran can be structured, but that certainly remains an uncertain prospect. In the meantime, the very weakness of the Gulf Arab states, their continued vital economic importance to the West, as well as the unresolved legacies of the militarily decisive, but politically inconclusive outcome of the war against Iraq dictate the necessity of a continued American military presence. At one point, it was argued that the successful destruction of Iraq by a Western-Arab coalition, which enjoyed Israel's benign self-restraint, would create the preconditions for movement towards a solution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. That prospect now seems more doubtful. Relieved of the potential threat from Iraq, the Israelis are more inclined to insist on their maximum objective: the permanent retention of the West Bank. The Arabs, reeling from the defeat of Iraq by a massive display of American power, are in no position either to make war or to settle with Israel largely on Israeli terms. Accordingly, the danger is of a gridlock, but one that runs the risk of absorbing American attention, diverting American resources and perhaps even stalemating American diplomacy. Even though the Middle East is now unambiguously a US sphere of influence, the paradoxical result of America's military victory over Iraq might be the reduction of its capacity to capitalize more broadly and constructively on the end of the Cold War to make a substantial contribution to international security writ large. Ultimately, the issue is that of American political will to sustain the needed peace process. The international community basically knows
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what the interrelated agenda of peace in the Middle East involves: the shaping of a viable security framework that also constrains the inflow of arms; the implementation of UN Resolutions 242 and 338 regarding the Israeli-Arab conflict, including some transitional political status for the Palestinian nation; and progress towards a regional partnership in economic development. An assertive American effort to shape such a genuine framework of political compromise and regional security in the Middle East would doubtless enjoy the support of the major countries in Europe and Asia. It would be seen as in keeping with progress towards genuinely enhanced international security.
Conclusion

To conclude, international security in the post-Cold War era is likely to depend on the degree to which: - Europe succeeds both in deepening its political and military unity (without too much delay), then in widening its scope; - the transformation of the existing Soviet Union into a loose and voluntary confederation is neither halted by a sudden throwback to central dictatorship nor produces violent explosions; - movement develops in the Far East towards a regional security accommodation that constructively engages Japan, China, the United States, perhaps the Soviet Union and some other pertinent states; - the United States, which has become the decisive security arbiter in the Middle East, energetically sets in motion a regional peace process. In regard to the above issues, the American role in the years to come will remain central. How Europe evolves will be influenced to some degree by US policies and presence. The way in which the Soviet Union copes will be affected by the strategic design that the successful Cold War coalition adopts. How the Far East organizes itself will be conditioned by the role that the United States insists on playing. And developments in the Middle East will depend very heavily on the degree to which Washington elects to play a passive or an active part. Indeed, the American role in helping to shape the answers will be critical simply because today's global politics include only one superpower, the United States. However, the special status afforded America as the world's only superpower is threatened by its domestic shortcomings. To be sure, it would be rash to underestimate the innate capacity of American society for rapid renovation. A burst of economic and technological renewal could well be sparked, thereby drastically reversing some of the downward trends in the country's economic indices experienced during the 1990s. Nonetheless, unless America pays more attention to its domestic weaknesses, a new global pecking order could begin to emerge early in the next century, in the event that the unifying Europe and/or an economically dynamic Japan were to assume large political

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and military responsibilities. Thus it follows that, henceforth, US policy will have to strike a more deliberate balance between the globe's need for a continuing American commitment, the desirability of some devolution of US regional security responsibilities and the imperatives of America's domestic renewal. This will require a more subtle American contribution to sustaining global security than was the case during the Cold War. More emphasis will have to be placed on co-operation with genuine partners, including shared decision-making regarding world security issues. It is also worth noting that American influence is, in fact, likely to be greater if the homeward redeployment of some of its forces precedes - and not follows - the host countries' demand for it. The emerging new global system thus is likely to be based neither on American hegemony nor yet be derived from genuine international harmony. Although America is today admittedly the world's only superpower, global conditions are too complex and America's domestic health too precarious to sustain a worldwide Pax Americana. Eventually, perhaps, a truly new world order, based on consensus, rule of law and peaceful adjudication of disputes, may become a reality. But that day is still far off. As of now, the phrase is a slogan in search of substantive meaning. Nor is isolationism - given the emergence of the global economy and the impact of modern communications - a practical option. Thus the real alternatives are either a world of intensifying disorder - with a divided Europe, a Soviet Union plunging into violent chaos, a Far East destabilized by new power shifts, and a Middle East of continued conflict cumulatively producing a catastrophic breakdown in global security - or an incipient global security structure, derived from widening and increasingly self-reliant regional co-operation, backed by selective and proportionate American commitments. Within such a global security structure, America - even with a diminished military presence abroad - will still remain the principal source of nuclear deterrence and the ultimate guarantor of the proposition that any disrupter of security will be faced by a dominant coalition, in all likelihood, still led by America. At the same time, Washington will be able to focus more on the imperatives of its domestic renewal, thereby buttressing its long-term capacity to sustain a policy of continued, but also more selective and proportionate, commitment to global security.

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Notes
1 The debate on this subject has been joined, and I have benefited from the arguments already developed by others, notably from the American vantage point in seminal statements by Samuel

P. Huntington and Paul Nitze respectively. See S. P. Huntington, 'America's changing strategic interests', Survival, vol. XXXIII, No. 1, Jan/Feb 1991, pp. 3-17; and P. Nitze, 'America:

CONSEQUENCES OF THE END OF THE COLD WAR


an Honest Broker', Foreign Affairs, Fall, 1990. 2 V. Razuvayev, 'The West Begins in Poland', New Times, 12-18 February 1991. 3 A. Kaznacheyev, 'USSR-East Europe: Hopes and Illusions', Sovetskaya Rossiya, 17 April 1991. 4 V. Semivolos, 'Should the Ukraine have its Own Army?', Novoye Vremya, no. 26, June 1991, discusses in detail the problematics of future Ukrainian armed forces, and reaches the conclusion that 'taking into consideration the future

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professionalization of the army and the renunciation of nuclear weapons and the corresponding maintenance, backup, and delivery systems, the numerical strength of the Army will drop to 200,000 300,000' from the approximately 700,000 Ukrainians who are currently serving in the Soviet Army. 5 Chen Xiaogong, 'The World's Strategic Pattern in the 1990s', International Strategic Studies, (Beijing), March 1991), pp. 8-9. Chen's periodization of change in world affairs is in some respects quite similar to mine.