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.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.
This research in the public interest was supported by RAND, using discretionary funds made possible by the generosity of RAND's donors, the fees earned on client-funded research, and independent research and development (IR&D) funds provided by the Department of Defense.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.