The decade of the 1990s began with a dramatically changed strategic landscape. Triggered by the Gorbachev reforms of glasnost and perestroika, communist systems throughout Eastern Europe collapsed and Marxist- Leninist ideology became irrelevant. Not only did the "wall" between East and West disappear but Germany was reunited. The Baltic states became independent, starting the process of unraveling the Soviet Union. By 1992, the face of Europe had changed and the Soviet Union had become history. While it is still unclear as to where all of these changes will lead, a new world order has emerged and with it a new security landscape.
Although danger still exists in unsettled regions, by the beginning of the 1990s there was a significant reduction in tension within Europe and between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, U.S. strategy and force posture were in the process of being redefined. Another result was that many Americans questioned the need for large ground forces in Europe. Some even questioned the need for an army in an increasingly peaceful world. 1 In the larger sense, U.S. national interests and national security shifted to the economic realm. Yet there is no assurance that chaos and repression will not occur in Europe, such as the conflict between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1992, or in parts of the former Soviet Union, such as the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Thus, while the 1990s brought important changes, it also created an air of uncertainty and recognition that Europe and the international order are in transition. In such circumstances, it is no wonder that some Americans look with nostalgia to the "good old days" of the Cold War, in which the threat was clear and the adversary well defined. 2