A. Ross Johnson
The question addressed by the conference -- how can the United States support the development and consolidation of democratic polities and free-market economies in postcommunist Eastern Europe-is a matter of strategic importance. Communist power in, and Soviet domination over, Eastern Europe must not return. A modicum of stability is essential, both for Eastern Europe and for Europe as a whole. The European Community may not be able to "afford" new East European members in the near future. Neither, however, can it afford economic collapse, environmental catastrophe, political chaos, or ethnic conflict on its eastern borders. Relative success in Eastern Europe can have a positive impact on the development of the USSR -- or (more likely) its successor states. American involvement in this process is important, as part and parcel of the involvement of a nonisolationist America in the post-Cold WarEurope.
The context of this challenge should be kept in view. Eastern Europe has the dubious honor of attempting for the first time in history to recover from the political and economic shambles of communism. It lacks the concentrated shock of defeat and massive