Convergence and Conflict: Lessons for the West
WHAT CONCLUSIONS can be drawn from this review of Western attitudes, interests, and policies toward Eastern Europe? Does the region receive the attention it warrants? Have Western relations had any appreciable influence on developments in Eastern Europe? To what extent do the aims, strategies, and tactics of the principal Western nations converge or conflict? Is there a basis for greater convergence among the nations of Western Europe or those of the Atlantic alliance? How much policy coordination or harmonization should be actively sought? Is the West adequately prepared to cope with new crises in Eastern Europe? What are the possibilities and prospects for constructive change?
In recent years we have observed a spate of anniversaries that remind us of the importance of Eastern Europe to the West: the fortieth anniversary of war's ending and the conferences at Yalta and Potsdam, the thirtieth of near rebellion in Poland and outright rebellion in Hungary, the tenth of the Helsinki Final Act, and the fifth of Poland's Solidarity movement. As it was forty years ago, Eastern Europe remains the East's front line in the largest standoff of organized military power in history. Almost 600,000 Soviet ground