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MIT Press Back to the Future: Instability in Europe after the Cold War Author(s): John J. Mearsheimer Source: International Security, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Summer, 1990), pp. 5-56 Published by: MIT Press Stable URL: Accessed: 25-10-2015 16:48 UTC

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Back to the Future JohnJ.Mearsheimer Instabilityin Europe Afterthe Cold War

The profoundchanges now underwayin Europe have been widely viewed as harbingersof a new age of peace. With the Cold War over, it is said, the threatof war thathas hung over Europe formore than fourdecades is lifting. Swords can now be beaten into ploughshares; harmonycan reignamong the states and peoples of Europe. Central Europe, which long groaned under the massive forces of the two militaryblocs, can convertits militarybases into industrialparks, playgrounds,and condominiums. Scholars of security affairscan stop their dreary quarrels over militarydoctrine and balance assessments, and turn their attention to finding ways to prevent global warming and preserve the ozone layer. European leaders can contemplate how to spend peace dividends. So goes the common view. This articleassesses this optimisticview by exploringin detail the consequences for Europe of an end to the Cold War. Specifically,I examine the effectsof a scenario under which the Cold War comes to a complete end. The Soviet Union withdraws all of its forcesfromEastern Europe, leaving the states in that region fullyindependent. Voices are thereupon raised in the United States, Britain,and Germany,arguingthatAmericanand British militaryforcesin Germany have lost theirprincipalraisond'etre,and these forcesare withdrawnfromthe Continent.NATO and the Warsaw Pact then dissolve; they may persist on paper, but each ceases to functionas an alliance.1 As a result,the bipolar structurethat has characterizedEurope since This article emerged froma paper writtenfor a February 1990 conferenceat Ditchley Park, England, on the futureof Europe, organized by JamesCallaghan, Gerald Ford, ValeryGiscard d'Estaing, and Helmut Schmidt. An abridged version of this article appears in the Atlantic, August 1990. I am gratefulto RobertArt, Stacy Bergstrom,RichardBetts,Anne-Marie Burley, Dale Copeland, Michael Desch, Markus Fischer, Henk Goemans, Joseph Grieco, Ted Hopf, Craig Koerner,Andrew Kydd, Alicia Levine, JamesNolt, Roger Petersen,BarryPosen, Denny Roy, JackSnyder,Ashley Tellis, Marc Trachtenberg,Stephen Van Evera, Andrew Wallace, and Stephen Walt fortheirmost helpfulcomments. is Professor and ChairoftheDepartment JohnMearsheimer ofPoliticalScience,University ofChicago. 1. There is considerable support withinNATO's highercircles,includingthe Bush administration, formaintainingNATO beyond the Cold War. NATO leaders have not clearlyarticulated the concrete goals that NATO would serve in a post-Cold War Europe, but they appear to conceive the futureNATO as a means forensuringGerman security,therebyremovingpossible German motives foraggressive policies; and as a means to protectother NATO states against International Security,Summer 1990 (Vol. 15, No. 1) C 1990 by the Presidentand Fellows of Harvard College and of the Massachusetts Instituteof Technology.


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the end of World War II is replaced by a multipolarstructure.In essence, the Cold War we have known for almost half a centuryis over, and the postwar order in Europe is ended.2 How would such a fundamentalchange affectthe prospects forpeace in Europe?3Would it raise or lower the riskof war? I argue that the prospects formajor crises and war in Europe are likelyto increase markedlyif the Cold War ends and this scenario unfolds. The next decades in a Europe without the superpowers would probably not be as violentas the first45 years of this century,but would probablybe substantiallymore prone to violence than the past 45 years. This pessimisticconclusion restson the argumentthatthe distributionand characterof militarypower are the rootcauses of war and peace. Specifically, the absence of war in Europe since 1945 has been a consequence of three factors:the bipolar distributionof militarypower on the Continent;the rough militaryequalitybetween the two statescomprisingthe two poles in Europe,

German aggression. However, the Germans, who now provide the largestportionof the Alliance's standingforces,are likelyto resistsuch a role forNATO. A securitystructureof this sort assumes thatGermanycannot be trustedand thatNATO must be maintainedto keep it in line. A united Germany is not likely to accept forvery long a structurethat rests on this premise. Germans accepted NATO throughoutthe Cold War because it secured Germany against the Soviet threatthat developed in the wake of World War II. Withoutthat specificthreat,which now appears to be diminishingrapidly,Germanyis likelyto rejectthe continued maintenance of NATO as we know it. 2. I am not arguing that a complete end to the Cold War is inevitable;also quite likelyis an intermediateoutcome, under which the status quo is substantiallymodified, but the main outlinesof the currentorderremainin place. Specifically,the Soviet Union may withdrawmuch of its forcefromEastern Europe, but leave significantforcesbehind. If so, NATO forcelevels would probably shrink markedly,but NATO may continue to maintain significantforces in Germany.Britainand the United States would withdrawsome but not all of theirtroops from the Continent.If this outcome develops, the basic bipolar militarycompetitionthathas defined the map of Europe throughoutthe Cold War will continue. I leave this scenario unexamined, and instead explore what follows froma complete end to the Cold War in Europe because this latterscenario is the less examined of the two, and because the consequences, and therefore the desirability,ofcompletelyending the Cold War would stillremainan issue iftheintermediate outcome occurred. 3. The impact of such a change on human rightsin Eastern Europe will not be considered directlyin this article.Eastern Europeans have sufferedgreat hardship as a resultof the Soviet occupation. The Soviets have imposed oppressive political regimes on the region, denying EasternEuropeans basic freedoms.Soviet withdrawalfromEasternEurope will probablychange that situationforthe better,although the change is likelyto be more of a mixed blessing than most realize. First, it is not clear that communism will be promptlyreplaced in all Eastern European countries with political systems that place a high premium on protectingminority rightsand civilliberties.Second, the longstandingblood feuds among the nationalitiesin Eastern Europe are likelyto re-emergein a niultipolarEurope, regardlessof the existingpoliticalorder. If wars break out in Eastern Europe, human rightsare sure to suffer.

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the United States and the Soviet Union; and the factthat each superpower was armed with a large nuclear arsenal.4 Domestic factorsalso affectthe likelihood of war, and have helped cause the postwar peace. Most importantly,hyper-nationalismhelped cause the two world wars, and the decline of nationalismin Europe since 1945 has contributedto the peacefulness of the postwar world. However, factors of militarypower have been most importantin shaping past events, and will remain centralin the future. The departure of the superpowers fromCentral Europe would transform Europe froma bipolar to a multipolarsystem.5Germany,France, Britain, and perhaps Italywould assume major power status;the Soviet Union would decline fromsuperpower status but would remaina major European power, givingrise to a systemof fivemajor powers and a numberof lesser powers. The resultingsystemwould sufferthe problems common to multipolarsystems, and would thereforebe more prone to instability.6Power inequities could also appear; if so, stabilitywould be underminedfurther. The departure of the superpowers would also remove the large nuclear arsenals they now maintainin Central Europe. This would remove the pacifyingeffectthat these weapons have had on European politics. Four principal scenarios are possible. Under the firstscenario, Europe would become nuclear-free,thus eliminatinga centralpillar of order in the Cold War era. Under the second scenario, the European statesdo not expand theirarsenals to compensate for the departure of the superpowers' weapons. In a third scenario, nuclear proliferationtakes place, but is mismanaged; no steps are

4. It is commonplace to characterizethe polarity-bipolar or multipolar-of the international systemat large, not a specificregion. The focus in this article,however, is not on the global distributionof power, but on the distributionof power in Europe. Polarityargumentscan be used to assess the prospects forstabilityin a particularregion,provided the global and regional balances are distinguished fromone another and the analysis is focused on the structureof power in the relevantregion. 5. To qualifyas a pole in a global or regional system,a state must have a reasonable prospect of defendingitselfagainst the leading state in the systemby its own efforts.The United States and the Soviet Union have enjoyed clear militarysuperiorityover other European states, and all non-European states, throughoutthe Cold War; hence they have formedthe two poles of both the global and European systems.What is happening to change thisis thatboth the Soviet Union and the United States are moving forcesout of Central Europe, which makes it more difficultfor them to project power on the Continentand thus weakens theirinfluencethere; and reducing the size of those forces,leaving them less militarypower to project. Because of its proximityto Europe, the Soviet Union will remain a pole in the European systemas long as it retainssubstantialmilitaryforcesop its own territory. The United States can remaina pole in Europe only if it retainsthe capacityto project significantmilitarypower into Central Europe. 6. Stabilityis simplydefined as the absence of wars and major crises.

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taken to dampen the many dangers inherentin the proliferation process. All threeof these scenarios would raise serious risksof war. In the fourthand least dangerous scenario, nuclear weapons proliferatein Europe, but the process is well-managed by the currentnuclear powers. They take steps to deter preventivestrikeson emergingnuclear powers, to set boundaries on the proliferationprocess by extendingsecurityumbrellas over the neighbors of emerging nuclear powers, to help emergingnuclear powers build secure deterrentforces,and to discourage themfromdeploying counterforcesystemsthatthreatentheirneighbors'deterrents.This outcome probablyprovides the best hope formaintainingpeace in Europe. However, it would stillbe more dangerous than the world of 1945-90. Moreover,it is not likelythat proliferationwould be well-managed. Three counter-argumentsmightbe advanced against this pessimistic set of predictionsof Europe's future.The firstargumentholds that the peace will be preserved by the effectsof the liberal internationaleconomic order that has evolved since World War II. The second rests on the observation thatliberaldemocracies veryseldom fightwars against each other,and holds that the past spread of democracy in Europe has bolstered peace, and that the ongoing democratizationof Eastern Europe makes war still less likely. The thirdargumentmaintainsthatEuropeans have learned fromtheirdisastrous experiencesin this centurythatwar, whetherconventionalor nuclear, is so costlythat it is no longer a sensible option forstates. But the theories behind these argumentsare flawed, as I explain; hence theirpredictionof peace in a multipolarEurope is flawed as well. Three principal policy prescriptionsfollow fromthis analysis. First, the United States should encourage a process of limitednuclear proliferationin Europe. Specifically,Europe will be more stable ifGermanyacquires a secure nuclear deterrent,but proliferationdoes not go beyond that point. Second, the United States should not withdrawfullyfromEurope, even ifthe Soviet Union pulls its forcesout of EasternEurope. Third,the United States should take steps to forestallthe re-emergenceof hyper-nationalismin Europe. METHODOLOGY:






Predictionson the futurerisk of war and prescriptionsabout how best to maintainpeace should rest on general theoriesabout the causes of war and peace. This point is true forboth academics and policymakers.The latterare seldom self-consciousin their uses of theory.Nevertheless, policymakers'

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views on the futureof Europe are shaped by theirimplicitpreferenceforone theoryof internationalrelations over another. Our task, then, is to decide which theories best explain the past, and will most directlyapply to the future;and then to employ these theories to explore the consequences of probable scenarios. Specifically,we should firstsurveythe inventoryof internationalrelations theoriesthatbear on the problem. What theoriesbest explain the period of violence before the Cold War? What theoriesbest explain the peace of the past 45 years?Are thereothertheoriesthatexplain littleabout pre-Cold War Europe, or Cold War Europe, but are well-suitedforexplainingwhat is likely to occur in a Europe withouta Soviet and Americanmilitarypresence? Next, we should ask what these theories predict about the nature of internationalpolitics in a post-Cold War multipolarEurope. Will the causes of the postwar peace persist,will the causes of the two world wars return, or will othercauses arise? We can then assess whetherwe should expect the nextdecades to be more peaceful, or at least as peaceful, as the past 45 years, or whetherthe future is more likelyto resemble the first45 years of the century.We can also ask what policy prescriptionsthese theoriessuggest. The studyof internationalrelations,like the othersocial sciences, does not yet resemble the hard sciences. Our stock of theories is spotty and often poorly tested. The conditions required forthe operation of established theories are oftenpoorlyunderstood. Moreover,politicalphenomena are highly complex;hence precise politicalpredictionsare impossiblewithoutverypowerfultheoreticaltools, superior to those we now possess. As a result, all politicalforecastingis bound to include some error.Those who venture to predict,as I do here, should thereforeproceed with humility,take care not to claim unwarranted confidence, and admit that later hindsightwill undoubtedlyreveal surprisesand mistakes. Nevertheless, social science shouldofferpredictionson the occurrenceof momentousand fluidevents like those now unfoldingin Europe. Predictions can informpolicy discourse. They help even those who disagree to frame theirideas, by clarifyingpoints of disagreement. Moreover, predictionsof events soon to unfold provide the best tests of social science theories, by making clear what it was that given theories have predicted about those events. In short, the world can be used as a laboratoryto decide which theoriesbest explain internationalpolitics. In this articleI employ the body

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of theories that I find most persuasive to peer into the future. Time will reveal whether these theoriesin facthave much power to explain international politics. The next section offersan explanation for the peacefulness of the postWorld War II order. The section thatfollowsargues thatthe end of the Cold War is likelyto lead to a less stable Europe. Next comes an examinationof the theories underlyingclaims that a multipolarEurope is likely to be as peaceful,ifnot more peaceful,than Cold War Europe. The concludingsection suggests policy implicationsthat follow frommy analysis. Explainingthe"LongPeace" The past 45 years representthe longestperiod of peace in European history.7 During these years Europe saw no major war, and only two minorconflicts (the 1956 Soviet interventionin Hungary and the 1974 Greco-Turkishwar in Cyprus). Neither conflictthreatenedto widen to other countries. The early years of the Cold War (1945-63) were marked by a handful of major crises, although none brought Europe to the brink of war. Since 1963, however, therehave been no East-Westcrises in Europe. It has been difficult-ifnot impossible-for the last two decades to findserious national securityanalysts who have seen a real chance that the Soviet Union would attack Western Europe. The Cold War peace contrastssharplywith European politics during the first45 years of this century,which saw two world wars, a handfulof minor wars, and a number of crises that almost resulted in war. Some 50 million Europeans were killed in the two world wars; in contrast,probablyno more than 15,000 died in the two post-1945European conflicts.8Cold War Europe is farmore peaceful than early twentieth-century Europe. Both Europeans and Americans increasinglyassume that peace and calm are the natural order of things in Europe and that the first45 years of this century,not the most recent, were the aberration.This is understandable, 7. The term "long peace" was coined by JohnLewis Gaddis, "The Long Peace: Elements of Stabilityin the Postwar InternationalSystem,"International Security, Vol. 10, No. 4 (Spring 1986), pp. 99-142. 8. There were approximately10,000 battle deaths in the Russo-Hungarian War of OctoberNovember 1956, and some 1500-5000 battledeaths in the July-August1974 war in Cyprus. See Ruth Leger Sivard, WorldMilitaryand Social Expenditures 1989 (Washington,D.C.: World Priorities, 1989), p. 22; and Melvin Small a'nd J. David Singer, Resortto Arms:International and Civil Wars,1816-1980 (BeverlyHills, Calif.: Sage, 1982), pp. 93-94.

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since Europe has been freeofwar forso long thatan ever-growingproportion of the Westernpublic, born afterWorld War II, has no directexperiencewith great-powerwar. However, this optimisticview is incorrect. The European state systemhas been plagued with war since its inception. Duringmuch of the seventeenthand eighteenthcenturieswar was underway somewhereon the European Continent.9The nineteenthcenturyheld longer periods of peace, but also several major wars and crises. The firsthalfof that centurywitnessed the protractedand bloody Napoleonic Wars; later came The wars the CrimeanWar,and the Italian and Germanwars of unification.10 of 1914-45 continued this long historicalpattern.They representeda break fromthe events of previous centuriesonly in the enormous increase in their scale of destruction. This era of warfarecame to an abrupt end with the conclusion of World War II. A wholly new and remarkablypeaceful orderthen developed on the Continent. THE CAUSES




What caused the era of violence before1945? Why has the postwar era been so much more peaceful? The wars before1945 each had theirparticularand unique causes, but the distributionof power in Europe-its multipolarity and the imbalances of power that oftenoccurredamong the major states in that multipolarsystem-was the crucial permissive condition that allowed these particularcauses to operate. The peacefulness of the postwar era arose forthreeprincipalreasons: the bipolarityof the distributionof power on the Continent,the rough equality in militarypower between those two polar states, and the appearance of nuclear weapons, which vastly expanded the violence of war, making deterrencefarmore robust.11

9. For inventoriesof past wars, see JackS. Levy, WarIn theModernGreatPowerSystem,14951975 (Lexington:UniversityPress of Kentucky,1983); and Small and Singer,Resortto Arms. 10. Europe saw no major war from1815-1853 and from1871-1914,two periods almost as long as the 45 years of the Cold War. There is a crucialdistinction,however, between the Cold War and these earlierperiods. Relationsamong the greatpowers deterioratedmarkedlyin the closing years of the two earlier periods, leading in each case to a major war. On the other hand, the Cold War order has become increasinglystable with the passage of time and thereis now no serious threatof war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. Europe would surely remain at peace forthe foreseeable futureif the Cold War were to continue, a point that highlightsthe exceptionalstabilityof the present European order. 11. The relativeimportanceof these'three factorscannot be stated precisely,but all three had substantialimportance.

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These factorsare aspects of the European state system-of the character of militarypower and its distributionamong states-and not of the states themselves.Thus the keys to war and peace lie more in the structureof the internationalsystem than in the nature of the individual states. Domestic factors-most notablyhyper-nationalism-also helped cause the wars of the pre-1945era, and the domestic structuresof post-1945European states have been moreconducive to peace, but these domesticfactorswere less important than the characterand distributionof militarypower between states. Moreover, hyper-nationalismwas caused in large part by securitycompetition among the European states, which compelled European elites to mobilize publics to support national defense efforts;hence even this importantdomesticfactorwas a more remote consequence of the internationalsystem. Conflictis common among states because the internationalsystemcreates powerfulincentives for aggression.12The root cause of the problem is the anarchic nature of the internationalsystem. In anarchy there is no higher body or sovereign that protectsstates fromone another. Hence each state livingunder anarchyfaces the ever-presentpossibilitythatanotherstate will use forceto harm or conquer it. Offensivemilitaryaction is always a threat to all states in the system. Anarchyhas two principalconsequences. First,thereis littleroom fortrust among states because a statemay be unable to recoverifits trustis betrayed. Second, each state must guarantee its own survivalsince no otheractorwill provideits security.All otherstatesare potentialthreats,and no international institutionis capable of enforcingorder or punishing powerfulaggressors. States seek to survive under anarchy by maximizingtheirpower relative to other states, in order to maintain the means for self-defense.Relative power, not absolute levels of power, mattersmost to states. Thus, states seek opportunitiesto weaken potential adversaries and improve their relative power position. They sometimes see aggression as the best way to accumulate more power at the expense of rivals. This competitiveworld is peaceful when it is obvious that the costs and risksof going to war are high, and the benefitsof going to war are low. Two aspects of militarypower are at the heart of this incentive structure:the distributionof power between states, and the nature of the militarypower 12. The two classic works on this su1ject are Hans J. Morgenthau,PoliticsAmongNations:The StruggleforPowerand Peace, 5th ed. (New York: Knopf, 1973); and Kenneth N. Waltz, Theoryof International Politics(Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley,1979).

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available to them. The distributionof power between states tells us how well-positionedstates are to commit aggression, and whether other states are able to check their aggression. This distributionis a functionof the number of poles in the system, and their relative power. The nature of militarypower directlyaffectsthe costs, risks,and benefitsof going to war. If the militaryweaponry available guarantees that warfarewill be very destructive,statesare more likelyto be deterredby the cost of war.13 Ifavailable weaponry favorsthe defense over the offense,aggressorsare more likelyto be deterred by the futilityof aggression, and all states feel less need to commit aggression, since they enjoy greater securityto begin with, and thereforefeel less need to enhance theirsecurityby expansion.14 If available weaponry tends to equalize the relative power of states, aggressors are discouraged from going to war. If militaryweaponry makes it easier to estimatethe relativepower of states, unwarrantedoptimismis discouraged and wars of miscalculationare less likely. One can establish that peace in Europe during the Cold War has resulted frombipolarity,the approximatemilitarybalance between the superpowers, and the presence of large numbersof nuclear weapons on both sides in three ways: first,by showing that the general theorieson which it rests are valid; second, by demonstratingthatthese theoriescan explain the conflictsof the pre-1945era and the peace of the post-1945era; and third,by showing that competingtheoriescannot account forthe postwar peace. THE VIRTUES OF BIPOLARITY OVER MULTIPOLARITY. The two principal arrangementsofpower possible among statesare bipolarityand multipolarity.15 13. The prospects fordeterrencecan also be affectedby crisisstabilitycalculations. See JohnJ. Mearsheimer, "A StrategicMisstep: The MaritimeStrategyand Deterrence in Europe," InternationalSecurity, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Fall 1986), pp. 6-8. 14. See RobertJervis,"Cooperation Under the SecurityDilemma," WorldPolitics,Vol. 30, No. 2 (January1978), pp. 167-214; and Stephen Van Evera, "Causes of War" (unpub. PhD dissertation,Universityof Californiaat Berkeley,1984), chap. 3. As noted below, I believe that the distinctionbetween offensiveand defensive weapons and, more generally,the concept of an offense-defensebalance, is relevantat the nuclear level. However, I do not believe those ideas are relevantat the conventionallevel. See JohnJ. Mearsheimer,Conventional Deterrence (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1983), pp. 25-27. 15. Hegemony represents a thirdpossible distribution.Under a hegemony there is only one major power in the system. The rest are minorpowers that cannot challenge the major power, but must act in accordance with the dictatesof the major power. Every state would like to gain hegemony,because hegemony confersabundant security:no challengerposes a serious threat. Hegemony is rarelyachieved, however,because power tends to be somewhat evenlydistributed among states, because threatened states have strongincentivesto join togetherto thwartan aspiring hegemon, and because 'the costs of expansion usually outrun the benefits before domination is achieved, causing extension to become overextension. Hegemony has never

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A bipolar systemis more peaceful forthreemain reasons. First,the number of conflictdyads is fewer,leaving fewerpossibilitiesforwar. Second, deterrence is easier, because imbalances of power are fewer and more easily averted. Third, the prospects fordeterrenceare greaterbecause miscalculations of relativepower and of opponents' resolve are fewerand less likely.16 In a bipolar system two major powers dominate. The minorpowers find it difficultto remain unattached to one of the major powers, because the major powers generallydemand allegiance fromlesser states. (This is especially true in core geographical areas, less so in peripheralareas.) Furthermore,lesser stateshave littleopportunityto play the majorpowers offagainst each other,because when great powers are fewerin number,the systemis more rigid. As a result, lesser states are hard-pressed to preserve their autonomy. In a multipolarsystem,by contrast,threeor more major powers dominate. regardingalliance Minorpowers in such a systemhave considerableflexibility partnersand can opt to be freefloaters.The exactformofa multipolarsystem can vary markedly,depending on the number of major and minor powers in the system,and theirgeographical arrangement. A bipolar system has only one dyad across which war mightbreak out: only two major powers contend with one another, and the minor powers are not likely to be in a position to attack each other. A multipolarsystem has many potential conflictsituations.Major power dyads are more numerous, each posing the potential for conflict.Conflictcould also erupt across dyads involving major and minor powers. Dyads between minor powers could also lead to war. Therefore,ceterisparibus,war is more likely in a multipolarsystemthan a bipolar one. Wars in a multipolarworld involvingjust minorpowers or only one major power are not likely to be as devastating as a conflictbetween two major characterizedthe European state systemat any point since it arose in the seventeenthcentury, and thereis no prospectforhegemonyin the foreseeablefuture;hence hegemonyis not relevant to assessing the prospects forpeace in Europe. 16. The key works on bipolarityand multipolarityinclude Thomas J. Christensen and Jack Snyder, "Chain Gangs and Passed Bucks: PredictingAlliance Patternsin Multipolarity,"InternationalOrganization,Vol. 44, No. 2 (Spring 1990), pp. 137-168; Karl W. Deutsch and J.David Singer, "Multipolar Power Systems and InternationalStability,"WorldPolitics,Vol. 16, No. 3 (April 1964), pp. 390-406; Richard N. Rosecrance, "Bipolarity,Multipolarity,and the Future," JournalofConflictResolution,Vol. 10, No. 3 (September 1966), pp. 314-327; Kenneth N. Waltz, "The Stabilityof a Bipolar World," Daedalus, Vol. 93, No. 3 (Summer 1964), pp. 881-909; and Waltz, Theoryof International Politics,chap. 8. My conclusions about bipolarityare similar to Waltz's, although there are importantdifferencesin our explanations,as will be seen below.

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powers. However, local wars tend to widen and escalate. Hence there is always a chance that a small war will triggera general conflict. Deterrenceis more difficultin a multipolarworld because power imbalances are commonplace, and when power is unbalanced, the strongbecome hard to deter.17 Power imbalances can lead to conflictin two ways. First,two states can gang up to attack a third state. Second, a major power might simplybully a weaker power in a one-on-one encounter,using its superior strengthto coerce or defeat the minorstate.18 Balance of power dynamics can countersuch power imbalances, but only 19No statecan dominateanother,eitherby ganging iftheyoperate efficiently. up or by bullying,if the others coalesce firmlyagainst it, but problems of geography or coordination often hinder the formationof such coalitions.204 These hindrancesmay disappear in wartime,but are prevalentin peacetime, and can cause deterrencefailure,even where an efficient coalitionwill eventuallyformto defeat the aggressor on the battlefield. First,geography sometimes preventsbalancing states fromputtingmeaningfulpressure on a potential aggressor. For example, a major power may not be able to put effectivemilitarypressure on a state threateningto cause trouble,because bufferstates lie in between. In addition, balancing in a multipolarworld must also surmountdifficult coordinationproblems. Four phenomena make coordinationdifficult.First, alliances provide collectivegoods, hence allies face the formidabledilemmas of collectiveaction. Specifically,each state may tryto shiftalliance burdens onto the shoulders of its putative allies. Such "buck-passing" is a common featureof alliance politics.21 It is most common when the number of states 17. Although a balance of power is more likely to produce deterrencethan an imbalance of power, a balance of power between states does not guarantee thatdeterrencewill obtain. States sometimes find innovative militarystrategiesthat allow them to win on the battlefield,even withoutmarkedadvantage in the balance of raw militarycapabilities.Furthermore,the broader political forces that move a state towards war sometimes force leaders to pursue very risky militarystrategies,impelling states to challenge opponents of equal or even superior strength. See Mearsheimer,Conventional Deterrence, especially chap. 2. 18. This discussion of polarityassumes thatthe militarystrengthof the major powers is roughly equal. The consequences of power asymmetriesamong great powers is discussed below. 19. See Stephen M. Walt, The OriginsofAlliances(Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1987); and Waltz, TheoryofInternational Politics,pp. 123-128. 20. One exceptionbears mention:gangingup is stillpossible under multipolarity in the restricted case where thereare only threepowers in the system,and thus no allies available forthe victim state. 21. See Mancur Olson and Richard Zeckhauser, "An Economic Theory of Alliances," Reviewof Economicsand Statistics,Vol. 48, No. 3 (August 1966), pp. 266-279; and BarryR. Posen, The

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required to forman effectiveblockingcoalitionis large. Second, a state faced with two potentialadversariesmightconclude thata protractedwar between those adversaries would weaken both, even if one side triumphed;hence it may stay on the sidelines, hoping therebyto improve its power position relativeto each of the combatants.(This strategycan fail,however, if one of the warringstates quickly conquers the other and ends up more powerful, not less powerful,than before the war.) Third, some states may opt out of the balancing process because theybelieve that theywill not be targetedby the aggressor, failingto recognize that they face danger until afterthe aggressor has won some initial victories. Fourth, diplomacy is an uncertain process, and thus it can take time to build a defensivecoalition. A potential aggressormay conclude thatit can succeed at aggressionbeforethe coalition is completed, and furthermay be prompted to exploit the window of opportunitythat this situationpresentsbeforeit closes.22 Ifthese problemsof geographyand coordinationare severe, statescan lose faithin the balancing process. If so, theybecome more likelyto bandwagon with the aggressor, since solitary resistance is futile.23Thus factors that weaken the balancing process can generatesnowball effectsthatweaken the process stillfurther. The third major problem with multipolaritylies in its tendency to foster miscalculation of the resolve of opposing individual states, and of the strengthof opposing coalitions. War is more likely when a state underestimatesthe willingness of an opposing state to stand firmon issues of difference.It then may push the otherstate too far,expectingthe otherto concede, when in factthe opponent will choose to fight.Such miscalculationis more likelyunder multipolarity because the shape of the internationalorder tends to remain fluid, due to the tendencyof coalitions to shift.As a result,the international"rules of the road"-norms of state behavior,and agreed divisions of territorial rightsand other privileges-tend to change constantly.No sooner are the rules of a given adversarialrelationshipworked out, thanthatrelationshipmay become a friendship,a new adversarial relationshipmay emerge with a previous SourcesofMilitaryDoctrine:France,Britain,and GermanybetweentheWorldWars (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1984). 22. Domestic political considerations can also sometimes impede balancing behavior. For example, Britainand France were reluctantto ally with the Soviet Union in the 1930s because of theirdeep-seated antipathyto communism. 23. See Walt, OriginsofAlliances,pp. 28-32, 173-178.

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friendor neutral,and new rules must be established. Under these circumstances,one state may unwittinglypush anothertoo far,because ambiguities as to national rightsand obligationsleave a wider range of issues on which a statemay miscalculateanother's resolve. Norms of statebehavior can come to be broadly understood and accepted by all states, even in multipolarity, just as basic norms of diplomaticconduct became generallyaccepted by the European powers during the eighteenthcentury.Nevertheless, a well-defineddivision of rightsis generallymore difficult when the numberof states is large, and relationsamong them are in flux,as is the case with multipolarity. War is also more likely when states underestimatethe relativepower of an opposing coalition, either because they underestimatethe number of stateswho will oppose them,or because theyexaggeratethe numberof allies who will fighton theirown side.24Such errorsare more likelyin a system of many states, since states then must accuratelypredict the behavior of manystates,not just one, in orderto calculatethe balance of power between coalitions. A bipolar systemis superiorto a multipolarsystemon all of these dimensions. Bullyingand ganging up are unknown, since only two actorscompete. Hence the power asymmetriesproduced by bullyingand gangingup are also unknown. When balancing is required, it is achieved efficiently. States can balance by either internal means-military buildup-or external meansdiplomacy and alliances. Under multipolaritystates tend to balance by external means; under bipolaritythey are compelled to use internalmeans. Internalmeans are more fullyunder state control,hence are more efficient, and are more certain to produce real balance.25The problems that attend effortsto balance by diplomatic methods-geographic complications and coordinationdifficulties-arebypassed. Finally,miscalculationis less likely than in a multipolar world. States are less likely to miscalculate others' resolve,because the rules of the road withthe main opponent become settled over time, leading both parties to recognize the limitsbeyond which they cannot push the other. States also cannot miscalculate the membershipof the opposing coalition,since each side faces only one main enemy. Simplicity breeds certainty;certaintybolsterspeace. 24. This point is the centralthemeofWaltz, "The Stabilityofa BipolarWorld." Also see Geoffrey Blainey,TheCauses ofWar (New York: Free Press, 1973), chap. 3. 25. Noting the greaterefficiencyof internalover externalbalancing is Waltz, TheoryofInternationalPolitics,pp. 163, 168.

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There are no empirical studies that provide conclusive evidence of the effectsof bipolarityand multipolarity on the likelihoodof war. This undoubtedly reflectsthe difficultyof the task: fromits beginning until 1945, the European state system was multipolar,leaving this historybarren of comand bipolarity. parisons thatwould reveal the differing effectsofmultipolarity Earlierhistorydoes affordsome apparent examples of bipolar systems,including some that were warlike-Athens and Sparta, Rome and Carthagebut this historyis inconclusive, because it is sketchyand incomplete and thereforedoes not offerenough detail to validate the comparisons. Lacking a comprehensive survey of history,we cannot progress beyond offering examples pro and con, withoutknowing which set of examples best represents the universe of cases. As a result the case made here stops short of empiricaldemonstration,and rests chieflyon deduction. However, I believe that this deductive case provides a sound basis foraccepting the argument thatbipolarityis more peaceful than multipolarity; the deductivelogic seems compelling,and there is no obvious historicalevidence that cuts against it. I show below that the ideas developed here apply to events in twentieth centuryEurope, both beforeand after1945. THE VIRTUES OF EQUALITY OF POWER OVER INEQUALITY. Power can be more or less equally distributedamong the major powers of both bipolar and multipolarsystems.Both systemsare more peacefulwhen equalityis greatest among the poles. Power inequalities invite war by increasingthe potential for successful aggression; hence war is minimized when inequalities are least.26

How should the degree of equalityin the distributionof power in a system be assessed? Under bipolarity,the overall equality of the systemis simplya functionof the balance of power between the two poles-an equal balance creates an equal system, a skewed balance produces an unequal system. Under multipolaritythe focus is on the power balance between the two leading states in the system, but the power ratios across other potential conflictdyads also matter.The net system equality is an aggregate of the degree of equalityamong all of the poles. However, most generalwars under have arisen fromwars ofhegemonythathave pittedthe leading multipolarity state-an aspiring hegemon-against the othermajor powers in the system. Such wars are most probable when a leading state emerges, and can hope 26. This discussion does not encompass the situationwhere power asymmetriesare so great that one state emerges as a hegemon. See note 15.

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to defeateach of the others if it can isolate them. This patterncharacterized the wars that grew fromthe attemptsat hegemony by Charles V, Philip II, Louis XIV, Revolutionaryand Napoleonic France, WilhelmineGermany,and Nazi Germany.27Hence the ratiobetween the leader and its nearest competitor-in bipolarityor multipolarity-has more effecton the stabilityof the systemthan do otherratios, and is thereforethe key ratiothatdescribes the equalityof the system. Close equality in this ratiolowers the riskof war. The polarityof an internationalsystemand the degree of power equality of the system are related: bipolar systems tend more toward equality, because, as noted above, states are then compelled to balance by internal methods, and internalbalancing is more efficientthan externalbalancing. Specifically,the number-two state in a bipolar system can only hope to balance against the leader by mobilizingits own resourcesto reduce the gap between the two, since it has no potential major alliance partners. On the other hand, the second-strongeststate in a multipolarsystem can seek securitythroughalliances with others, and may be tempted to pass the buck to them, instead of building up its own strength.Externalbalancing of this sort is especially attractivebecause it is cheap and fast. However, such behavior leaves intact the power gap between the two leading states, and thusleaves in place the dangers thatsuch a power gap creates.Hence another source of stabilityunder bipolaritylies in the greatertendencyforits poles to be equal. THE VIRTUES OF NUCLEAR DETERRENCE. Deterrence is most likely to hold when the costs and risks of going to war are obviously great. The more horriblethe prospect of war, the less likelyit is to occur. Deterrenceis also most robustwhen conquest is most difficult. Aggressorsthen are more likely to be deterredby the futilityof expansion, and all states feel less compelled to expand to increase their security,making them easier to deter because theyare less compelled to commitaggression. 27. This point is the centraltheme of Ludwig Dehio, ThePrecariousBalance:FourCenturiesofthe EuropeanPowerStruggle,trans. Charles Fullman (New York: Knopf, 1962). Also see Randolph M. Siverson and Michael R. Tennefoss, "Power, Alliance, and the Escalation of International Conflict,1815-1965,"AmericanPoliticalScienceReview,Vol. 78, No. 4 (December 1984), pp. 10571069. The two lengthyperiods of peace in the nineteenthcentury(see note 10 above) were mainlycaused by the equal distributionof power among the major European states. Specifically, there was no aspiring hegemon in Europe for most of these two periods. France, the most powerfulstatein Europe at the beginningof the nineteenthcentury,soon declined to a position of rough equality with its chief competitors,while Germany only emerged as a potential hegemon in the early twentiethcentury.

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Nuclear weapons favorpeace on both counts. They are weapons of mass destruction,and would produce horrendousdevastationifused in any numbers. Moreover,ifboth sides' nucleararsenals are secure fromattack,creating a mutually assured retaliation capability (mutual assured destruction or MAD), nuclear weapons make conquest more difficult; internationalconflicts revertfromtests of capabilityand will to purer tests of will, won by the side willing to run greaterrisks and pay greatercosts. This gives defendersthe advantage, because defenders usually value their freedom more than aggressorsvalue new conquests. Thus nuclear weapons are a superb deterrent: they guarantee high costs, and are more useful for self-defensethan for aggression.28

In addition, nuclear weapons affectthe degree of equality in the system. Specifically,the situation created by MAD bolsterspeace by moving power relationsamong statestoward equality.States thatpossess nuclear deterrents can stand up to one another, even if theirnuclear arsenals vary greatlyin size, as long as both sides' nuclear arsenals are secure from attack. This situationof closer equality has the stabilizingeffectsnoted above. Finally,MAD also bolsterspeace by clarifyingthe relativepower of states and coalitions.29States can stillmiscalculateeach other's will, but miscalculations of relativecapabilityare less likely,since nuclear capabilitiesare not elastic to the specific size and characteristicsof forces; once an assured destructioncapabilityis achieved, furtherincrementsof nuclear power have littlestrategicimportance.Hence errorsin assessing these specificcharacteristicshave littleeffect.Errorsin predictingmembershipin war coalitionsalso have less effect,since unforeseenadditions or subtractionsfromsuch coalitions will not influencewar outcomes unless they produce a huge change in the nuclear balance enough to give one side meaningfulnuclear superiority. THE DANGERS OF HYPER-NATIONALISM. Nationalism is best defined as a set of political beliefs which holds that a nation-a body of individuals with characteristicsthat purportedlydistinguish them fromother individuals-

28. Works developing the argument that nuclear weapons are essentiallydefensive in nature are Shai Feldman, IsraeliNuclearDeterrence: A Strategy forthe1980s (New York: Columbia UniversityPress, 1982), pp. 45-49; Stephen Van Evera, 'Why Europe Matters,Why the ThirdWorld Doesn't: American Grand Strategyafterthe Cold War," JournalofStrategicStudies,Vol. 13, No. 2 (June 1990, forthcoming);and Vaq Evera, "Causes of War," chap. 13. 29. See Feldman, IsraeliNuclearDeterrence, pp. 50-52; and Van Evera, "Causes of War," pp. 697699.

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should have its own state.30Although nationalistsoftenbelieve that their nation is unique or special, this conclusion does not necessarilymean that theythinktheyare superiorto otherpeoples, merelythattheytake pride in theirown nation. However, this benevolent nationalism frequentlyturns into ugly hypernationalism-the belief that other nations or nation-statesare both inferior and threateningand must thereforebe dealt withharshly.In the past, hypernationalismamong European states has arisen largelybecause most European states are nation-states-states comprisedof one principalnation-and these nation-statesexist in an anarchic world, under constant threatfrom otherstates. In such a situationpeople who love theirown nation and state can develop an attitude of contemptand loathing toward the nations who inhabitopposing states. The problemis exacerbatedby the factthatpolitical elites oftenfeel compelled to portrayadversarynations in the most negative way so as to mobilize public support fornational securitypolicies. Malevolent nationalism is most likelyto develop under militarysystems thatrequirerelianceon mass armies; the statemay exploitnationalistappeals to mobilize its citizenryforthe sacrificesrequired to sustain large standing armies. On the otherhand, hyper-nationalism is least likelywhen states can rely on small professional armies, or on complex high-technologymilitary organizations that do not require vast manpower. For this reason nuclear weapons work to dampen nationalism,since they shiftthe basis of military power away frompure relianceon mass armies, and toward greaterreliance on smallerhigh-technologyorganizations. In sum, hyper-nationalismis the most importantdomestic cause of war, although it is still a second-orderforcein world politics. Furthermore,its causes lie largelyin the internationalsystem.




The historicalrecord shows a perfectcorrelationbetween bipolarity,equality of militarypower, and nuclear weapons, on the one hand, and the long peace, on the otherhand. When an equal bipolarityarose and nuclear weapons appeared, peace broke out. This correlationsuggests that the bipolarity 30. This definitionis drawn fromErnest Gellner,Nationsand Nationalism(Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1983), which is an excellent study of the origins of nationalism. Nevertheless, Gellnerpays littleattentionto how nationalismturnsinto a malevolentforcethatcontributesto instabilityin the internationalsystem.

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theory,the equality theory,and the nuclear theoryof the long peace are all valid. However, correlationalone does not prove causation. Other factors stillmay account forthe long peace. One way to rule out this possibilityis to enumerate what the three theories predict about both the pre-war and postwar eras, and then to ask ifthese predictionscame truein detail during those different periods. BEFORE THE COLD WAR. The dangers of multipolarityare highlightedby events before both world wars. The existence of many dyads of potential conflictprovided many possible ways to light the fuse to war in Europe. Diplomacy before World War I involved intense interactionsamong five major powers (Britain,France, Russia, Austria-Hungary,and Germany),and two minor powers (Serbia, and Belgium). At least six significantadversarial relationshipsemerged: Germanyversus Britain,France,Russia, and Belgium; and Austria-Hungaryversus Serbia and Russia. Before World War II five major powers (Britain,France, the Soviet Union, Germany,and Italy) and seven minor powers (Belgium, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Finland) interacted.These relationsproduced some thirteen important conflicts: Germany versus Britain, France, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Austria; Italy versus Britainand France; the Soviet Union versus Finland and Poland; Czechoslovakia versus Poland and Hungary; and Romania versus Hungary. This multiplicityof conflictsmade the outbreak of war inherentlymore likely. Moreover, many of the state interestsat issue in each of these conflictswere interconnected,raising the riskthat any single conflictthat turnedviolentwould triggera general war, as happened in both 1914 and 1939. Before World War II Germany was able to gang up with others against some minorstates, and to bully othersinto joining with it. In 1939 Germany bolstered its power by ganging up with Poland and Hungary to partition Czechoslovakia, and then ganged up with the Soviet Union against Poland. In 1938 Germanybullied the Czechs into surrenderingthe Sudetenland, and also bullied the Austrians into complete surrender.31By these successes Germany expanded its power, leaving it far strongerthan its immediate neighbors,and therebymaking deterrencemuch harder. German power could have been countered before both world wars had the otherEuropean powers balanced efficiently against Germany.If so, Ger31. Austria is not a pure case of bullying;therewas also considerable pro-Germansupport in Austria during the late 1930s.

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many might have been deterred, and war prevented on both occasions. However, the other powers twice failed to do so. Before 1914 the scope of this failure was less pronounced; France and Russia balanced forcefully against Germany,while only Britainfailedto commitfirmlyagainst Germany beforewar began.32 Before1939,failureto balance was farmorewidespread.33The Soviet Union failed to aid Czechoslovakia against Germanyin 1938, partlyforgeographic reasons: they shared no common border,leaving the Soviets with no direct access to Czech territory. France failedto give effectiveaid to the Czechs and Poles, partlybecause French militarydoctrinewas defensivelyoriented,but also because France had no direct access to Czech or Polish territory, and thereforecould not easily deploy forcesto bolsterCzech and Polish defenses. Britainand France each passed the buck by transferring the cost of deterringGermanyonto the other,therebyweakening theircombined effort.The Soviet Union, with the Molotov-RibbentropPact, sought to turnthe German armieswestward, hoping thattheywould become bogged down in a war of attritionsimilar to World War I on the Western Front. Some of the minor European powers, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, and the Scandinavian states, passed the buck to the major powers by standing on the sidelines during the crises of 1938 and 1939. Britainand the United States failedto recognize thattheywere threatened by Germany until late in the game-1939 for Britain,1940 for the United States-and they thereforefailed to take an early stand. When they finally recognized the danger posed by Germany and resolved to respond, they lacked appropriatemilitaryforces.Britaincould not pose a significant military threatto Germanyuntil afterit built up its own militaryforcesand coordinated itsplans and doctrinewithitsFrenchand Polish allies. In the meantime 32. Britain'sfailureto commititselfexplicitlyto a Continentalwar before the JulyCrisis was probablya mistake of great proportions.There is evidence that the German chancellor,Bethmann-Hollweg,triedto stop the slide towards war once it became apparent that Britainwould fightwith France and Russia against Germany,turninga Continentalwar into a world war. See Imanuel Geiss, ed., July1914: The Outbreakof theFirst WorldWar (New York: Norton, 1967), chap. 7. Had the Germans clearlyunderstood Britishintentionsbefore the crisis, they might have displayed much greatercaution in the early stages of the crisis,when it was stillpossible to avoid war. 33. See WilliamsonMurray,The Changein theEuropeanBalanceofPower,1938-1939: The Path to Ruin(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress, 1984); Posen, SourcesofMilitaryDoctrine;and Arnold Wolfers,Britainand FrancebetweenTwo WYars: Conflicting Strategies ofPeacefromVersaillesto World WarII (New York: Norton, 1968); and BarryR. Posen, "CompetingImages of the Soviet Union," WorldPolitics,Vol. 39, No. 4 (July1987), pp. 579-597.

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deterrencefailed. The United States did not launch a significantmilitary buildup until afterthe war broke out. Multipolarityalso created conditionsthatpermittedserious miscalculation before both world wars, which encouraged German aggression on both occasions. Before 1914, Germany was not certainof Britishopposition if it reached forcontinentalhegemony,and Germanycompletelyfailedto foresee thatthe United States would eventuallymove to containit. In 1939,Germany hoped that France and Britainwould stand aside as it conquered Poland, and again failed to foreseeeventual Americanentryinto the war. As a result Germanyexaggeratedits prospectsforsuccess. This undermineddeterrence by encouragingGerman adventurism. In sum, the events leading up to the world wars amply illustratethe risks that arise in a multipolarworld. Deterrencewas undermined in both cases by phenomena that are more common under a multipolarrather than a bipolar distributionof power.34 Deterrencewas also difficultbeforeboth wars because power was distributed asymmetricallyamong the major European powers. Specifically,Germany was markedlystrongerthan any of its immediate neighbors. In 1914 Germanyclearlyheld militarysuperiorityover all of its European rivals;only togetherwere theyable to defeatit, and then only with Americanhelp. 1939 is a more ambiguous case. The resultsof the war reveal thatthe Soviet Union had the capacity to stand up to Germany,but this was not apparent at the beginning of the war. Hitler was confidentthat Germanywould defeat the Soviet Union, and this confidencewas key to his decision to attackin 1941. Finally,the events leading up to both world wars also illustratethe risks that arise in a world of pure conventionaldeterrencein which weapons of mass destructionare absent. World War I broke out partlybecause all of the importantstates believed that the costs of war would be small, and that successfuloffensewas feasible.35BeforeWorld War II these beliefswere less The lesser powers thoughtwar would widespread, but had the same effect.36 34. The problems associated with multipolaritywere also common in Europe before 1900. Consider,forexample, thatinefficient balancingresultedin the collapse ofthe firstfourcoalitions arrayedagainst Napoleonic France. See Steven T. Ross, EuropeanDiplomaticHistory,1789-1815: FranceAgainstEurope(Garden City,N.Y.: Doubleday, 1969). 35. Stephen Van Evera, "The Cult of the Offensiveand the Origins of the FirstWorld War," International Security, Vol. 9, No. 1 (Summer 1984), pp. 58-107. Also see JackSnyder,TheIdeology oftheOffensive: MilitaryDecision-Making and theDisastersof1914 (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1984). 36. Mearsheimer,Conventional Deterrence, chaps. 3-4.

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be costly and conquest difficult,but the leaders of the strongeststateGermany-saw the prospect of cheap victory,and this beliefwas enough to destroy deterrenceand produce war. Had nuclear weapons existed, these beliefswould have been undercut,removinga key conditionthat permitted both wars. What was the role of internalGerman politicsin causing the world wars? So far I have focused on aspects of the internationalsystem surrounding Germany. This focus reflectsmy view that systemicfactorswere more important.But German domestic politicaland social developmentsalso played a significantrole, contributingto the aggressivecharacterof German foreign policy. Specifically,German societywas infectedwith a virulentnationalism between 1870 and 1945 thatlaid the basis forexpansionistforeignpolicies.37 However, two points should be borne in mind. First, German hypernationalismwas in partfueledby Germany'spronounced sense ofinsecurity, which reflectedGermany's vulnerablelocation at the centerof Europe, with relativelyopen borders on both sides. These geographicfactsmade German security problems especially acute; this situation gave German elites a uniquely strong motive to mobilize their public for war, which they did largelyby fanningnationalism.Thus even Germanhyper-nationalismcan be ascribed in part to the nature of the pre-1945internationalsystem. Second, the horrorof Germany'smurderousconduct duringWorld War II should be distinguished from the scope of the aggressiveness of German foreignpolicy.38Germany was indeed aggressive, but not unprecedentedly so. Other states have aspired to hegemonyin Europe, and sparked wars by theirefforts;Germanywas merelythe latest to attemptto convertdominant into hegemonic power. What was unique about Germany's conduct was its policy of mass murder toward many of the peoples of Europe. The causes of this murderous policy should not be conflatedwith the causes of the two 37. See Ludwig Dehio, Germanyand WorldPoliticsin theTwentieth trans.Dieter Pevsner Century, (New York: Norton, 1967); FritzFischer,WarofIllusions:GermanPoliciesfrom1911 to 1914, trans. Marian Jackson (New York: Norton, 1975); Paul M. Kennedy, The Rise of the Anglo-German Antagonism,1860-1914 (London: Allen and Unwin, 1980), chap. 18; Hans Kohn, The Mind of Germany:TheEducationofa Nation(New York: Harper Torchbook,1965), chaps. 7-12; and Louis L. Snyder,GermanNationalism:The Tragedyofa People(Harrisburg,Pa.: Telegraph Press, 1952). 38. There is a voluminous literatureon the German killingmachine in World War II. Among the best overviews of the subject are Ian Kershaw, TheNazi Dictatorship: Problems and Perspectives ofInterpretation, 2nd ed. (London: Arnold, 1989), chaps. 5, 8, 9; HenryL. Mason, "Imponderables of the Holocaust," WorldPolitics,Vol. 34, No. 1 (October 1981), pp. 90-113; and Mason, "Implementingthe Final Solution: The Ordinary Regulating of the Extraordinary,"WorldPolitics, Vol. 40, No. 4 (July1988), pp. 542-569.

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world wars. The policy of murder arose chieflyfromdomestic sources; the wars arose mainlyfromaspects of the distributionand characterof power in Europe. THE COLD WAR RECORD. The European state systemabruptlyshiftedfrom multipolarto bipolar after 1945. Three factorswere responsible: the nearcompletedestructionof German power, the growthof Soviet power, and the permanentAmerican commitmentto the European Continent. The weakening of the German Reich was accomplished by allied occupation and dismemberment.Silesia, Pomerania, East Prussia, and parts of West Prussia and Brandenburgwere given to other countries,the Sudetenland was returned to Czechoslovakia, and Austria was restoredto independence. The rest of the German Reich was divided into two countries, East and West Germany,which became enemies. This reductionof Germanpower, coupled withthe physicalpresence of Americanand Soviet militarymightin the heart of Europe, eliminatedthe threatof German aggression.39 Meanwhile the Soviet Union extended its power westward, becoming the dominantpower on the Continentand one of the two strongestpowers in the world. There is no reason to think that the Soviets would not have reached forcontinentalhegemony,as the Spanish, French,and Germans did earlier,had theybelieved theycould win a hegemonic war. But the Soviets, unlike their predecessors, made no attempt to gain hegemony by force, leaving Europe in peace. Bipolaritysupplies part of the reason. Bipolaritymade Europe a simpler place in which only one point of friction-theEast-Westconflict-had to be managed to avoid war. The two blocs encompassed most of Europe, leaving fewunprotectedweak statesforthe Soviets to conquer. As a resultthe Soviets have had few targetsto bully. They have also been unable to gang up on the few states that are unprotected,because theirWest-blocadversaryhas been theironly potentialganging-up partner. Bipolarityalso leftless room formiscalculationof both resolve and capability.During the firstfifteenyears of the Cold War, the rules of the road for the conflictwere not yet established, giving rise to several serious crises. However, over time each side gained a clear sense of how farit could push the other,and what the other would not tolerate.A set of rules came to be agreed upon: an understandingon the division of rightsin Austria, Berlin, 39. See Anton W. DePorte, EuropebetiveentheSuperpowers: The EnduringBalance,2nd ed. (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 1986).

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and elsewhere in Europe; a proscriptionon secretunilateralre-deployment of large nuclearforcesto areas contiguousto the opponent; mutual toleration of reconnaissance satellites; agreement on rules of peacetime engagement between naval forces; and so forth.The absence of serious crises during 1963-90 was due in part to the growthof such agreementson the rightsof both sides, and the rules of conduct. These could develop in large part because the systemwas bipolar in character.Bipolaritymeant that the same two statesremained adversaries fora long period, givingthem timeto learn how to manage theirconflictwithout war. By contrast,a multipolarworld of shiftingcoalitions would repeatedly have forced adversaries to re-learn how theiropponents definedinterests,reach new accords on the division of rights,and establish new rules of competitiveconduct. Bipolarityalso left less room to miscalculate the relative strengthof the opposing coalitions. The composition of possible war coalitions has been clear because only two blocs have existed, each led by an overwhelmingly dominant power that could discipline its members. Either side could have miscalculatedits relativemilitarystrength,but bipolarityremoved ambiguity about relativestrengthof adversarial coalitions arising fromdiplomaticuncertainties. The East-Westmilitarybalance in Europe has been roughlyequal throughout the Cold War, which has furtherbolstered stability.This approximate paritystrengtheneddeterrenceby ensuringthatno statewas temptedto use force to exploit a power advantage. Parityresulted partlyfrombipolarity: because the two blocs already encompassed all the states of Europe, both sides have balanced mainly by internalratherthan externalmeans. These more efficientmeans have produced a more nearlyequal balance. Nuclear weapons also played a key role in preventingwar in post-World War II Europe. Westernelites on both sides of the Atlanticquicklyrecognizedthatnuclear weapons were vastly destructiveand that theirwidespread use in Europe would cause unprecedented devastation. The famous CarteBlancheexercises conducted in Germanyin 1955 made it manifestlyclear thata nuclear war in Europe would involve fargreatercosts than anotherWorldWar II.40 Accordingly, Western policymakers rarely suggested that nuclear war could be "won," and instead emphasized the horrorsthatwould attend nuclear war. 40. See Hans Speier, GermanRearmament and AtomicWar:TheViewsofGermanMilitaryand Political Leaders(Evanston, Ill.: Row, Peterson, 1957), chap. 10.

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Moreover, they have understood that conventionalwar could well escalate to the nuclear level, and have in factbased NATO strategyon that reality. Soviet leaders also recognized the horrendous results that a nuclear war would produce.41Some Soviet militaryofficershave asserted that victoryis possible in nuclearwar, but even theyhave acknowledged thatsuch a victory would be Pyrrhic.Soviet civilians have generallyargued that victoryis impossible. Furthermore,the Soviets long maintained that it was not possible to fighta purely conventionalwar in Europe, and that conventionalvictory would only prompt the loser to engage in nuclear escalation.42 The Soviets later granted more possibilitythat a conventionalwar mightbe controlled, but stillrecognized that escalation is likely.43Under Gorbachev, Soviet militarythinkinghas placed even greateremphasis on the need to avoid nuclear war and devoted more attentionto the dangers of inadvertentnuclear war.44 Officialrhetoricaside, policymakerson both sides have also behaved very cautiouslyin the presence of nuclear weapons. There is not a single case of a leader brandishing nuclear weapons during a crisis, or behaving as if nuclearwar mightbe a viable option forsolvingimportantpoliticalproblems. On the contrary,policymakershave never gone beyond nuclear threatsof a very subtle sort, and have shown great caution when the possibility of nuclear confrontationhas emerged.45This cautious conduct has lowered the riskof war. Nuclear weapons also imposed an equality and clarityon the power relations between the superpowers. This equality and clarityrepresented a 41. See RobertL. Arnett,"Soviet AttitudesTowards Nuclear War: Do They Really Think They Can Win?" Journalof StrategicStudies,Vol. 2, No. 2 (September 1979), pp. 172-191; and David Holloway, The SovietUnionand theArmsRace (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 1983). 42. Thus Nikita Khrushchevexplained, "Now thatthe big countrieshave thermonuclearweapons at theirdisposal, theyare sure to resortto those weapons iftheybegin to lose a war fought with conventionalmeans. If it ever comes down to a question of whetheror not to face defeat, there is sure to be someone who will be in favorof pushing the button,and the missiles will The Last Testament, trans. and ed. by Remembers: begin to fly."Nikita Khrushchev,Khrushchev StrobeTalbott(New York: Bantam, 1976), pp. 603-604. 43. See James M. McConnell, "Shiftsin Soviet Views on the Proper Focus of MilitaryDevelopment," WorldPolitics,Vol. 37, No. 3 (April 1985), pp. 317-343. 44. See Stephen M. Meyer, "The Sources and Prospects of Gorbachev's New PoliticalThinking on Security,"International Security,Vol. 13, No. 2 (Fall 1988), pp. 134-138. Analysis and Empirical and CrisisBehavior:A Theoretical 45. See Hannes Adomeit, SovietRisk-taking and NuclearBalance(Wash(London: Allen and Unwin, 1982); RichardK. Betts,NuclearBlackmail ington,D.C.: Brookings,1987); and McGeorge Bundy,Dangerand Survival:ChoicesabouttheBomb in theFirstFiftyYears(New York: Random House, 1988). Also see JosephS. Nye, Jr.,"Nuclear Organization, Vol. 41, No. 3 (Summer Learning and U.S.-Soviet SecurityReg'imes,"International 1987), pp. 371-402.

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marked change fromthe earlier non-nuclearworld, in which sharp power inequalitiesand miscalculationsof relativepower were common.46 During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union have exhibited markedlyless hyper-nationalismthan did the European powers before 1945. AfterWorldWar II, nationalismdeclined sharplywithinEurope, partly because the occupation forces took active steps to dampen it,47and also because the European states, no longer providing theirown security,now lacked the incentive to purvey hyper-nationalismin order to bolster public support for national defense. More importantly,however, the locus of European politicsshiftedto the United States and the Soviet Union-two states that,each forits own reasons, had not exhibitednationalismof the virulent type found earlierin Europe. Nor has nationalismbecome virulentin either superpower during the Cold War. In part this reflectsthe greaterstabilityof the postwar order, arising from bipolarity,militaryequality, and nuclear weapons; with less expectation of war, neither superpower has faced the need to mobilize its population for war. It also reflectsa second effectof nuclear weapons: they have reduced the importance of mass armies for preservingsovereignty,thus diminishingthe importanceof maintaininga hyper-nationalizedpool of manpower. THE CAUSES




The claim that bipolarity,equality, and nuclear weapons have been largely responsible for the stabilityof the past 45 years is furtherstrengthenedby the absence of persuasive competingexplanations. Two of the most popular theories of peace-economic liberalismand peace-loving democracies-arenot relevaintto the issue at hand. Economic liberalism,which posits that a liberal economic order bolsters peace (discussed in more detail below), cannotexplainthe stabilityofpostwar Europe, because therehas been littleeconomic exchange between the Soviet Union and the West over the past 45 years. Although economic flows be-

46. Some expertsacknowledge that nuclear weapons had deterrentvalue in the early decades of the Cold War, but maintain that they had lost theirdeterrentvalue by,the mid-1960swhen the Soviets finallyacquired the capabilityto retaliatemassivelyagainst the Americanhomeland. I rejectthis argumentand have outlined my views in JohnJ. Mearsheimer,"Nuclear Weapons and Deterrencein Europe," International Security, Vol. 9, No. 3 (Winter1984/85),pp. 19-46. 47. See Paul M. Kennedy, "The Decline of NationalisticHistoryin the West, 1900-1970,"Journal of Contemporary History,Vol. 8, No. 1 (January1973), pp. 77-100; and E.H. Dance, Historythe Betrayer (London: Hutchinson, 1960).

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tween Easternand WesternEurope have been somewhat greater,in no sense has all of Europe been encompassed by a liberaleconomic order. The peace-loving democracies theory (also discussed below) holds that democracies do not go to war against other democracies,but concedes that democracies are not especially pacificwhen facingauthoritarianstates. This theory cannot account for post-World War II stabilitybecause the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe have not been democraticover the past 45 years. A thirdtheoryof peace, obsolescence ofwar,proposes thatmodern conventional war had become so deadly by the twentiethcenturythat it was no longerpossible to thinkofwar as a sensiblemeans to achieve nationalgoals.48 It took the two world wars to drive this point home, but by 1945 it was clear that large-scale conventional war had become irrationaland morallyunacceptable, like institutionssuch as slaveryand dueling. Thus, even without nuclear weapons, statesmen in the Cold War would not seriously have countenancedwar, which had become an anachronism.This theory,it should be emphasized, does not ascribe the absence of war to nuclear weapons, but instead points to the horrorsof modern conventionalwar. This argument probably provides the most persuasive alternativeexplanation for the stabilityof the Cold War, but it is not convincing on close inspection. The factthat World War II occurredcasts serious doubt on this theory;ifany war could have convincedEuropeans to forswearconventional war, it should have been World War I, with its vast casualties. There is no doubt that conventionalwar among modern states could devastate the participants. Nevertheless, this explanation misses one crucial differencebetween nuclear and conventionalwar, a differencethat explains why war is still a viable option for states. Proponents of this theory assume that all conventional wars are protractedand bloody wars of attrition,like World War I on the Western front.However, it is possible to score a quick and decisive victoryin a conventionalwar and avoid the devastationthatusually attends a protractedconventionalwar.49Conventional war can be won; nuclear war cannot be, since neitherside can escape devastationby the other, regardless of the outcome on the battlefield.Thus, the incentivesto avoid

48. This theoryis most clearlyarticulatedby JohnE. Mueller, RetreatfromDoomsday:The ObsolescenceofMajor War(New York: Basic Books, 1989). See also Carl Kaysen, "Is War Obsolete? A Review Essay," International Security, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Spring 1990), pp. 42-64. 49. See Mearsheimer,Conventional Deterrence, chaps. 1-2.

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war are far greaterin a nuclear than a conventionalworld, making nuclear deterrencemuch more robust than conventionaldeterrence.50 Predicting theFuture:The Balkanization ofEurope? What new order will emerge in Europe if the Soviets and Americans withdraw to theirhomelands and the Cold War orderdissolves? What characteristicswill it have? How dangerous will it be? It is certainthatbipolaritywill disappear, and multipolarity will emerge in the new European order. The other two dimensions of the new order-the distributionof power among the major states,and the distributionof nuclear weapons among them-are not pre-determined,and several possible arrangements could develop. The probable stabilityof these arrangements would vary markedly.This section examines the scope of the dangers that each arrangementwould present,and the likelihoodthat each will emerge. The distributionand deploymentpatternsof nuclear weapons in the new Europe is the least certain,and probablythe most important,elementof the new order. Accordingly,this section proceeds by exploringthe characterof the fourprincipalnuclearworlds thatmightdevelop: a denuclearizedEurope, continuationof the currentpatternsof nuclear ownership, and nuclear proliferationeitherwell- or ill-managed. The best new order would incorporatethe limited,managed proliferation of nuclear weapons. This would be more dangerous than the currentorder, but considerablysaferthan 1900-45. The worstorderwould be a non-nuclear Europe in which power inequities emerge between the principal poles of power. This orderwould be more dangerous than the currentworld, perhaps almost as dangerous as the world before 1945. Continuationof the current 50. German decision-makingin the early years of World War II underscores this point. See Mearsheimer,Conventional Deterrence, chap. 4. The Germans were well aware fromtheirexperience in World War I that conventional war among major powers could have devastating consequences. Nevertheless, they decided threetimes to launch major land offensives:Poland (1939); France (1940); and the Soviet Union (1941). In each case, the Germans believed thatthey could win a quick and decisive victoryand avoid a costlyprotractedwar like WorldWar I. Their calculations proved correctagainst Poland and France. They were wrong about the Soviets, who thwartedtheirblitzkriegand eventuallyplayed the centralrole in bringingdown the Third Reich. The Germans surely would have been deterredfromattackingthe Soviet Union if they had foreseen the consequences. However, the key point is that they saw some possibilityof winningan easy and relativelycheap victoryagainst the Red Army.That option is not available in a nuclear war.

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pattern, or mismanaged proliferation,would be worse than the world of today,but saferthan the pre-1945world. EUROPE




Some Europeans and Americans seek to eliminate nuclear weapons from Europe, and would replace the Cold War order with a wholly non-nuclear order. Constructingthis nuclear-freeEurope would require Britain,France and the Soviet Union to rid themselves of nuclear weapons. Proponents believe that a Europe withoutnuclear weapons would be the most peaceful possible arrangement;in fact,however, a nuclear-freeEurope would be the most dangerous among possible post-Cold War orders. The pacifyingeffects of nuclear weapons-the securitythey provide, the caution they generate, therough equalitytheyimpose, and the clarityofrelativepower theycreatewould be lost. Peace would then depend on the other dimensions of the new order-the numberof poles, and the distributionof power among them. However, the new order will certainlybe multipolar,and may be unequal; hence the systemmay be very prone to violence. The structureof power in Europe would look much like it did between the world wars, and it could well produce similarresults. The two most powerful states in post-Cold War Europe would probably be Germany and the Soviet Union. They would be physicallyseparated by a band of small, independent states in Eastern Europe. Not much would change in Western Europe, although the states in that area would have to be concerned about a possible German threaton theireastern flank. The potential for conflictin this system would be considerable. There would be many possible dyads across which war mightbreak out. Power imbalances would be commonplace as a result of the opportunities this systemwould present forbullyingand ganging up. There would be considerable opportunityfor miscalculation. The problem of containing German power would emerge once again, but the configurationof power in Europe would make it difficultto forman effectivecounterbalancingcoalition, for much the same reason that an effectivecounterbalancingcoalition failed to formin the 1930s. Eventually the problem of containingthe Soviet Union could also re-emerge.Finally,conflictsmay eruptin EasternEurope, providing the vortexthat could pull othersinto a wider confrontation. A reunifiedGermany would be surrounded by weaker states that would find it difficultto balance against German aggression. Without forces stationed in states adjacent to Germany,neitherthe Soviets nor the Americans

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would be in a good position to help them contain German power. Furthermore, those small states lyingbetween Germanyand the Soviet Union might fearthe Soviets as much as the Germans, and hence may not be disposed to cooperate with the Soviets to deter German aggression. This problemin fact arose in the 1930s, and 45 years of Soviet occupation in the interimhave done nothingto ease East European fearsof a Soviet militarypresence. Thus, scenarios in which Germany uses militaryforceagainst Poland, Czechoslovakia, or even Austria become possible. The Soviet Union also mighteventuallythreatenthe new statusquo. Soviet withdrawalfromEastern Europe does not mean that the Soviets will never feel compelled to returnto Eastern Europe. The historicalrecord provides abundant instances of Russian or Soviet involvementin Eastern Europe. Indeed, the Russian presence in Eastern Europe has surged and ebbed repeatedly over the past few centuries.51 Thus, Soviet withdrawalnow hardly guarantees a permanentexit. Conflictbetween Eastern European states is also likely to produce instabilityin a multipolarEurope. There has been no war among the states in thatregion during the Cold War because the Soviets have tightlycontrolled them. This point is illustratedby the serious tensionsthatnow existbetween Hungary and Romania over Romanian treatmentof the Hungarian minority in Transylvania,a region that previouslybelonged to Hungary and stillhas roughly2 million Hungarians living withinits borders. Were it not forthe Soviet presence in Eastern Europe, this conflictcould have broughtRomania and Hungary to war by now, and it may bringthem to war in the future.52 This will not be the only danger spot within Eastern Europe if the Soviet empire crumbles.5 Warfarein Eastern Europe would cause great sufferingto Eastern Europeans. It also mightwiden to include the major powers, because theywould 51. See, interalia: Ivo J. Lederer,ed., RussianForeignPolicy:Essaysin HistoricalPerspective (New Haven: Yale UniversityPress, 1962); Andrei Lobanov-Rostovsky,Russia and Europe,1825-1878 (Ann Arbor,Mich.: George Wahr Publishing,1954); and Marc Raeff,ImperialRussia, 1682-1825: The ComingofAge ofModernRussia (New York: Knopf, 1971), chap. 2. 52. To get a sense of the antipathybetween Hungaryand Romania over thisissue, see Witnesses to CulturalGenocide:First-HandReportson Romania'sMinorityPoliciesToday(New York: American TransylvanianFederation and the CommitteeforHuman Rightsin Romania, 1979). The March 1990 clashes between ethnic Hungarians and Romanians in TfrguMures (Romanian Transylvania) indicate the potentialforsavage violence thatis inherentin these ethnicconflicts. 53. See Zbigniew Brzezinski, "Post-CommunistNationalism," ForeignAffairs,Vol. 68, No. 5 (Winter-1989/1990),pp. 1-13; and Mark Kramer,"Beyond the BrezhnevDoctrine:A New Era in Vol. 14, No. 3 (Winter1989/90),pp. 51Soviet-EastEuropean Relations?" International Security, 54.

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be drawn to competeforinfluencein thatregion,especiallyifdisordercreated fluid politics that offeredopportunitiesfor wider influence,or threatened defeat for friendlystates. During the Cold War, both superpowers were drawn into Third World conflictsacross the globe, oftenin distant areas of littlestrategicimportance. Eastern Europe is directlyadjacent to both the Soviet Union and Germany, and has considerable economic and strategic importance;thus trouble in Eastern Europe could offereven greatertemptations to these powers than past conflictsin the Third World offeredthe superpowers. Furthermore,because the results of local conflictswill be largelydeterminedby the relative success of each partyin findingexternal allies, Eastern European states will have strongincentivesto drag the major Thus both push and pull considerations powers into theirlocal conflicts.54 would operate to enmesh outside powers in local Eastern European w%ars. Miscalculation is also likely to be a problem in a multipolarEurope. For example, the new order might well witness shiftingpatterns of conflict, leaving insufficient timeforadversariesto develop agreed divisions of rights and agreed rules of interaction,or constantlyforcingthem to re-establish new agreementsand rules as old antagonismsfade and new ones arise. It is not likelythatcircumstanceswould allow the developmentof a robust set of agreementsof the sortthathave stabilizedthe Cold War since 1963. Instead, Europe would resemble the pattern of the early Cold War, in which the absence of rules led to repeated crises. In addition, the multipolarcharacter of the systemis likelyto give rise to miscalculationregardingthe strengthof the opposing coalitions. It is difficultto predictthe precise balance of conventionalmilitarypower thatwould emergebetween the two largestpowers in post-Cold War Europe, especially since the futureof Soviet power is now hard to forecast.The Soviet Union might recover its strengthsoon afterwithdrawingfromCentral Europe; if so, Soviet power would overmatchGerman power. Or centrifugal national forces may pull the Soviet Union apart, leaving no remnantstate that is the equal of a united Germany.55What seems most likely is that 54. The new prime ministerof Hungary, JozsefAntall, has already spoken of the need for a "European solution" to the problem of Romania's treatmentof Hungarians in Transylvania. Celestine Bohlen, "Victorin Hungary Sees '45 as the Best of Times," New YorkTimes,April 10, 1990, p. A8. 55. This articlefocuses on how changes in the strengthof Soviet power and retractionof the Soviet empire would affectthe prospects for stabilityin Europe. However, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, a scenario not explored here in any detail, would raise dangers that would be differentfromand in addition to those discussed here.

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Germanyand the Soviet Union might emerge as powers of roughly equal strength.The firsttwo scenarios, with theirmarked inequalitybetween the two leading powers, would be especiallyworrisome,althoughthereis cause forconcerneven if Soviet and German power are balanced. Resurgenthyper-nationalismwill probablypose less danger than the problems described above, but some nationalism is likely to resurfacein the absence of the Cold War and may provide additional incentivesforwar. A non-nuclearEurope is likelyto be especially troubledby nationalism,since securityin such an order will largelybe provided by mass armies, which oftencannot be maintained withoutinfusingsocieties with hyper-nationalism. The problem is likelyto be most acute in Eastern Europe, but there is also potentialfortroublein Germany.The Germans have generallydone an admirablejob combattingnationalismover the past 45 years, and in rememberingthe dark side of theirpast. Nevertheless,worrisomeportentsare now visible; of greatestconcern, some prominentGermans have latelyadvised a returnto greaternationalismin historicaleducation.56Moreover,nationalism will be exacerbatedby the unresolved borderdisputes thatwill be uncovered by the retreatof American and Soviet power. Especially prominentis thatof the border between Germany and Poland, which some Germans would change in Germany's favor. However, it seems veryunlikelythatEurope will actuallybe denuclearized, despite the present strengthof anti-nuclearfeelingin Europe. For example, it is unlikelythat the French, in the absence of America's protectivecover and faced with a newly unified Germany,would get rid of their nuclear weapons. Also, the Soviets surelywould remainconcerned about balancing the Americannuclear deterrent,and will thereforeretaina deterrentof their own. THE CURRENT




A more plausible order for post-Cold War Europe is one in which Britain, Franceand the Soviet Union keep theirnuclearweapons, but no new nuclear powers emerge in Europe. This scenario sees a nuclear-freezone in Central Europe, but leaves nuclear weapons on the European flanks. 56. Aspects of this story are recounted in Richard J. Evans, In Hitler'sShadow: WestGerman Historiansand theAttemptto EscapefromtheNazi Past (New York: Pantheon, 1989). A study of past German effortsto mischaracterizehistoryis Holger H. Herwig, "Clio Deceived: Patriotic Security,Vol. 12, No. 2 (Fall Self-Censorshipin Germany Afterthe Great War," International 1987), pp. 5-44.

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This scenario, too, also seems unlikely,since the non-nuclear states will have substantialincentivesto acquire theirown nuclear weapons. Germany would probablynot need nuclear weapons to deter a conventionalattackby its neighbors,since neitherthe Frenchnor any of the EasternEuropean states would be capable of defeatinga reunifiedGermanyin a conventionalwar. The Soviet Union would be Germany's only legitimateconventionalthreat, but as long as the states of Eastern Europe remained independent, Soviet ground forceswould be blocked froma directattack.The Germans,however, mightnot be willing to rely on the Poles or the Czechs to provide a barrier and might instead see nuclear weapons as the best way to deter a Soviet conventionalattack into Central Europe. The Germans mightchoose to go nuclear to protectthemselves fromblackmail by other nuclear powers. Finally,given thatGermanywould have greatereconomic strengththan Britain or France, it mightthereforeseek nuclearweapons to raise its militarystatus to a level commensuratewith its economic status. The minor powers of Eastern Europe would have strong incentives to acquire nuclear weapons. Withoutnuclearweapons, these EasternEuropean states would be open to nuclear blackmailfromthe Soviet Union and, if it acquired nuclear weapons, fromGermany.No Eastern European state could match the conventional strengthof Germany or the Soviet Union, which gives these minorpowers a powerfulincentiveto acquire a nuclear deterrent, even if the major powers had none. In short,a continuationof the current patternof ownership withoutproliferationseems unlikely. How stable would this orderbe? The continuedpresence of nuclear weapons in Europe would have some pacifyingeffects.Nuclear weapons would induce greater caution in their owners, give the nuclear powers greater security,tend to equalize the relativepower of states thatpossess them,and reduce the risk of miscalculation.However, these benefitswould be limited if nuclear weapons did not proliferatebeyond theircurrentowners, forfour main reasons. First,the caution and the securitythatnuclear weapons impose would be missing fromthe vast center of Europe. The entireregion between France and the Soviet Union, extendingfromthe Arcticin the northto the Mediterranean in the south, and comprising some eighteen significantstates, would become a large zone therebymade "safe" forconventionalwar. Second, asymmetricalpower relations would be bound to develop, between nuclear and non-nuclear states and among non-nuclear states, raising the dangers that attend such asymmetries. Third, the risk of miscalculation

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would rise, reflectingthe multipolarcharacterof this systemand the absence of nuclear weapons from a large portion of it. A durable agreed political orderwould be hard to build because politicalcoalitionswould tend to shift over time,causing miscalculationsof resolve between adversaries. The relative strengthof potentialwar coalitions would be hard to calculate because coalitionstrengthwould depend heavily on the vagaries of diplomacy. Such uncertaintiesabout relative capabilitieswould be mitigatedin conflictsthat arose among nuclear powers: nuclear weapons tend to equalize power even among statesor coalitionsof widely disparateresources,and thus to diminish the importance of additions or defections from each coalition. However, uncertaintywould still be acute among the many states that would remain non-nuclear. Fourth, the conventionally-armedstates of Central Europe would depend for their securityon mass armies, giving them an incentive to infuse their societies with dangerous nationalism in order to maintain public support fornational defense efforts. NUCLEAR




The most likely scenario in the wake of the Cold War is furthernuclear proliferation in Europe. This outcome is laden with dangers, but also might provide the best hope formaintainingstabilityon the Continent.Its effects depend greatlyon how it is managed. Mismanaged proliferationcould produce disaster, while well-managed proliferationcould produce an order nearlyas stable as the currentorder. Unfortunately, however, any proliferation is likelyto be mismanaged. Four principaldangers could arise ifproliferation is not properlymanaged. First,the proliferationprocess itselfcould give the existingnuclear powers strongincentives to use forceto prevent theirnon-nuclearneighbors from gaining nuclear weapons, much as Israel used force to preempt Iraq from acquiringa nuclear capability. Second, even afterproliferationwas completed, a stable nuclear competition mightnot emerge between the new nuclear states. The lesser European powers mightlack the resources needed to make theirnuclear forcessurvivable; if the emergingnuclear forceswere vulnerable, this could create firststrikeincentivesand attendantcrisisinstability.Because theireconomies are farsmaller,they would not be able to develop arsenals as large as those of the major powers; arsenals of small absolute size mightthus be vulnerable. theirlack of territorial Furthermore, expanse deprivesthemofpossible basing modes, such as mobile missile basing, that would secure their deterrents.

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Several are landlocked, so they could not base nuclear weapons at sea, the most secure basing mode used by the superpowers. Moreover, their close proximityto one anotherdeprives them of warningtime,and thus of basing schemes thatexploitwarningto achieve invulnerability, such as by the quick launch of alert bombers. Finally, the emergingnuclear powers might also lack the resources required to develop secure command and control and adequate safetyprocedures forweapons management,thus raising the risk of accidental launch, or of terroristseizure and use of nuclear weapons. Third,the elitesand publics of the emergingnuclearEuropean statesmight not quickly develop doctrinesand attitudesthat reflecta grasp of the devastating consequences and basic unwinnabilityof nuclear war. There will probably be voices in post-Cold War Europe arguing that limited nuclear war is feasible, and that nuclear wars can be foughtand won. These claims mightbe taken seriouslyin states thathave not had much directexperience with the nuclear revolution. Fourth,widespread proliferationwould increase the numberof fingerson the nuclear trigger,which in turnwould increase the likelihoodthatnuclear weapons could be fireddue to accident,unauthorized use, terroristseizure, or irrationaldecision-making. If these problems are not resolved, proliferation would presentgrave dangers. However, the existingnuclear powers can take steps to reduce these dangers. They can help deter preventiveattack on emergingnuclear states by extending securityguarantees. They can provide technicalassistance to help newly nuclear-armedpowers to secure theirdeterrents.And they can help socialize emerging nuclear societies to understand the nature of the forces they are acquiring. Proliferationmanaged in this manner can help bolsterpeace. How broadly should nuclear weapons be permittedto spread? It would be best ifproliferation were extendedto Germanybut notbeyond.57Germany has a large economic base, and can thereforesustain a secure nuclear force. Moreover, Germany will feel insecure without nuclear weapons; and Germany's great conventional strengthgives it significantcapacity to disturb Europe if it feels insecure. Other states-especially in Eastern Europe-may also want nuclear weapons, but it would be best to preventfurtherproliferation.The reasons are, as noted above, thatthese states may be unable to 57. See David Garnham, "ExtendingDeterrencewith German Nuclear Weapons," International Security, Vol. 10, No. 1 (Summer 1985), pp. 96-110.

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secure theirnuclear deterrents,and the unlimitedspread of nuclearweapons raises the risk of terroristseizure or possession by states led by irrational elites. However, ifthe broader spread of nuclear weapons proves impossible to preventwithouttakingextremesteps, the existingnuclear powers should let the process happen, while doing theirbest to channel it in safe directions. However, even if proliferationwere well-managed, significantdangers would remain. Ifall the major powers in Europe possessed nuclearweapons, historysuggests thattheywould stillcompete forinfluenceamong the lesser powers and be drawn into lesser-powerconflicts.The superpowers, despite the securitythat their huge nuclear arsenals provide, have competed intenselyforinfluencein remote,strategically unimportantareas such as South Asia, Southeast Asia, and CentralAmerica. The European powers are likely to exhibitthe same competitiveconduct, especially in Eastern Europe, even if theypossess secure nuclear deterrents. The possibilityof ganging up would remain: several nuclear states could join against a solitarynuclear state, perhaps aggregatingenough strengthto overwhelm its deterrent.Nuclear states also mightbully theirnon-nuclear neighbors.This problem is mitigatedifunbounded proliferation takes place, leaving few non-nuclearstates subject to bullyingby the nuclear states, but such widespread proliferationraises risksof its own, as noted above. Well-managed proliferationwould reduce the danger that states might miscalculatethe relativestrengthof coalitions,since nuclear weapons clarify the relativepower of all states, and diminishthe importanceof unforeseen additions and defections from alliances. However, the risk remains that resolve will be miscalculated, because patterns of conflictare likely to be somewhat fluid in a multipolarEurope, thus precluding the establishment of well-definedspheres of rightsand rules of conduct. Unbounded proliferation,even if it is well-managed, will raise the risks that appear when there are many fingerson the nuclear trigger-accident, unauthorized or irrationaluse, or terroristseizure. In any case, it is not likely that proliferationwill be well-managed. The nuclear powers cannot easily work to manage proliferation while at the same time resistingit; there is a natural tension between the two goals. But they have several motives to resist. The established nuclear powers will be reluctantto give the new nuclear powers technicalhelp in building secure deterrents,because it runs against the grain of state behavior to transfermilitary power to others, and because of the fear that sensitive militarytechnology could be turned against the donor state if that technology were further

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transferredto its adversaries. The nuclear powers will also be reluctantto undermine the legitimacyof the 1968 Nuclear Non-ProliferationTreaty by allowing any signatoriesto acquire nuclear weapons, since this could open the floodgatesto the wider proliferationthattheyseek to avoid, even ifthey would otherwise favorvery limitedproliferation.For these reasons the nuclear powers are more likely to spend their energy tryingto thwart the process of proliferation,ratherthan managing it. Proliferationcan be more easily managed if it occurs during a period of relativeinternationalcalm. Proliferationthatoccurredduringa time of crisis would be especially dangerous, since states in conflictwith the emerging nuclear powers would then have a strongincentiveto interruptthe process by force. However, proliferationis likelynot to begin until the outbreak of crisis,because there will be significantdomestic opposition to proliferation withinthe potentialnuclear powers, as well as significantexternalresistance fromthe establishednuclear powers. Hence it may requirea crisisto motivate the potential nuclear powers to pay the domestic and internationalcosts of moving to build a nuclear force.Thus, proliferation is more likelyto happen under disadvantageous internationalconditionsthan in a period of calm. Finally,there are limitsto the abilityof the established nuclear powers to assist small emergingnuclearpowers to build secure deterrents.For example, small landlocked powers cannot be given access to sea-based deterrentsor land-mobile missile systems requiringvast expanses of land; these are geographicproblems thattechnologycannot erase. Thereforeeven ifthe existing nuclear powers move to manage the proliferationprocess early and wisely, thatprocess stillmay raise dangers that theycannot control. Alternative TheoriesthatPredictPeace Many students of European politics will reject my pessimistic analysis of post-Cold War Europe and instead argue that a multipolarEurope is likely to be at least as peaceful as the present order. Three specificscenarios fora peaceful futurehave been advanced. Each rests on a well-knowntheoryof internationalrelations. However, each of these theoriesis flawed and thus cannot serve as the basis for reliable predictions of a peaceful order in a multipolarEurope; hence the hopefulscenariostheysupportlack plausibility. Under the firstoptimistic scenario, even a non-nuclear Europe would remain peaceful because Europeans recognize that even a conventionalwar

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would be horrific.Sobered by history,national leaders will take greatcare to avoid war. This scenario rests on the "obsolescence of war" theory. Although modern conventionalwar can certainlybe verycostly,thereare several flaws in this argument.There is no systematicevidence demonstrating that Europeans believe war is obsolete. However, even if it were widely believed in Europe that war is no longer thinkable,attitudescould change. Public opinion on national securityissues is notoriouslyfickleand responsive to elite manipulation and world events. Moreover, only one countryneed decide war is thinkableto make war possible again. Finally,it is possible that a conventionalwar could be foughtand won withoutsufferinggrave losses, and elites who saw this possibilitycould believe war is a viable option. Under the second optimisticscenario, the existingEuropean Community (EC) grows strongerwith time, a development heralded by the Single European Act, designed to create a unifiedWesternEuropean marketby 1992. A strongEC then ensures that this economic order remains open and prosperous, and the open and prosperous characterof the European economy keeps the states of WesternEurope cooperatingwith each other.In thisview, the present EC structuregrows stronger,but not larger. Therefore,while conflictmightemergein EasternEurope, the threatofan aggressiveGermany would be removed by enmeshing the newly unifiedGerman state deeply in the EC. The theoryunderpinningthis scenario is "economic liberalism." A variantof this second scenario posits thatthe EC will spread to include EasternEurope and possibly the Soviet Union, bringingprosperityand peace to these regions as well.58Some also maintainthat the EC is likelyto be so successfulin the decade ahead that it will develop into a state apparatus: a unified Western European super-statewould emerge and Germany would be subsumed in it. At some futurepoint, the remainderof Europe would be incorporatedinto that super-state. Either way, suggest the proponents of this second scenario and its variants,peace will be bolstered. Under the third scenario, war is avoided because many European states have become democratic since the early twentiethcentury,and liberal democraciessimplydo not fightagainst each other.At a minimum,the presence of liberal democracies in Western Europe renders that half of Europe free fromarmed conflict.At a maximum,as democracyspreads to EasternEurope and the Soviet Union, it bolsters peace among these states, and between 58. JackSnyder, "AvertingAnarchy in the New Europe," International Security,Vol. 14, No. 4 (Spring 1990), pp. 5-41.

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these states and WesternEurope. This scenario is based on the theorythat can be called "peace-loving democracies." ECONOMIC


Economic liberalismrejectsthe notion that the prospects for peace are tightlylinked to calculations about militarypower, and posits instead thatstabilityis mainlya functionofinternationaleconomic considerations.It assumes thatmodern states are primarilymotivatedby the desire to achieve prosperity,and that national leaders place the material welfare of their publics above all other considerations,including security. This is especially true of liberal democracies,where policymakersare under special pressure to ensure the economic well-being of their populations.59 Thus, the key to achieving peace is establishmentof an internationaleconomic systemthat fostersprosperityforall states. The taprootof stability,accordingto this theory,is the creationand maintenance of a liberal economic order that allows free economic exchange between states. Such an orderworks to dampen conflictand enhance political cooperationin threeways.60 First,it makes states more prosperous; this bolsters peace because prosperous states are more economicallysatisfied,and satisfiedstates are more THE LOGIC


59. This point about liberal democracies highlightsthe fact that economic liberalismand the theoryof peace-loving democracies are oftenlinked in the writingsof internationalrelations scholars. The basis of the linkage is what each theoryhas to say about peoples' motives. The claim thatindividuals mainly desire materialprosperity,centralto economic liberalism,meshes nicely with the belief that the citizenryare a powerfulforceagainst war, which, as discussed below, is centralto the theoryof peace-loving democracies. 60. The threeexplanationsdiscussed here reston threeofthe mostprominenttheoriesadvanced in the internationalpoliticaleconomy (IPE) literature.These threeare usually treatedas distinct theoriesand are given various labels. However, theyshare importantcommon elements. Hence, for purposes of parsimony, I treat them as three strands of one general theory: economic liberalism. A caveat is in order. The IPE literatureoften fails to state its theories in a clear fashion,makingthemdifficult to evaluate. Thus, I have construedthese theoriesfromsometimes opaque writingsthat might be open to contraryinterpretations.My descriptionof economic liberalismis drawn from the following works, which are among the best of the IPE genre: Richard N. Cooper, "Economic Interdependence and Foreign Policies in the Seventies," World Politics,Vol. 24, No. 2 (January1972), pp. 158-181; ErnstB. Haas, "Technology,Pluralism,and the New Europe," in Joseph S. Nye, Jr.,ed., International Regionalism(Boston: Little,Brown, 1968), pp. 149-176; Robert0. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Jr.,Powerand Interdependence: World Politicsin Transition (Boston: Little,Brown, 1977); Robert0. Keohane, AfterHegemony: Cooperation and Discordin the WorldPoliticalEconomy(Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress, 1984); David Mitrany,A WorkingPeace System(Chicago: Quadrangle Press, 1966); Edward L. Morse, "The Transformationof Foreign Policies: Modernization, Interdependence, and Externalization," WorldPolitics,Vol. 22, No. 3 (April 1970), pp. 371-392; and Richard N. Rosecrance, The Rise of theTradingState:Commerce and Conquestin theModernWorld(New York: Basic Books, 1986).

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peaceful. Many wars are waged to gain or preserve wealth, but states have less motiveforsuch wars if they are already wealthy.Wealthysocieties also stand to lose more if theirsocieties are laid waste by war. For both reasons theyavoid war. Moreover,the prosperityspawned by economic liberalismfeeds itself,by promotinginternationalinstitutionsthat fostergreaterliberalism,which in turn promotes still greaterprosperity.To functionsmoothly,a liberal economic order requires internationalregimes or institutions,such as the EC, the General Agreementon Tariffsand Trade (GATT), and the International MonetaryFund (IMF). These institutionsperformtwo limitedbut important functions.First,theyhelp statesto verifythatpartnerskeep theircooperative commitments.Second, they provide resources to governmentsexperiencing short-termproblems arising from their exposure to internationalmarkets, and by doing so they allow states to eschew beggar-thy-neighbor policies thatmightotherwiseunderminethe existingeconomic order. Once in place, these institutionsand regimes bolster economic cooperation, hence bolster prosperity.They also bolster themselves: once in existence they cause the expansion of theirown size and influence,by provingtheirworthand selling themselves to states and publics. And as their power grows they become betterable to promotecooperation,which promotesgreaterprosperity,which furtherbolsterstheirprestigeand influence.In essence, a benevolent spirallike relationshipsets in between cooperation-promoting regimes and prosperity,in which each feeds the other. Second, a liberaleconomic orderfosterseconomic interdependenceamong states. Interdependence is defined as a situation in which two states are mutuallyvulnerable; each is a hostage of the otherin the economic realm.61 When interdependenceis high, this theoryholds, thereis less temptationto cheat or behave aggressively towards other states because all states could retaliate. Interdependence allows states to compel each other to cooperate on economic matters,much as mutual assured destructionallows nuclear powers to compel each other to respect theirsecurity.All states are forced by the othersto act as partnersin the provisionof materialcomfortfortheir home publics. Third,some theoristsargue thatwith ever-increasingpoliticalcooperation, internationalregimes will become so powerful that they will assume an 61. See KennethN. Waltz, "The MythofNational Interdependence,"in Charles P. Kindelberger, ed., TheInternational Corporation (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970), pp. 205-223.

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independent lifeof theirown, eventuallygrowinginto a super-state.This is a minorityview; most economicliberalsdo not argue thatregimescan become so powerful that they can coerce states to act against their own narrow interests.Instead most maintainthatregimesessentiallyreflectthe interests of the states that created and maintain them, and remain subordinate to other interestsof these states. However, the "growth to super-statehood" view does representan importantstrandofthoughtamong economicliberals. The main flawin thistheoryis thatthe principalassumptionunderpinning it-that states are primarilymotivatedby the desire to achieve prosperityis wrong. States are surely concerned about prosperity,and thus economic calculations are hardly trivialforthem. However, states operate in both an internationalpolitical environmentand an internationaleconomic environment, and the formerdominates the latterin cases where the two systems come into conflict.The reason is straightforward: the internationalpolitical systemis anarchic, which means that each state must always be concerned to ensure its own survival.Since a statecan have no highergoal than survival, when push comes to shove, internationalpolitical considerations will be paramount in the minds of decision-makers. Proponentsof economic liberalismlargelyignore the effectsof anarchyon state behavior and concentrateinstead on economic considerations. When this omission is corrected,however, theirargumentscollapse, fortwo reasons. First,competitionforsecuritymakes it verydifficult forstatesto cooperate. When securityis scarce, states become more concerned about relativegains than absolute gains.62They ask of an exchange not, "will both of us gain?" but instead, "who will gain more?"63When securityis scarce, they reject even cooperation that would yield an absolute economic gain, if the other state would gain more of the yield, fromfear that the other mightconvert its gain to militarystrength,and then use this strengthto win by coercion in later rounds.M4 Cooperation is much easier to achieve if states worryonly about absolute gains, as they are more likelyto do when securityis not so 62. See Joseph M. Grieco, "Anarchy and the Limits of Cooperation: A Realist Critique of the Newest Liberal Institutionalism,"InternationalOrganization,Vol. 42, No. 3 (Summer 1988), pp. 485-507; and Grieco, CooperationamongNations:Europe,Americaand Non-Tariff Barriersto Trade(Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1990). 63. Waltz, TheoryofInternational Politics,p. 105. 64. It is importantto emphasize that because militarypower is in good part a functionof economicmight,the consequences ofeconomic dealings among statessometimeshave important securityimplications.

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scarce. The goal then is simply to insure that the overall economic pie is expandingand each stateis gettingat least some partofthe resultingbenefits. However, anarchyguaranteesthatsecuritywill oftenbe scarce;thisheightens states' concerns about relativegains, which makes cooperation difficultunless gains can be finelysliced to reflect,and thus not disturb,the current balance of power. In contrast to this view, economic liberals generally assume that states worrylittleabout relativegains when designingcooperativeagreements,but instead are concerned mainlyabout absolute gains. This assumption underlies their optimism over the prospects for internationalcooperation. However, it is not well-based: anarchy forces states to reject agreements that resultin asymmetricalpayoffsthat shiftthe balance of power against them. Second, interdependence is as likely to lead to conflictas cooperation, because states will struggleto escape the vulnerabilitythatinterdependence creates, in order to bolster their national security.States that depend on others for criticaleconomic supplies will fear cutoffor blackmail in time of crisisor war; theymay tryto extend politicalcontrolto the source of supply, giving rise to conflictwith the source or with its other customers. Interdependence, in other words, mightvery well lead to greatercompetition,not to cooperation.65 Several otherconsiderations,independent of the consequences of anarchy, also raise doubts about the claims of economic liberals. First,economic interactionsbetween states often cause serious frictions, even ifthe overallconsequences are positive. Therewill invariablybe winners and losers within each state, and losers rarelyaccept defeat gracefully.In modern states, where leaders have to pay carefulattentionto theirconstit65. There are numerous examples in the historicalrecordof vulnerable states pursuing aggressive militarypolicies forthe purpose of achievingautarky.For example, thispatternof behavior was reflectedin both Japan's and Germany's actions during the interwarperiod. On Japan, see Michael A. Barnhart,JapanPreparesfor Total War: The Searchfor EconomicSecurity,1919-1941 (Ithaca: Cornell UniversityPress, 1987); and James B. Crowley, Japan'sQuest for Autonomy (Princeton:PrincetonUniversityPress, 1966). On Germany,see WilliamCarr,Arms,Autarkyand Aggression: A Studyin GermanForeignPolicy,1933-39 (New York: Norton, 1973). It is also worth noting that during the Arab oil embargo of the early 1970s, when it became apparent that the United States was vulnerable to OPEC pressure, there was much talk in America about using militaryforce to seize Arab oil fields. See, for example, Robert W. Tucker,"Oil: The Issue of American Intervention,"Commentary, January1975, pp. 21-31; Miles Ignotus [said to be a pseudonym forEdward Luttwak],"Seizing Arab Oil," Harpers,March 1975, pp. 45-62; and U.S. Congress, House Committeeon InternationalRelations,Reporton Oil Fieldsas MilitaryObjectives: A FeasibilityStudy,prepared by John M. Collins and Clyde R. Mark, 94th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington,D.C.: U.S. GovernmentPrintingOffice[U.S. GPO], August 21, 1975).

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uents, losers can cause considerable trouble. Even in cases where only winners are involved, there are sometimes squabbles over how the spoils are divided. In a sense, then, expanding the networkof contactsamong states increases the scope forinternationaldisagreementsamong them. They now have more to squabble about. Second, therewill be opportunitiesforblackmailand forbrinkmanshipin a highlydynamiceconomic systemwhere statesare dependent on each other. For example, although mutual vulnerabilitiesmay arise among states, it is likelythat the actual levels of dependence will not be equal. The less vulnerable states would probablyhave greaterbargainingpower over the more dependent states and mightattemptto coerce them into makingextravagant concessions. Furthermore,differentpolitical systems, not to mention individual leaders, have differentcapacities for engaging in tough bargaining situations. THE HISTORICAL RECORD. During two periods in the twentiethcentury, Europe witnessed a liberal economic order with high levels of interdependence. Stabilityshould have obtained duringthose periods, accordingto economic liberalism. The firstcase clearly contradictsthe theory.The years between 1890 and 1914 were probably the time of greatesteconomic interdependencein Europe's history.Yet World War I broke out followingthis period.66 The second case covers the Cold War years. During this period there has been much interdependence among the EC states, while relations among these states have been very peaceful. This case, not surprisingly,is the centerpieceof the economic liberals' argument. The correlationin this second case does not mean, however, that interdependence has caused cooperation among the Western democracies. It is more likely that the prime cause was the Cold War, and that this was the main reason that intra-ECrelationshave flourished.67 The Cold War caused these resultsin two different but mutuallyreinforcingways. First,old-fashionedbalance of power logic mandated cooperation among the Western democracies. A powerful and potentially dangerous Soviet 66. See Richard N. Rosecrance, et al., "WhitherInterdependence?" International Organization, Vol. 31, No. 3 (Summer 1977), pp. 432-434. 67. This theme is reflectedin BarryBuzan, "Economic Structureand InternationalSecurity:The Limits of the Liberal Case," International Organization,Vol. 38, No. 4 (Autumn 1984), pp. 597624; RobertGilpin, U.S. Powerand theMultinationalCorporation: The PoliticalEconomyofForeign DirectInvestment (New York: Basic Books, 1975); and RobertA. Pollard, EconomicSecurityand the OriginsoftheCold War,1945-1950 (New York: Columbia UniversityPress, 1985).

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Union forcedthe Westerndemocraciesto band togetherto meet the common threat.Britain,Germany,and France no longer worried about each other, because all faced a greatermenace fromthe Soviets. This Soviet threatmuted concernsabout relativegains arisingfromeconomic cooperation among the EC states by giving each Western democracya vested interestin seeing its alliance partnersgrow powerful, since each additional incrementof power helped deter the Soviets. The Soviet threatalso muted relative-gainsfears among WesternEuropean states by giving them all a powerfulincentiveto avoid conflictwith each other while the Soviet Union loomed to the east, ready to harvestthe gains of Westernquarrels. This gave each Westernstate greater confidence that its Western partners would not turn their gains against it, as long as these partnersbehaved rationally. Second, America's hegemonic position in NATO, the militarycounterpart to the EC, mitigatedthe effectsof anarchyon the Westerndemocracies and facilitatedcooperation among them.68As emphasized, states do not trust each otherin anarchyand theyhave incentivesto commitaggressionagainst each other. America, however, not only provided protectionagainst the Soviet threat,but also guaranteed that no EC state would aggress against another. For example, France did not have to fear Germany as it rearmed, because the American presence in Germany meant that the Germans were not freeto attackanyone. Withthe United States servingas nightwatchman, relative-gainsconcerns among the WesternEuropean states were mitigated and, moreover,those states were willingto allow theireconomies to become tightlyinterdependent. In effect,relationsamong EC states were spared the effectsof anarchyfears about relative gains and an obsession with autonomy-because the United States served as the ultimatearbiterwithinthe Alliance. If the present Soviet threatto WesternEurope is removed, and American forcesdepart forhome, relationsamong the EC stateswill be fundamentally altered. Without a common Soviet threatand without the American night watchman, Western European states will begin viewing each other with greaterfear and suspicion, as they did forcenturiesbeforethe onset of the Cold War. Consequently, they will worryabout the imbalances in gains as well as the loss of autonomy that resultsfromcooperation.69Cooperation in 68. See JosefJoffe,"Europe's American Pacifier,"ForeignPolicy,No. 54 (Spring 1984), pp. 6482. 69. Consider, forexample, a situationwhere the European Communityis successfullyextended

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thisnew orderwill be more difficult than it has been in the Cold War. Conflict will be more likely. In sum, thereare good reasons forlooking with skepticismupon the claim that peace can be maintainedin a multipolarEurope on the basis of a more powerfulEC. PEACE-LOVING


The peace-loving democracies theory holds that domestic political factors, not calculations about militarypower or the internationaleconomic system, are the principaldeterminantof peace. Specifically,the argumentis thatthe presence of liberal democracies in the internationalsystemwill help to produce a stable order.70The claim is not that democracies go to war less often than authoritarianstates. In fact,the historicalrecordshows clearlythatsuch is not the case.71 Instead, the argumentis thatdemocracies do not go to war against otherdemocracies. Thus, democracymust spread to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to insure peace in post-Cold War Europe. It is not certainthat democracywill take root among the states of Eastern Europe or in the Soviet Union. They lack a strongtraditionof democracy; institutionsthat can accommodate the growthof democracywill have to be built fromscratch.That task will probablyprove to be difficult, especially in an unstable Europe. But whether democracytakes root in the East matters to include Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and that over time all states achieve greater prosperity.The Germans, however, do significantlybetterthan all other states. Hence their relativepower position, which is already quite strong,begins to improve markedly.It is likely that the French and the Soviets, just to name two states, would be deeply concerned by this situation. 70. This theoryhas been recentlyarticulatedby Michael Doyle in threearticles:"Liberalismand World Politics,"AmericanPoliticalScienceReview,Vol. 80, No. 4 (December 1986), pp. 1151-1169; "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs,"Philosophyand Public Affairs,Vol. 12, No. 3 (Summer1983), pp. 205-235; and "Kant, LiberalLegacies, and ForeignAffairs,Part2," Philosophy and PublicAffairs,Vol. 12, No. 4 (Fall 1983), pp. 323-353. Doyle draws heavily on Immanuel Kant's classic writingson the subject. This theoryalso provides the centralargumentin Francis Fukuyama's widely publicized essay on "The End of History?"in The NationalInterest,No. 16 (Summer 1989), pp. 3-18. For an excellentcritiqueof the theory,see Samuel P. Huntington, "No Exit: The Errorsof Endism," TheNationalInterest,No. 17 (Fall 1989), pp. 3-11. 71. There is a good empiricalliteratureon the relationshipbetween democracyand war. See, forexample, Steve Chan, "Mirror,Mirroron the Wall . .. Are the FreerCountriesMore Pacific?" Journalof ConflictResolution,Vol. 28, No. 4 (December 1984), pp. 617-648; Erich Weede, "Democracyand War Involvement,"in ibid., pp. 649-664; Bruce M. Russettand R. JosephMonsen, "Bureaucracyand PolyarchyAs Predictorsof Performance,"Comparative PoliticalStudies,Vol. 8, No. 1 (April 1975), pp. 5-31; and Melvin Small and J. David Singer, "The War-Pronenessof Democratic Regimes, 1816-1965," The Jerusalem Journalof International Relations,Vol. 1, No. 4 (Summer 1976), pp. 50-69.

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littleforstabilityin Europe, since the theoryof peace-loving democracies is unsound. THE LOGIC OF THE THEORY. Two explanations are offeredin support of the claim that democracies do not go to war against one another. First,some claim that authoritarianleaders are more prone to go to war than leaders of democracies, because authoritarianleaders are not accountable to theirpublics, which carrythe main burdens of war. In a democracy, by contrast,the citizenrythat pays the price of war has greatersay in the decision-makingprocess. The people, so the argumentgoes, are more hesitant to starttrouble because it is they who pay the blood price; hence the greatertheirpower, the fewerwars. The second argumentrests on the claim that the citizens of liberal democracies respectpopular democraticrights-those of theirfellowcountrymen, and those of individuals in other states. As a result they are reluctantto wage war against other democracies,because theyview democraticgovernments as more legitimatethan others, and are loath to impose a foreign regime on a democraticstate by force. This would violate theirown democraticprinciplesand values. Thus an inhibitionon war is introducedwhen two democracies face each other that is missing in other internationalrelationships. The firstof these argumentsis flawed because it is not possible to sustain the claim that the people in a democracyare especially sensitiveto the costs of war and thereforeless willingthan authoritarianleaders to fightwars. In fact,the historicalrecord shows that democracies are every bit as likely to fightwars as are authoritarianstates. Furthermore,mass publics, whetherdemocraticor not, can become deeply imbued with nationalisticor religiousfervor,makingthem prone to support aggression,regardless of costs. The widespread public support in post-revolutionaryFrance forNapoleon's wars of aggression is just one example of thisphenomenon. On the otherhand, authoritarianleaders are just as likely as democraticpublics to fear going to war, because war tends to unleash democraticforces that can undermine the regime.72War can impose high costs on authoritarianleaders as well as on theircitizenries. The second argument, which emphasizes the transnationalrespect for democraticrightsamong democracies,restson a weaker factorthatis usually 72. See, for example, Stanislav Andreski, "On the Peaceful Disposition of MilitaryDictatorships," JournalofStrategicStudies,Vol. 3, No. 3 (December 1980), pp. 3-10.

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overriddenby otherfactorssuch as nationalismand religiousfundamentalism. There is also anotherproblemwiththe argument.The possibilityalways exists that a democracy will revertto an authoritarianstate. This threatof backslidingmeans that one democraticstate can never be sure that another democraticstate will not change its stripesand turn on it sometime in the future.Liberaldemocraciesmustthereforeworryabout relativepower among themselves, which is tantamountto saying that each has an incentive to consideraggression against the otherto forestallfuturetrouble.Lamentably, it is not possible foreven liberal democracies to transcendanarchy. THE HISTORICAL RECORD. Problems with the deductive logic aside, the historicalrecord seems to offerstrong support for the theoryof peace-loving democracies. There appears to have been no case where liberal democracies foughtagainst each other. Although this evidence looks impressive at first glance, closer examinationshows it to be indecisive. In fact,historyprovides no clear test of the theory. Four evidentiaryproblems leave the issue in doubt. First,democracies have been few in number over the past two centuries, and thus therehave not been many cases where two democracieswere in a position to fightwith each other. Only three prominentcases are usually cited: Britainand the United States (1832-present);Britainand France (183249, 1871-1940); and the Westerndemocracies since 1945. Second, thereare otherpersuasive explanationsforwhy war did not occur in those three cases, and these competing explanations must be ruled out beforethe peace-loving democracies theorycan be accepted. While relations between the Britishand the Americans during the nineteenthcenturywere hardly free of conflict,73 theirrelationsin the twentiethcenturywere quite harmonious, and thus fit closely with how the theorywould expect two democracies to behave towards each other. That harmony, however, can easily be explained by the presence of a common threatthat forcedBritain 74Bothfaced a serious German and the United States to work closelytogether. threatin the firstpart of the century,and a Soviet threatlater. The same basic argumentapplies to France and Britain.While Franco-British relations 73. For a discussion of the hostile relationsthat existed between the United States and Britain during the nineteenthcentury,see H.C. Allen, GreatBritainand theUnitedStates:A Historyof Anglo-American Relations,1783-1952 (London: Odhams, 1954). 74. For a discussion of this rapprochement,see Stephen R. Rock, WhyPeace BreaksOut: Great PowerRapprochement in HistoricalPerspective(Chapel Hill: Universityof North Carolina Press, 1989), chap. 2.

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they imwere not the best throughoutmost of the nineteenthcentury,75 proved significantly around the turnof the centurywiththe rise ofa common threat:Germany.76Finally,as noted above, the Soviet threatcan explain the absence of war among the Westerndemocracies since 1945. Third,itbears mentionthatseveral democracieshave come close to fighting one another,which suggests that the absence of war may be due simply to chance. France and Britainapproached war duringthe Fashoda crisisof 1898. France and Weimar Germanymighthave come to blows over the Rhineland duringthe 1920s, had Germanypossessed the militarystrengthto challenge France. The United States has clashed witha numberof elected governments in the Third World during the Cold War, including the Allende regime in Chile and the Arbenz regimein Guatemala. Lastly, some would classifyWilhelmine Germany as a democracy,or at least a quasi-democracy;if so, World War I becomes a war among democracies.77 Conclusion This article argues that bipolarity,an equal militarybalance, and nuclear weapons have fosteredpeace in Europe over the past 45 years. The Cold War confrontationproduced these phenomena; thus the Cold War was prina historicallyviolent region into a very cipally responsible fortransforming peaceful place. There is no doubt that the costs of the Cold War have been substantial.It inflictedoppressive politicalregimeson the peoples of EasternEurope, who were denied basic human rightsby theirforcedmembershipin the Soviet 75. For a good discussion of Franco-Britishrelationsduring the nineteenthcentury,see P.J.V. Rolo, EntenteCordiale:The Originsand Negotiationof theAnglo-French Agreements of 8 April1904 (New York: St. Martins, 1969), pp. 16-109. 76. Stephen Rock, who has examined the rapprochementbetween Britainand France, argues that the principal motivatingforce behind theirimproved relations derived fromgeopolitical considerations,not shared politicalbeliefs. See Rock, WhyPeace BreaksOut, chap. 4. 77. Doyle recognizes this problem and thus has a lengthyfootnotethat attemptsto deal with it. See "Kant, Liberal Legacies, and Foreign Affairs[Part One]," pp. 216-217, n. 8. He argues that "Germany was a liberal state under republican law for domestic issues," but that the "emperor's active role in foreignaffairs. .. made imperialGermanya state divorced fromthe control of its citizenryin foreignaffairs."However, an examination of the decision-making process leading to World War I reveals that the emperor(WilhelmII) was not a primemover in foreignaffairsand that he was no more bellicose than other members of the German elite, includingthe leading civilianofficial,Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg.

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empire. It consumed national wealth, by giving rise to large and costly defense establishmentsin both East and West. It spawned bloody conflicts in the Third World; these produced modest casualties forthe superpowers, but large casualties forthe ThirdWorldnations. Nevertheless,the net human and economic cost of the Cold War order has been farless than the cost of the European order of 1900-45, with its vast violence and suffering. A Cold War order without confrontationwould have been preferableto the order that actually developed; then the peace that the Cold War order produced could have been enjoyed withoutits attendantcosts. However, it was East-Westenmitythatgave rise to the Cold War order;therewould have been no bipolarity,no equality, and no large Soviet and American nuclear forcesin Europe withoutit. The costs of the Cold War arose fromthe same cause-East-West confrontation-as did its benefits.The good could not be had withoutthe bad. This articlefurtherargues that the demise of the Cold War order is likely to increase the chances thatwar and major criseswill occur in Europe. Many observers now suggest that a new age of peace is dawning; in fact the opposite is true. The implications of my analysis are straightforward, if paradoxical. The West has an interestin maintainingpeace in Europe. It thereforehas an interestin maintainingthe Cold War order,and hence has an interestin the continuationof the Cold War confrontation;developments that threatento end it are dangerous. The Cold War antagonismcould be continuedat lower levels of East-Westtension than have prevailed in the past; hence the West is not injured by relaxingEast-Westtension,but a complete end to the Cold War would create more problems than it would solve. The fate of the Cold War, however, is mainly in the hands of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is the only superpower thatcan seriouslythreaten to overrun Europe; it is the Soviet threatthat provides the glue that holds NATO together.Take away that offensivethreatand the United States is likely to abandon the Continent, whereupon the defensive alliance it has headed for fortyyears may disintegrate.This would bring to an end the bipolar order that has characterizedEurope forthe past 45 years. The foregoinganalysis suggests thatthe West paradoxicallyhas an interest in the continued existence-ofa powerfulSoviet Union with substantialmilitary forces in Eastern Europe. Western interestsare wholly reversed from those that Western leaders saw in the late 1940s: instead of seeking the retractionof Soviet power, as the West did then, the West now should hope

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that the Soviet Union retains at least some militaryforces in the Eastern European region. There is littlethe Americans or the WesternEuropeans can or are likelyto do to perpetuate the Cold War, forthreereasons. First,domesticpoliticalconsiderationspreclude such an approach. Western leaders obviouslycannotbase nationalsecuritypolicyon the need to maintain forcesin CentralEurope forthe purpose simplyof keeping the Soviets there. The idea of deploying large forcesin order to bait the Soviets into an orderkeeping competition would be dismissed as bizarre, and contraryto the general belief that ending the Cold War and removingthe Soviet yoke from Eastern Europe would make the world saferand better.78 Second, the idea of propping up a decliningrivalruns counterto the basic behaviorof states. States are principallyconcernedabout theirrelativepower position in the system;hence, theylook foropportunitiesto take advantage of each other. If anything,they preferto see adversaries decline, and thus will do whatevertheycan to speed up the process and maximizethe distance of the fall. In other words, states do not ask which distributionof power best facilitatesstabilityand then do everythingpossible to build or maintain such an order. Instead, they each tend to pursue the more narrow aim of maximizingtheirpower advantage over potentialadversaries. The particular internationalorder that resultsis simplya byproductof thatcompetition,as illustratedby the originsof the Cold War orderin Europe. No stateintended to createit. In fact,both the United States and the Soviet Union worked hard in the early years of the Cold War to undermine each other's position in Europe, which would have ended the bipolar order on the Continent. The remarkablystable system that emerged in Europe in the late 1940s was the unintended consequence of an intense competitionbetween the superpowers. Third, even if the Americans and the WesternEuropeans wanted to help the Soviets maintaintheirstatus as a superpower,it is not apparent thatthey could do so. The Soviet Union is leaving Eastern Europe and cuttingits

78. This point is illustratedby the 1976 controversyover the so-called "SonnenfeldtDoctrine." Helmut Sonnenfeldt,an adviser to Secretaryof State Henry Kissinger,was reported to have said in late 1975 that the United States should support Soviet dominationof Eastern Europe. It was clear fromthe ensuing debate thatwhetheror not Sonnenfeldtin factmade such a claim, no administrationcould publiclyadopt that position. See U.S. Congress, House Committeeon InternationalRelations, Hearingson UnitedStatesNationalSecurityPolicyVis-a-VisEasternEurope (The "Sonnenfeldt Doctrine"),94thCong., 2nd sess. (Washington,D.C.: U.S. GPO, April 12, 1976).

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militaryforceslargelybecause its economy is foundering.It is not clear that the Soviets themselves know how to fix their economy, and there is little that Westerngovernmentscan do to help them solve theireconomic problems. The West can and should avoid doing malicious mischiefto the Soviet economy, but at this juncture it is difficultto see how the West can have significantpositive influence.79 The fact that the West cannot sustain the Cold War does not mean that the United States should abandon all attemptsto preservethe currentorder. The United States should do what it can to directevents toward avertinga complete mutual superpower withdrawal from Europe. For instance, the Americannegotiatingposition at the conventionalarms controltalks should aim toward large mutual forcereductions,but should not contemplatecomplete mutual withdrawal. The Soviets may opt to withdraw all theirforces unilaterallyanyway; thereis littlethe United States could do to preventthis. POLICY


If complete Soviet withdrawalfromEastern Europe proves unavoidable, the West faces the question of how to maintain peace in a multipolarEurope. Three policy prescriptionsare in order. First,the United States should encourage the limitedand carefullymanaged proliferationof nuclear weapons in Europe. The best hope foravoiding war in post-Cold War Europe is nuclear deterrence;hence some nuclear proliferation is necessaryto compensate forthe withdrawalof the Soviet and American nuclear arsenals fromCentral Europe. Ideally, as I have argued, nuclear weapons would spread to Germany,but to no other state. Second, Britainand the United States, as well as the Continental states, will have to balance activelyand efficiently against any emergingaggressor to offsetthe ganging up and bullyingproblemsthatare sure to arise in postCold War Europe. Balancing in a multipolarsystem,however, is usually a problem-riddenenterprise,eitherbecause of geographyor because of significant coordinationproblems. Nevertheless,two steps can be taken to maximize the prospects of efficientbalancing. The initial measure concerns Britainand the United States, the two prospectivebalancing states that,physicallyseparated fromthe Continent,may 79. For an optimisticassessment of h,ow the West can enhance Gorbachev's prospects of succeeding, see JackSnyder, "InternationalLeverage on Soviet Domestic Change," WorldPolitics, Vol. 42, No. 1 (October 1989), pp. 1-30.

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thus conclude that they have little interestin what happens there. They would thenbe abandoning theirresponsibilitiesand, more importantly, their interestsas off-shorebalancers. Both states' failureto balance against Germany before the two world wars made war more likely in each case. It is essential for peace in Europe that they not repeat theirpast mistakes, but instead remain actively involved in maintainingthe balance of power in Europe. Specifically,both states must maintainmilitaryforcesthatcan be deployed to the Continentto balance against states that threatento starta war. To do this they must also socialize theirpublics to support a policy of continued Continentalcommitment.Support forsuch a commitmentwill be more difficultto mobilize than in the past, because its principalpurpose would be to preservepeace, ratherthan to preventan imminenthegemony,and the latter is a simplergoal to explain publicly.Moreover,it is the basic nature of states to focus on maximizing relative power, not on bolsteringstability,so this prescriptionasks them to take on an unaccustomed task. Nevertheless, the Britishand American stake in peace is real, especially since there is a sure riskthat a European war mightinvolve large-scaleuse of nuclear weapons. It should thereforebe possible for both countries to lead their publics to recognize this interestand support policies thatprotectit.80 The other measure concerns American attitudes and actions toward the Soviet Union. The Soviets may eventuallyreturnto theirpast expansionism and threatento upset the status quo. If so, we are back to the Cold War; the West should respond as quicklyand efficiently as it did the firsttime. Howif ever, the Soviets adhere to status quo policies, Soviet power could play a key role in balancing against Germanyand in maintainingorder in Eastern Europe. It is importantthat,in those cases where the Soviets are actingin a balancingcapacity,the United States recognizethis,cooperate withits former adversary,and not let residual distrustfromthe Cold War interferewith the balancing process. at bay, Third,a concertedeffortshould be made to keep hyper-nationalism especially in Eastern Europe. This powerfulforcehas deep roots in Europe and has contributedto the outbreakof past European conflicts.Nationalism has been contained during the Cold War, but it is likelyto reemerge once

80. Advancing this argument is Van Evera, "Why Europe Matters, Why the Third World Doesn't."

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Soviet and Americanforcesleave the heart of Europe.81It will be a forcefor troubleunless it is curbed. The teaching of honest national historyis especially important,since the teaching of false chauvinist historyis the main vehicle for spreading virulentnationalism. States that teach a dishonestly self-exculpatingor self-glorifying historyshould be publicly criticizedand sanctioned.82

On this count it is especially importantthat relationsbetween Germany and its neighbors be handled carefully.Many Germans rightlyfeel that Germanyhas behaved veryresponsiblyfor45 years,and has made an honest effort to rememberand make amends foran uglyperiod ofitspast. Therefore, Germans quickly tire of lectures fromforeignersdemanding that they apologize once again for crimes committedbefore most of the currentGerman population was born. On the otherhand, peoples who have sufferedat the hands of the Germans cannot forgettheirenormous suffering, and inevitably ask forrepeated assurance that the past will not be repeated. This dialogue has the potential to spiral into mutual recriminationsthat could spark a renewed sense of persecution among Germans, and with it, a rebirthof German-nationalism.It is thereforeincumbenton all partiesin this discourse to proceed with understandingand respect for one another's feelings and experience.Specifically,others should not ask today's Germans to apologize forcrimesthey did not commit,but Germans must understand that others' ceaseless demands for reassurance have a legitimatebasis in history,and should view these demands with patience and understanding. None of these tasks will be easy to accomplish. In fact,I expect that the bulk of my prescriptionswill not be followed; most run contraryto powerful strainsof domesticAmericanand European opinion, and to the basic nature of statebehavior. Moreover,even iftheyare followed,thiswill not guarantee the peace in Europe. If the Cold War is trulybehind us, the stabilityof the past 45 years is not likelyto be seen again in the coming decades. 81. On the evolution of nationalistichistory-teaching in Europe see Kennedy, "The Decline of NationalisticHistory,"and Dance, HistorytheBetrayer. 82. My thinkingon this matterhas been influencedby conversationswith Stephen Van Evera.

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