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Recognizing Complexity in Eastern Europe : a Case for Differentiating Among Communist States

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image of Southeastern Europe

Although Moscow's security interests define the limits of foreign policy behavior and domestic liberalization in Eastern Europe. American relations with communist Europe in the 1960s and 1970s differentiated between and among member states of the Warsaw Pact. A policy of differential relations with communist Europe is a policy of sensitivity to complexity—to the differences between, for example, the role of Romania vis-à-vis the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in the Warsaw Pact. A finely tuned foreign policy requires such sensitivity to avoid broad and erroneous categorizations that portray American international views as irretrievably simple. Were we to distance ourselves as far from Bucharest as from Moscow, we would be ignoring the qualities that led to visits by Presidents Nixon and Ford to Bucharest and which encouraged Most Favored Nation (MFN) status for Romania. A policy which distinguishes among communist states and leaders contrasts with the simplistic view that Soviet manipulation is total, and rejects the dichotomy that East Europeans are either puppets or national patriots, with no choice between. The political worlds of leaders and citizens in these states are much more complex, and we require a policy premised on such complexity.

Affiliations: 1: (University of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky., U.S.A.

10.1163/187633384X00151
/content/journals/10.1163/187633384x00151
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/content/journals/10.1163/187633384x00151
1984-01-01
2016-12-04

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