The German Question in Moscow's ''Common European Home''

A Background to the Revolutions of 1989

by Eugene Rumer

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Concerned by what they see as the decline of NATO and a U.S. abandonment of its European burden, makers of Soviet foreign policy have sought a way to preserve the U.S. presence in Europe as a political balance and an additional guarantee against the resurgence of a powerful German state. The Soviet solution is called a "common European home" and has three key components: The first relies on the fears of West Europeans about the prospect of a West German hegemony. The second component calls for a more active Soviet role. Finally, the Helsinki Final Act ensures Soviet participation in a common European home, guarantees stable postwar borders in Europe, and provides for the United States' balancing presence in Europe. These trends in Soviet policy will benefit the United States and its NATO partners. This new political platform preserves NATO as a political alliance and gives it flexibility to address military and political issues.

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