Interests and Policies in Eastern Europe: The View from Washington
THREE BASIC FACTORS have shaped U.S. policy toward Eastern Europe during the four decades since World War II: the critical position of Eastern Europe in the global superpower confrontation, including its direct relationship to the security and political orientation of Western Europe; the influence of organized ethnic groups representing immigrants and their descendants from Eastern Europe; and the idealistic pursuit of the universal desiderata of national selfdetermination and respect for human rights, it being especially painful to see those principles violated among peoples so akin to Americans. The first is by far the most important, but the second and third have often been decisive on specific issues within a broad line of policy. Although some authorities would add a fourth, the economic interests in trade and investment in Eastern Europe, the scale of these interests is comparatively small and their impact on policymaking only marginal.
Until the end of the nineteenth century, Eastern Europe was almost terra incognita for the United States. Geographically remote, it had contributed little to America's historical legacy, notwithstanding Gen