decade of the century opens with events no less astounding then
those of the previous year. Change follows change in the Soviet
Union and Eastern Europe. Gorbachev, a popular figure in the West
but a mistrusted one in his own country, announces that political
pluralism will be introduced and the domination of the Soviet Communist
between East and West herald both an Open Skies Treaty and negotiated
reductions cutting back conventional forces in Europe. Talk turns
to the unification of Germany, symbol of the divided Europe now
pace of change does not stop. Further impossibilities of the old
order become realities in the new one. The three Baltic states,
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia embark on the road to independence.
East German citizens vote massively for "Alliance for Germany" and
their government translates their decision into action by declaring
itself in favour of unification and membership of the whole of Germany
in the NATO Alliance. In Hungary, democracy wins a decisive victory
in free elections.
of no return is reached when the borders between Czechoslovakia,
Austria and Germany are opened and new found freedom to travel is
seized upon by Czech citizens and their Eastern neighbours.
By the Spring
of 1990, the Warsaw Pact, the mechanism which bound Eastern Europe
to the will of the Soviet military leadership, begins to dismantle
itself. Hungarian Prime Minister Josef Antall announces his government's
decision to withdraw from it.
Another new development brings Albania - long excluded by its own
government from the affairs of the international community - into
the 35 nation Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.
As if reluctant to switch the lights - and the old Europe - back
on, Western governments observe the transformation of the political
map of Europe with caution. Many of their most cherished political
goals are becoming reality before their eyes. Public opinion too
is stunned by the speed of events and waits to see where the momentum
domino progression of change in Europe's fifty -year old status
quo, Alliance Foreign Ministers seize the moment. In a little known
declaration of immense symbolic significance, NATO's "Message from
Turnberry" extends to the Soviet Union and all European countries
the hand of cooperation and friendship. This message, which is nothing
less than a proposal to put past animosities aside for the sake
of future cooperation, contained the seeds of many of the positive
developments which are to follow.
1990, progress towards German unification is taking on concrete
form. Monetary union is established as the first practical step.
In NATO, with a Summit meeting scheduled to take place in London
within days, there is uncertainty about the course to take.
of multinational diplomacy, accustomed to turn slowly when no immediate
crisis threatens, begin to rotate more rapidly. The scale of Eastern
Europe's transformation calls for a response no less significant
from the West. It comes in the form of the London Declaration on
a Transformed North Atlantic Alliance. This contains a plan of action
for developing cooperation between East and West and initiates diplomatic
contacts between NATO and its former adversaries as the first step
towards genuine cooperation.
to March 1991. The world stage is dominated by the Iraqi invasion
of Kuwait and the efforts of the international community to head
off the inevitable conflict which ensues. The overall responsibility
of the United Nations for maintaining peace and security is severely
challenged. A coalition against the Iraqi aggression forms to enforce
UN Security Council decisions. NATO is not formally involved but
its member countries draw extensively on NATO experience and expertise
in creating this multinational force. Can the world draw lessons
from the conflict and devise new methods of safeguarding the future
security of small states?