European Security in the 1990s

Uncertain Prospects and Prudent Policies

by Robert A. Levine

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This Note examines ways of thinking about public policy in general, and security policy in particular, in light of the political and economic changes rapidly taking place in Europe. It pays special attention to the breakup of the Soviet empire and the reunification of Germany — and the resulting uncertainty. This uncertainty demands adaptive short-run planning that is sensitive to the underlying factors and that responds to prudent policies. The author identifies four precepts to guide future policy decisions: (1) hold on to what has worked, (2) hedge against that which is uncertain and dangerous, (3) support positive movement, and (4) act to avoid or forestall that which without action would be certain and dangerous.

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