German Unification and Its Ramifications

by Ronald D. Asmus


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This report assesses the political, economic, foreign, and security policy implications of German unification and draws the central conclusion that unification has fundamentally transformed Germany's position and role in Europe. The author identifies four dangers facing German policymakers: (1) residual uncertainties of German domestic politics in the wake of unification; (2) the possibility that Germany will not engineer its political and economic integration into the European Community as quickly or as comprehensively as it hopes; (3) the chance that Germany will be overwhelmed by the problems of political and economic reconstruction farther to the east; and (4) Germany's need to develop and sustain a satisfactory relationship with the Soviet Union when the Soviet state is fragmented. The U.S. role in Germany and Europe will not be one of a controller or mentor, but rather one of a key leadership partner in the Western world; the United states will be a key interlocutor with the Soviet Union on security issues.

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