Germany: The "Reluctant Power" Turns East


© 1994 Victor Gray

From Parameters, Autumn 1994, pp. 84-97

"We must realize that the projection of stability to Central and Eastern Europe is the most important challenge facing the Euro-Atlantic community. We must develop a viable concept for meeting this strategic challenge." -- German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe

Germany was perhaps the chief beneficiary of "the revolution of 1989." It achieved, in the process, its unification, the withdrawal of foreign forces from its soil, and, concomitantly, the exercise of full sovereignty. Over the longer term, this achievement may loom as large as the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Together, these two events also ensure that relations between the new Germany and the new Russia will dominate the European security scene through the early part of the next century. The key issue for both countries--indeed, for all of Europe--will be the security vacuum in East Central Europe.

In order to understand better how this dynamic might play out, one must move beyond the current socioeconomic trauma of unification and heretofore uncontrolled immigration that has mired Germany in recession, xenophobia, and self-doubt. And one must move beyond the current alphabet soup of competing and overlapping European organizations that, willy-nilly, may take a form as yet unanticipated. Doing so forces us--Germans and non-Germans alike--to face the strategic reality that Germany is again a considerable economic power in the center of Europe and, having regained full sovereignty for the first time in half a century, again a potentially assertive actor on the European and world stages. Like it or not, planned or unplanned, we must face a new iteration of the eternal "German Question."

While there is a certain timelessness to that question, the chief lessons to be learned from history are that history never repeats itself exactly and that great care must be used in drawing analogies from the past. It has been argued, for example, that the current situation in Europe bears similarities to 1914. To be sure, there is revolution in Russia, turmoil in the Balkans and a new central power in Germany. Unlike 1914, however, Franco-German enmity has been replaced by a firm German anchor in the West. And to those who fear a return to 1933, there is not only that anchor in the West but a half century of successful experience with democracy to provide assurance to the contrary. Simply put, Bonn is not Weimar, and the Berlin Republic that is now emerging is not Bonn.[1]

The Berlin Republic will remain thoroughly democratic--the degree dependent on how it deals with its increasing ethnic and cultural heterogeneity. And while firmly anchored in the West through strong ties with France, it will have to pay considerable attention in the decade ahead to its security concerns in the East. A sober self-assessment of interests and threats will push the "traditional" issues of the country's ties to Russia and the security vacuum in East Central Europe to the forefront of the German security agenda. The German security perspective, therefore, will remain Eurocentric and become increasingly eastward-looking rather than global. While the Berlin Republic will make its weight felt in new ways on the global stage, especially through the United Nations, its concerns will differ from the other major powers, save perhaps Japan. Questions remain, moreover, about whether Germany can--or even wants to--translate its economic power into military power. In many ways, Germany remains the reluctant power because of its singularity.

The New Singularity

We are witnessing a return of Germany's traditional security problem--one dictated by its central position and its dynamic economy. Try as it might, Germany cannot escape the consequences of its geographic position, its history, or its economic prosperity. These factors contributed to German singularity, against which Helmut Schmidt and other Germans railed, within the Cold War alliance. They contribute, too, to a new singularity--shared to a degree with Japan--within the club of post-Cold War powers.

As it faces these threats, Germany is very uncomfortable with its continued singularity. It appears determined to find strength and cover in a new alliance that will push "Western Europe" as far eastward as possible, thus moving Germany from the edge of a divided Continent to the center of a larger, more stable, and thus more comfortable Europe. To do this, it needs the cooperation of its European Union partners, the United States and, yes, Russia. To obtain that cooperation, it must convince those would-be partners in a larger Europe that it is itself a serious and worthy partner willing to share the burdens of power. But getting in the way of such respect is a continued German reluctance to take up the military tools of power--a reluctance that has its roots in post-World War II, Cold War pacifism.

The Roots of Modern German Pacifism

The roots of modern German pacifism can be found in the experience of World War II and Nazi rule, with "Never Again!" being the watchword of the 1950s anti-rearmament movement and, later, the anti-nuclear movement. This pacifism spread quickly, by the late 1960s pervading large segments of the German body politic, particularly young Germans. By that time, however, German pacifism had been transformed. It had become a cause, a movement that young Germans could relate to by their own personal experience--the day-to-day experience of living at ground zero of the Cold War. For much of the Cold War, it must have seemed to many Germans, including those in the West who were truly thankful for their freedom and prosperity, that their aspirations again were being sacrificed on the altar of a balance of power. This perception grew not only out of the physical division of the country but also out of the psychological pain of living on the front line. Imagine living in an Oregon-sized country with more than 300,000 friendly but foreign soldiers and several thousand nuclear weapons. Is it any wonder that Germans:

What is a wonder is that we, who now profess concern about German assertiveness, so recently viewed that pacifism as dangerous.

By the time of the NATO "Double-Track" decision in 1979 and the collapse of the Schmidt government in 1982, there had grown up in Germany a sizable body of opinion, not surprisingly strongest among young people, that professed dissatisfaction with the status quo as it related to the division of Germany and to NATO's strategy of Flexible Response. By 1982, for example, polls showed that a plurality of those under 30 preferred a neutral option. In essence, a new generation of Germans, feeling no guilt for the past but saddled with its consequences, had begun a struggle to redefine and rehabilitate the German nation. These young Germans were troubled not only by the past but by the seemingly intractable problems represented by a hostile Soviet army occupying a large part of their nation and a nuclear stalemate that seemingly froze the geopolitical status quo in Europe, threatening Germany with destruction to preserve the peace.

With reunification and removal of the threat of immediate destruction, however, there is little to suggest, a decade later, that the pacifism of the 1980s will survive the decade ahead. For it is a pacifism that is not religious or altruistic but rather self-interested and nationalistic. During the Cold War it sought to protect Germans from destruction and sought, at a political level, to keep open the option of unification through the practice of "divided detente."[2] Small wonder that both the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) campaigned in 1983 under the motto: "In the German Interest." It is entirely conceivable that the next generation of Germans, having achieved unification and having moved off nuclear ground zero, might redefine the "German interest" of survival as one no longer requiring pacifism as a means to that vital end. Should that happen Germany might no longer be the reluctant power.

Physical Constraints on German Power

In the meantime, Germany's power remains physically constrained by treaty-dictated limits on the Bundeswehr and still somewhat constrained on using the Bundeswehr in out-of-area operations, since the recent court decision denying that the constitution precluded such operations still requires a decision by the Bundestag for each proposed operation. The peacetime size of the Bundeswehr is limited to 370,000 by the Two-Plus-Four Treaty; its full integration into the NATO command structure and lack of a national centralized operational control structure greatly restrict its latitude and capability for independent action in less-than-war operations. There appears to be little desire and limited wherewithal to move beyond the Bundeswehr's current size limits. The reasons are economic and demographic.

Economically, Germany is facing the same pressures the United States is to achieve savings in the defense budget--savings that can be diverted to financing the rebuilding of eastern Germany. So far, the cuts in the defense budget have been modest, but they are expected to grow: estimates for medium-term defense expenditures once in the range of 48 billion DM, were, until recently reduced, at roughly the same level they were a decade ago and about 10 percent less than the 1990 high of 53.4 billion DM.[3]

Demographically, Germany's negative population growth, at least among ethnic German citizens, is contributing to a downsizing of the Bundeswehr in two ways. Not only is the size of the pool of eligible manpower declining, but the number of draft eligibles declaring themselves conscientious objectors has grown dramatically in recent years. These conditions could lead to a stretching-out of active-duty requirements (unlikely, since required time of service has recently been proposed as ten months rather than 12 months) or, despite protestations to the contrary by the country's political leaders, the dropping of conscription in favor of an all-volunteer army. For all these reasons, the size of the Bundeswehr could eventually drop below 300,000.[4]

Concerning the constitutional debate, it is hard to find anywhere in the German Constitution any explicit prohibition on so-called out-of-area actions. Article 26 of the Constitution or Basic Law outlaws preparations for aggressive war and acts that would "disturb the peaceful relations between nations," while Article 87 makes clear that German armed forces may only be used for defensive purposes or, "apart from defense . . . only to the extent explicitly permitted by the Basic Law." Article 24, however, allows Germany to enter "a system of mutual collective security" to ensure "the maintenance of peace" and to "bring about and secure a peaceful and lasting order in Europe and among the nations of the world." In a long-running case before the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, the Kohl Government maintained that this article, adopted after the founding of the United Nations but before the founding of NATO, permits participation in UN-style peacekeeping operations outside the NATO area. Disagreeing, the opposition Social Democrats (SPD) contended that the Basic Law must be amended to allow operations "apart from defense." In a 12 July 1994 decision, the court sided with the government's position, thus clearing the way for out-of-area operations subject to a case-by-case majority vote in the Bundestag.

In the meantime, the CDU/CSU continues a nationwide educational effort designed to swing a still-reluctant public behind a more permissive stance with regard to such operations. It has had some success in this effort, and even the SPD has joined a consensus behind UN-sanctioned peacekeeping operations. It remains to be seen, however, how far the CDU/CSU can press such efforts in the midst of an election campaign and in the face of continued strong public reluctance. It therefore appears likely that, in the near term, "Germany must face many of its current security challenges without military means."[5] At the very least, it will face two nuclear-armed states to its east without nuclear weapons of its own and with national conventional forces smaller than those of Russia or Ukraine. This is but a part of Germany's "Eastern Problem."

Germany's Eastern Problem and Ours

Before tackling out-of-area tasks further afield, Germany must first come to grips with its Eastern Problem--a problem precipitated by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact and the movement of Russian forces 800 miles eastward. These circumstances have created a security vacuum in East Central Europe, leaving a weak Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and Slovakia between the still-limited power of Germany, with all the self-imposed and other constraints that attach to it, and nuclear-armed Russia and Ukraine, both of which also have sizable conventional forces. Complicating the problem is the contentious, unstable relationship between Russia and Ukraine.

This new situation creates a strategic dilemma for German planners who, in seeking to create stability and security on their eastern borders, must overcome not only the constraints that attach to German power but also the concerns of their Russian counterparts. For perhaps the first time in German history, however, they can approach this task with a high degree of confidence about stability and security on their western borders. Indeed, it is Germany's firm anchor in the West that gives it the prospect of success--again, perhaps for the first time in its history--in reaching a peaceful, lasting solution to its Eastern Problem. In their approach to this problem, German planners must start with a clear understanding of German interests.

German Interests

Increasingly, protection of interests--even in the eyes of realists--extends not only to the physical survival of a state's people and the control of its territory and economic wherewithal but also to the survival of its ideals or values. This, after all, is at the heart of the concept of the "polity." Therefore, the survival of Germany as a prosperous democracy must be posited as the sine qua non in any pantheon of German interests. Defense of this interest is bolstered immensely by Germany's membership in the strong community of shared values represented by the European Union and NATO. It would presumably be further strengthened by spreading that community eastward by opening up the membership of those two organizations or by strengthening the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Therefore, for its values alone, it would seem that Germany has a vital interest in a broadened European integration process.

But, when considering the physical survival of the people, one is immediately tossed back into that cauldron of German culture and myth that surrounds the "concept of the nation" and that can fly in the face of democratic universalism and confound the attempt to define the territory to be defended. There are two main problems that arise from the German self-identity, tied up as it is with the racial and cultural criteria of Jus Sanquinis or "Law of the Blood" as opposed to the territorial-based criteria of Jus Soli or "Law of the Place." First is the problem of internal cohesion related to the inability or unwillingness of Germans to integrate the millions of newcomers who now consider Germany their ultimate home. Just how serious this problem can become in terms of threatening the values of the country is illustrated by the rise of xenophobia and right extremism over the past few years. Second is the international problem arising from the presence of large pockets of ethnic Germans in the East.

Particularly troubling with regard to Germany's relations with the East are the nearly two million Germans living in Russia, Poland, and Ukraine. For domestic political reasons, the German government has sought to encourage these ethnic Germans to stay where they are. The principal means to this end have been agreements with the several governments by which German economic aid is allowed to be targeted at the Germans within their borders. This already has caused a degree of resentment among the majority populations of these countries and creates a source of contention between Germany and its eastern neighbors. This could become a more acute problem if the ethnic Germans in the East become more assertive or if more nationalist governments arise there, leading in turn to possible persecution or expulsions. This is a touchy human rights issue with average Germans and is one that German governments could ignore only at great political risk.[6]

Before considering the remaining element in the triad of German survival interests, there are two lower-level interests worth mentioning. As a relatively small country, Germany is heavily dependent on exports for its domestic prosperity. It therefore has an abiding major interest in broadening its markets and maintaining its competitiveness within those markets. On this score, Germany appears fairly secure economically as the most powerful member of the European Union and given a certain leveling of the trade playing field with the Asian-Pacific area in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. But, again, we see here the needs and limitations created by transnationalism. Germany needs to be a member of these clubs and must submit to certain limitations on its freedom of action that grow out of that membership.

Paradoxically, Germany seeks to broaden its freedom of action by pursuing a nebulous interest that Hans J. Morgenthau would call "prestige." One contemporary observer puts it this way:

Today, important aspects of German security policy can be explained by its quest for equal status with the other international powers. This objective has two dimensions. First, Germany wants to eliminate the unique institutional and political restrictions made on its international role during the Cold War. Second, it wants a standing that is commensurate with its new political and economic power.[7]

With regard to the first objective, throwing off the "unique institutional and political restrictions" of the Cold War, the most important steps are the removal of the last Russian troops from eastern Germany in 1994 and playing a more assertive role in NATO, similar to the role Germany now plays in the European Union. The venue for the second aspect of this quest is the United Nations, where Germany now openly seeks Security Council membership. Certainly such membership would give Germany a greater say over actions and events in East Central Europe and elsewhere that affect German security. At question, however, is whether the German public is willing to accept the greater responsibilities, principally in the peacekeeping area, that go with such membership. By the year 2000, Germany will likely have achieved these "prestige" objectives and will, as a result, be a more "normal" country. Having achieved such status, Germany might redefine its interests in more "normal," more nationalist terms, and, in any event, will probably pursue its interests more assertively, less apologetically.

We can thus expect Germany to move more forcefully to protect the ultimate survival interest of any country, the third element of the triad noted earlier--its territorial integrity. And it is important to stress in this regard that Germans today mean the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic west of the Oder-Neisse. There are no expansionist claims that would be supported by any more than a tiny minority of right extremists within the country. That is not to say territorial issues might not come to the fore in the East despite the wishes of the German government and people. One such issue might arise as a result of German investment in and ethnic German immigration (from elsewhere in Russia) to Kaliningrad, the former East Prussian Koenigsberg, which now forms a heavily militarized Russian enclave on the southern Baltic.[8]

The Correlation of Forces

Such esoterica aside, German planners have to consider the unfavorable correlation of forces on their eastern borders in planning the defense of the homeland. That correlation is surely not in Germany's favor in terms of conventional ground forces. Nor is it in Germany's favor when one considers the sizable nuclear arsenal that Russia still possesses, not to mention the nuclear forces now at the command of Ukraine. To date, Germany has compensated for this imbalance through NATO and the extended nuclear deterrence of the United States. The credibility and value of both to Germany, however, could diminish rapidly. This has led some to speculate that Germany might at some point reconsider its unilateral renunciation of nuclear weapons. This does not appear to be a real possibility, however, at least during the next decade. It would cause direct damage to Germany's other interests and intensify Germany's security problem by giving rise to a harsh Russian reaction and to a rapid and perhaps final unraveling of Germany's Westpolitik.

Far more likely and far wiser from a German point of view would be a redoubling of its efforts to keep the United States engaged in Europe and to square that engagement with France's desire to strengthen the Franco-German core of the nascent European security identity based on the Western European Union and European Union.[9] Greater security in the defense of the homeland also will require getting the United States and Germany's other allies to acquiesce in expanding NATO and the European Union to East Central Europe and decreasing the sources of instability in the area. In this, Germany already has not only the acquiescence but the enthusiastic support of the Visigrad countries of East Central Europe.[10]

But what of Germany's West European partners? While they share the interest of the Germans in stability in the East, they do not share the intensity of that interest and therefore seem less inclined to invest in the East or to grant the countries there preferential treatment within the European Union.[11] But, in the end, they may have to give a little on this score to protect their far larger interest in keeping Germany a good team player in the European Union. They must realize that if the European Union cannot help Germany with its problem in East Central Europe, Germany, for its part, might lose interest in the union. If Germany were to go it alone, so, too, would the Bundesbank. Far better for France and the other Europeans to have a German-dominated Eurobank, over which they have some say, than a de facto Eurobank in the Bundesbank, over which they have no say.

On the security side of ledger, the French remain hesitant about a US-dominated NATO but increasingly inclined toward finding a better modus vivendi with NATO as other anchors on Germany seem to be losing their hold. Ironically, their preferred anchor--the Western European Union as the security arm of the European Union--probably offers the best hope of calming the security fears of the East Central Europeans and Germans without arousing concern in Russia. Much will depend on the attitudes of the Americans, attitudes that the Germans are probably best equipped to influence. Like the Germans, the French also realize that given the ever-present possibility events in Russia could turn sour on short notice, it would be prudent to ensure that the United States and NATO remain engaged until alternative arrangements can be created.

Toward a New European Balance

Achieving a new, more enduring balance of power in East Central Europe will require identifying and dealing with the commonalities and conflicts among the interests of the various players in the area and the relative strengths available to each to protect and promote those interests. Given its stake in the outcome, Germany will play a particularly important role in this process.

One common interest of all of Russia's western neighbors relates to ensuring that it develops along nonthreatening democratic lines conducive to stability in the area and within Russia itself. To a large degree, this is an interest shared by Russia and one that in no way runs counter to its real national interests--i.e., the economic welfare of its people and the reduction of threats and instability on its borders. This entails greater Western economic assistance to Russia, Ukraine, and the countries of East Central Europe.

Stability in East Central Europe and Russia is an interest felt most directly and most deeply by Germany, which as a result is prone to move most forcefully to meet the economic and security needs of its eastern neighbors. Its survival interests are so closely tied up with meeting those needs that Germany will do so unilaterally, if necessary. But all of Germany's Western allies, especially France, share an interest with Germany in making such unilateralism unnecessary. This, in turn, entails a need to proceed with the development of a common European foreign and security policy and a more accepting attitude toward such a union.

The trade-offs involved are obvious. Not so obvious, however, is the popular will elsewhere--in the United States or France--needed to make those trade-offs. Much will depend on whether the American people can be brought to perceive a strong enough interest in East Central Europe to help Germany, Russia, and the countries of the area decrease the security uncertainties that abound there. That perception does not now exist. Creation of a stable European balance with regard to East Central Europe also will require changed attitudes and a degree of sacrifice on the part of the French. They will have to accept a more rapid widening, a less rapid deepening of the European Union to assuage the security anxieties of the Germans and East Central Europeans and must be prepared to work more closely with the United States and NATO. And Europeans and Americans alike will have to find a way to factor in legitimate Russian security concerns without giving Russia a veto over the pursuit of legitimate Western security objectives.

Russia is not currently in a position to oppose directly the extension of Western security guarantees to East Central Europe. It should benefit from decreased instability on its western borders and from moves to lock potentially volatile governments there into more stable, more calculable security arrangements such as NATO. Far more troublesome from a Russian point of view would be bilateral arrangements between Germany and the East Central European governments. Such an outcome would be new, less calculable, and historically troubling. For the same historical reasons as well as a desire to be a part of a "West" that includes Paris and Brussels, the former is also the choice of the East Central Europeans. From a raw power point of view, however, they have little to say about the outcome.

For their part, the Germans also would prefer the multilateral Western approach. From a military power point of view, they have neither the wherewithal nor the will to go it alone. To be militarily credible against the Russians, they need the United States and their Western European allies. They realize, too, the political and economic costs that would be involved in any attempt to go it alone. Also, powerful as Germany might be economically, the economic price of going it alone would place intolerable burdens on German taxpayers and lead to unacceptable strains in the social fabric. Politically, the price might include the end of the European integration process and the more "European Germany" of Thomas Mann. Instead of leading to the integration of East Central Europe into Western Europe, such a course would leave Germany in the historically uncomfortable position of being the primus inter parus in Central Europe surrounded east and west by uneasy powers possessing nuclear weapons.

One such multilateral approach would be the Partnership for Peace, NATO's temporizing reply to the East Central Europeans' increasingly insistent demand to be folded into West Europe in a security sense. In many ways, it is but a warmed-over North Atlantic Cooperation Council (remember the NACC?), and East Central European leaders have not been shy in expressing their disappointment with the tentative nature of the Partnership and their unhappiness at the apparent deference being paid to Russia on this score. Recognizing that their leverage is weak, they are willing to accept the Partnership as a first step in an evolutionary process. They can be expected, however, to continue to press for a more binding commitment to full NATO membership, if the criteria set forth in the Partnership arrangement are met. As Polish Foreign Minister Olechowski put it: "We are being asked to talk like a duck and walk like a duck. When we finally convince NATO we are a duck, we do not want to be told that now they are looking for a goose."[12]


For a variety of reasons, however, NATO may not be the ideal or immediate means for pursuing such a multilateral approach. First, the Russians have made it clear that they still consider NATO to be an "enemy" alliance that they do not want extended to their doorstep. Second, France still considers NATO a tool for maintaining an American leadership role in Europe. Third, the United States appears reluctant to extend its nuclear deterrent to the countries of East Central Europe--an extension inherent in granting Article 5 NATO protection to those countries. One way around these NATO hang-ups would be to use the Western European Union as a means for proffering a security blanket to the East Central Europeans, a first, limited step being the 9 May 1994 granting of WEU "Associate Membership" to the countries of the area. The advantages mirror NATO's disadvantages. First, the WEU has neither the American nuclear arsenal nor the Cold War mantle of NATO and so should be less provocative to the Russians. Second, it is a European organization that should appeal more to France. Third, use of the WEU, with its deepening links to the EU, would complement eventual EU membership for the East Central Europeans, thus meeting an important German policy objective. That leaves the Americans.

Such a course need not leave the Americans out--if the United States pursues a wise parallel course. First, prudence demands that NATO and American ties to Europe through it not be disturbed during this delicate period of reestablishing a balance in East Central Europe. Europeans should be the first to realize this, given the possibilities of the rise of communo-fascist nationalism in Russia or conflict between that country and Ukraine. Second, continued, increased American economic assistance is crucial to economic recovery and democratization in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Finally, however, Americans must realize that as much as the Germans continue to rely on us and, in particular, our nuclear weapons during this transitional phase toward a new order, a "special relationship" is in neither party's interest. It would be far better for both to use our healthy bilateral relationship to carry the more necessary, more productive multilateral Euro-Atlantic relationship into the future.

Allowing our European allies the slack to proceed toward a European solution to the vacuum in East Central Europe may prove the ultimate test of American leadership over the next few years. It would buy us time to repair the economic and social fabric of our own country. It also would give us time to reconsider our interests vis-à-vis Europe and to reengage at some later point with renewed consensus and vigor. Finally, by forcing the Europeans to "do their own thing," it could lead to the strengthening of a European pillar in an alliance in which burdens are more equitably shared and, eventually, perhaps even a pan-European collective security system[13] that would involve both us and the Russians. Such a system--the ultimate balance--would not only fill the current vacuum in East Central Europe but end balance-of-power politics as we have known them on the Continent.

The achievement of such a European collective security system would contribute markedly to the possibility of a more meaningful global collective security system. It would enable a more secure Germany to contribute more equitably to the extra-European tasks inherent in the latter undertaking. It also would contribute to a solid building-block approach to global collective security, putting into place one of several regional components of an eventual global edifice. To the degree, moreover, that collective security can only work where--as in the Euro-Atlantic region--there are shared interests and understandings, it is the only way to proceed.


1. With apologies to Daniel S. Hamilton, who apparently was the first to use the term "Berlin Republic" to mean post-unification Germany in his "Beyond Bonn: America and the Berlin Republic" (Report of the Carnegie Endowment Study Group on Germany, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, January 1994). Labeling them by their respective capitals is probably as useful a way of delineating periods of German republican history as is the numbering of French republics for such French history.

2. "Divided detente" represented the German effort to insulate East-West German contacts from the ups and downs of US-Soviet relations. It was an effort that both the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) on the right and the Social Democrats (SPD) on the left supported with equal conviction. They both viewed it as being in the German interest.

3. Survey on the Bundeswehr in Oesterreichische Militarische Zeitschrift, 2 (1993), 172. These cuts are even more telling when one considers that a good portion of the current and upcoming budgets is expected to go for refurbishing some east German facilities and safely destroying other such facilities and vast stocks of equipment (see Wolfgang F. Schloer, "German Security Policy," Adelphi Paper 277 (1993), pp. 42 ff.).

4. The demographic pressures in this regard could be relieved somewhat by allowing in more ethnic Germans from Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan. There are more than three million such people in the East.

5. Schloer, p. 52.

6. Of course, German politicians are not the only ones facing problems created by a large diaspora of ethnic kinsmen abroad. Russia also has a major and perhaps vital interest in the protection of more than 25 million ethnic Russians who found themselves stranded in Ukraine, the Baltic states, and elsewhere in the CIS after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The new foreign policy posits as one of six top priorities "protecting the rights, freedoms, dignity and welfare of Russians" in its "Near Abroad." (See "Concept of the Foreign Policy of the Russian Federation," Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Concept Document No. 1615/IS, 25 January 1993, FBIS-USR-93-037, 25 March 1993, pp. 3, 11, and 19.)

7. Schloer, p. 29.

8. Poles, in particular, are worried about the fate of Kaliningrad. They worry that a German reassertion of sovereignty there would put into question their sovereignty over the southern half of the former East Prussia. They worry, too, about Lithuanian claims to the enclave and the prospects for conflict raised by those claims. Finally, while the Polish government would prefer to see the status quo (i.e., Russian sovereignty) maintained, it is not at all happy about the size and composition of the buildup of Russian forces in Kaliningrad. For their part, the Russians contend that buildup represents only a temporary in-gathering of forces removed from bases in the Baltic states.

9. Making this task perhaps a little easier are recent signs of a less doctrinaire French attitude toward NATO and a concomitant willingness to engage in closer military cooperation with NATO.

10. The Visigrad countries are Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia.

11. The result, despite the recession in Germany and a need to rebuild the eastern part of the country, is that the field is being left to Germany, which, given its proximity and earlier ties to East Central Europe, is quickly reestablishing its old market and its old banking dominance.

12. Stefan Olechowski, MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, WETA, 9 December 1993.

13. As Inis Claude has pointed out, "collective security is a term that easily lends itself to variant usages" ("Collective Security after the Cold War," in Inis Claude, Sheldon Simon, and Douglas Stuart, "Collective Security in Europe and Asia," Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., 2 March 1992, p. 8).

I do not use the term here in the classic sense described by Claude and Morgenthau--i.e., an all-encompassing system of world order in which each and every member is automatically obligated to come unconditionally to the defense of any other member attacked by another renegade within the system. I have in mind, rather, a European regional security system so large as to encompass all meaningful powers with an overwhelming preponderance of power and a shared interest in enforcing a Pax Europaeica. Obviously, going to war automatically against one's survival interest cannot be shared by anyone. Claude himself concludes that "the real choice [to act], however, is not between `sometimes' and `always' but between `sometimes' and `never.' Is there value in the possibility of collective measures under United Nations auspices in some cases, even if not in all? I believe that there is, and that the selective approach has merits." (Ibid., p. 24. Emphasis added.) For my part, I believe that the merits of collective security in this more limited sense were proven in Korea and in the Gulf War.

Collective security in this sense was also approached in the 19th century Concert of Europe, a balance of power writ large and with considerable staying power. While the achievement of such a state of affairs today would seem to fly in the face of Morgenthau's strongly worded contentions that "collective security cannot be made to work in the contemporary world as it must work according to its ideal assumptions" and that, under actual conditions, it "will not preserve peace, but will make war inevitable" (pp. 455-56), the "actual conditions" considered by Morgenthau--two alliances in a bipolar world--no longer exist.

Victor Gray is a recently retired Senior Foreign Service Officer with 26 years of service and extensive European experience. He has served in Berlin, Warsaw, and Munich, and as Consul in Krakow, Poland, which post he opened in 1973. In the Department of State, where he served as Director of Northern European Affairs from 1988 to 1990, he also held such positions as Officer-in-Charge of German Democratic Republic Affairs and, during the 1980-81 Solidarity crisis, Polish Affairs. Outside the department, Mr. Gray was Director of the Carnegie Endowment's "Face-to-Face" program from 1981 to 1982 and, from 1985 to 1986, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council of the United States. A 1962 graduate of the Naval Academy, Mr. Gray holds an M.A. in international relations from Boston University, and during the past three years he has served as the Department of State Chair at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. As with all Parameters articles, the views expressed are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of State or the Department of Defense.

Reviewed 26 February 1998. Please send comments or corrections to