Eastern Europe's Western Connection
J. F. BROWN
THE REALITIES of Soviet domination and of communist rule necessitate that Western policy toward Eastern Europe be conducted on two levels: the state and the societal. The same differentiation is necessary when one considers East European attitudes toward the West. Indeed, on this topic it is essential to recognize not only differentiations but also distinctions, subtleties of perception, and shades of meaning.
East European regimes have tended to view links with Western governments mainly in a tactical way: as means of economic support, sources of Western technology, instruments of legitimation vis-à-vis their populations, and sometimes, as Romania has most conspicuously done, as ways to expand their maneuverability in relations with Moscow. But no regime has ever sought a genuine rapprochement with the Western powers, not only because the Soviet Union would not permit it but also because it would be a threat to the very survival of the regime concerned.
For their part, many members of today's East European societies would like nothing better than a rapprochement with the West. In fact, they tend to see the West in idealized terms of liberty and prosperity, the antithesis of what they have experienced under communist rule. There are distinctions to be made among the attitudes of East European societies toward the West, however, mostly as a result of their past. The ruling and educated classes of Bohemia, Moravia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, and Croatia had an