tions opening the Holocaust memorial) that Romania had made progress toward the development of democracy and the introduction of a free market. Clinton was inclined to reward and to encourage these apparent liberal tendencies and eventually agreed to sign a new trade agreement with Romania reinstating the most-favored-nation treatment in Romanian-American trade it had lost in 1988 after Ceauṟescu's violations of human rights. Normal trade relations were restored in mid-October 1993.108
The collapse of the Ceauṟescu regime in December 1989 was sudden, precipitous, and, arguably, the most violent of all the anti-communist revolutions in the former Soviet bloc. The long-range consequences of the revolution of December 1989 are far from clear. Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic about future democratic development. The first is the extraordinary electoral victory of Emil Constantinescu, who defeated President Iliescu, and swept anti-communist candidates into office at all levels in Romania, in November 1996 elections. The impact of this change cannot yet be measured.
Second, Romania wants to draw closer to the democratic West; it wants to join the European Union and to become a member of NATO. The West can and will encourage a gradual evolution of democratic government in Romania. Furthermore, other former communist countries, in particular, Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, have made enormous progress toward democracy and can serve as a model for democratization in Romania. And the Romanian people themselves can, if they choose, push their country toward democracy. They can resist, as they have frequently done in recent years, the overbearing and intrusive behavior of would-be autocrats like Iliescu. And the more they become involved in the political system, the more difficult it will be to exclude them, especially if economic conditions improve and popular government thereby gains credibility with them.