U.S. Foreign Policy and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: Humanitarian Relief in Complex Emergencies

By Andrew S. Natsios | Go to book overview
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Complex Humanitarian Emergencies and the U.S. National Interest

In a speech at Georgetown University in August 1989, deputy secretary of state lawrence Eagleburger committed what seemed to some an unpardonable breach of foreign policy political correctness. He suggested the end of the cold war might not be an unmitigated blessing, that the conflict between East and West had given structure, predictability, and stability to the international system:

For all its risks and uncertainties, the cold war was characterized by a remarkably stable and predictable set of relations among the great powers. . . . We five, then, in a time of transition, one of risks and opportunities. Them is the prospect before us that the East bloc countries will at last join the family of democratic nations, and that the developing countries will enjoy the fruits of progress by embracing market-oriented reforms. But them is also the danger that change in the East will prove too destabilizing to be sustained, and that the nations of the Third World will be crushed by the weight of debt and decay, leading to instability on a broad scale. 1

Eagleburger was castigated by members of Congress and reviled in editorial columns as an unrepentant cold war dinosaur who could not cope with the Eden-like state into which the international system had evolved. In retrospect his comments

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