Brzezinski, Zbigniew
October 1970
Foreign Affairs;Oct70, Vol. 49 Issue 1, p11
This article examines U.S. foreign policy and relations with Europe 25 years after the latter's collapse, as of October 1970. A new post-European world order emerged, with Europe itself powerless and divided. This was a shift of historic proportions, the disappearance of what for several centuries in fact had been the center of world power, the partition of hitherto the world's most dynamic continent, the emergence instead of two competitive, ideologically distinct, non-European centers of power. To this day Europe is effectively absent from world politics. Its decline has been halted on the social-economic plane and in many respects actually reversed, but the basic political reality is still not fundamentally different from what it had been in the days, a quarter of a century ago, when Europe's cities were ruins and ashes. Social and economic restoration has not yet been matched by political rebirth. Europe is still to decide whether it seeks again a world role, whether it wishes to be a larger Sweden or a bigger Finland. The U.S. has consistently striven to restore Europe to its previous grandeur, first through the Marshall Plan and, throughout the postwar era, by consistently supporting and encouraging the movement toward European unity. The continued need for countervailing U.S. political involvement in the East-West European relationship is underlined. Without such positive involvement there is the real risk that otherwise even highly desirable initiatives,will either fail or be turned around to divide the West. The proper course for U.S. is not to warn West Germany against moving too fast, but to take active part in shaping the Western initiative on the East-West front. Such an initiative could take the shape of proposing a comprehensive agenda for East-West talks on the major European problems, perhaps even with the participation of neutral or nonaligned countries on some of the topics more directly of relevance to them.


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