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Deciding to Be Mars

Friday, March 30, 2012

Robert kagan’s article “Power and Weakness” fascinated Washington and European capitals when it appeared in this journal ten years ago. Its most famous line — “Americans are from Mars and Europeans are from Venus” — provided a succinct means of understanding transatlantic tensions in the era of George W. Bush. Although worldwide expressions of sympathy had followed the attacks of September 11, 2001, the American response to those attacks provoked widespread dismay in Europe. By 2002, the greatest source of tension was the Bush administration’s intent to invade Iraq. Europeans viewed this decision as unnecessarily bellicose and an unconscionable violation of sovereignty.

Most contemporary commentators blamed the Bush administration for the rift, but Kagan’s article offered a strikingly different interpretation. As Kagan put it, transatlantic tensions arose neither from Bush’s actions nor from inherent national characteristics. The tensions were “not a George Bush problem” but a “power problem.” Kagan argued that militarily powerful countries tended to act in more aggressive, or Martian, ways than weaker nations — and that the United States was the most militarily powerful country on earth. The situation had been reversed in earlier eras, with aggressive European nations overshadowing a weaker United States. But in the late 20th and early 21st century, it was the combined ability and willingness of the United States to project force that was causing the tensions. Such a problem, Kagan pointed out, predated and would outlast the George W. Bush era.

In particular, “Power and Weakness” emphasized the end of the Cold War as a key moment in the rise of transatlantic tension. The events of 1989–91 revealed, according to Kagan, that “United States military power” had “solved the European problem, especially the ‘German problem.’” The resulting disappearance of “the external danger of the Soviet Union . . . allowed Europe’s new order, and its new idealism, to blossom fully.”

European nations became correspondingly unwilling to deploy military force. They thereby put themselves into a kind of security debt to the United States: “Europe’s rejection of power politics, its devaluing of military force as a tool of international relations, have depended on the presence of American military forces on European soil.” Or, put more bluntly, “Europe’s new Kantian order could flourish only under the umbrella of American power exercised according to the rules of the old Hobbesian order.” And American power was entering an era of heightened activity, thanks again to the removal of the Soviet restraint. The new freedom of action enabled a wave of interventions in the 1990s, including in Panama, the Persian Gulf, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Meanwhile, because the European Union was de facto relying on the United States, its own foreign and security policy had a secondary status. Such policy became, in Kagan’s view, “the most anemic of all the products of European integration.”

Ten years on, how does this argument stand up? Other contributors to this forum have assessed Kagan’s arguments in the context of current international relations. This article will attempt to bring a historical perspective to the discussion.

Mars and Venus after the Cold War

Since the appearance of Kagan’s article in 2002, experts have gained access to a wealth of new evidence from the end of the Cold War. As a historian, I benefited from this material and published a study based on it in 2009, the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall. However, the subsequent 2010 anniversary of German unification and the 2011 anniversary of the collapse of the Soviet Union inspired archives, individuals, and governments to open even more sources to scrutiny. Kagan’s “Power and Weakness” provides a useful lens for viewing these materials because, with the items now available, it is possible to show that Kagan was more right than he knew about the Martian tendencies of Americans.

Kagan argued that the United States was primarily carrying out its Hobbesian mission of defending Europe “through the military structures of nato.” The United States and its European allies had, of course, created this transatlantic alliance in 1949 to defend Western Europe from the threat of the Soviet Union. But that threat was clearly declining by 1989, with the ussr’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in February, the beginnings of rudimentary electoral politics in both the Soviet Union and Poland in the spring and summer, and the end of the division of Germany in November. The threat then ceased to exist altogether when the Soviet Union collapsed in December 1991. In order to survive beyond the demise of its enemy, the transatlantic alliance would clearly have to redefine itself, not an easy challenge. Yet nato not only survived but also expanded. It thereby ensured the American dominance of post-Cold War European security described by Kagan.

The alliance achieved this outcome in the face of various alternative visions offered by Europeans themselves for their post-Cold War security. Or, to return to Kagan’s metaphor, evidence shows that the Venusians did not simply hand over the future of their security to Martians at the end of the Cold War as they pursued their Kantian dreams. Rather, indigenous and incipient visions for a new kind of European security emerged in the chaotic months following the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

As recorded in newly released documents from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library, it was in order to prevent such visions from gaining traction that Washington took active steps to perpetuate nato’s dominance in the post-Cold War world. The Bush administration thereby created the post-Cold War scenario described so vividly by Kagan in “Power and Weakness.” And once it became apparent that the United States intended to continue to devote its resources to European security, there was little incentive for the Europeans themselves to do so, thereby creating the kind of “free-rider” situation famously described by the scholars Mancur Olson and Richard Zeckhauser. In short, Europe became and stayed Venusian because of America’s Martian actions, exercised — as Kagan rightly pointed out — through the military structures of nato.

nato and European security

The endurance of nato turns out to be one of the most fascinating stories contained in the new evidence. Until recently, the role of nato at the end of the Cold War was not well understood. A Washington Quarterly article by Mark Kramer stated flatly in 2009 that, other than with regard to eastern Germany, “nato’s role vis-à-vis the rest of the Warsaw Pact countries never came up during the negotiations on German reunification.” The evidence now available demonstrates the opposite, namely, that the Bush administration from an early date considered nato to be the key to dealing with both Western and Eastern Europe in the post-Cold War era. Indeed, the Bush administration began thinking strategically about the future of nato even before the Berlin Wall came down on November 9, 1989.

The evidence now available demonstrates that the Bush administration from an early date considered NATO to be the key.

In October of that year, nato Secretary General Manfred Wörner assessed the alliance’s future with President George H.W. Bush and his top advisors, Secretary of State James Baker and National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. The secretary general spoke bluntly, saying that “the only safe basis for managing the Western approach in this time of change is through nato.” In his opinion, “The role of nato . . . is equivalent to visible American leadership.” Wörner strongly urged a willing Bush to rely on the alliance in the months to come. The secretary general, a West German, thereby displayed more loyalty to his institutional employer than to his fellow Europeans: “You should use the Alliance for managing East-West relations. Don’t let the Europeans go their own way. Use it.”

Bush and his top advisors agreed with Wörner’s strategic analysis of the role of the alliance. In a meeting with the Spanish prime minister, Felipe Gonzalez, just after Wörner’s October visit, Bush and Baker informed Gonzalez that the alliance represented the key to American strategy in Europe. In particular, Baker pointed out that the United States “will need nato to help us manage the changes in Eastern Europe.”

And Bush and his top advisors sought ways to maintain nato’s central role as the dramatic events in Eastern Europe unfolded. After the opening of the wall, the administration worried that West German leaders might, in the interest of uniting Germany, be willing to compromise in the area of security. As late as January 1990, Washington was concerned about the West German chancellor, Helmut Kohl, whose public comments suggested that he might be willing to try new security structures: “Kohl has said that rapid changes in Eastern Europe and in the relations between the alliances makes [sic] it impossible to say what the future European security architecture will be like.”1

There were also questions about the attitude of West Germany’s foreign minister, Hans-Dietrich Genscher. He seemed particularly willing to make concessions to Moscow in the interests of unification. During a February 1990 visit, Baker was concerned about Genscher’s desire “to assure the Soviets that nato would not extend its territorial coverage to the area of the gdr nor anywhere else in Eastern Europe for that matter.”

csce as a replacement for nato?

Baker also worried about the West German foreign minister’s preference for the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe as the organization that should shape the future of European security. Genscher had “put great emphasis on the csce process with a vision that csce ultimately be the vehicle to new security arrangements in all of Europe.” This idea was clearly one that would take some time to fulfill, as the csce in 1990 had yet to assume a permanent institutional form. Rather, it was a series of conferences, the first of which produced the 1975 Helsinki Accords. Signed by 35 nations from both sides of the Iron Curtain — including both superpowers — the Helsinki “Final Act” represented a truly pan-European pact. Western nations had signed it largely in the interest of clauses promoting human rights; the Soviet Union had signed it mainly in the interest of clauses declaring the post-World War II borders in Europe to be inviolable. Moscow regarded the Final Act as a kind of de facto peace treaty for the Second World War, not realizing that dissidents would become emboldened by the human rights protections in the agreement.

Genscher’s idea of negotiating the future of European security among the 35 nations of the csce was, in Bush’s opinion, an absolute “non-starter.” Baker countered Genscher’s enthusiasm for the csce by proposing a much smaller, less unwieldy forum: a “two-plus-four” group, involving only the two Germanies and the four occupying powers. Baker would eventually succeed with this policy. The two-plus-four forum, and not csce, would become the dominant venue for negotiating German unity, and it would intentionally limit its discussions to surrender of the four powers’ occupation rights, not the construction of new European security structures or the future of nato.

Still, the idea that csce would institutionalize and then play a dominant role in European security was a tenacious one. In February 1990, the wildly popular new Czechoslovakian president, Vaclav Havel, accepted an invitation to visit Washington. Havel had risen from prison to the presidency of his country during the revolution in Czechoslovakia. He had become an icon of triumph over tyranny and was honored with an invitation to address a joint session of Congress. However, what he had to say both in that address and in private meetings in the White House caused concern.

Havel called for all foreign troops to leave Eastern Europe. He sought a csce summit “devoted to the creation of a new European security system, also including links to the United States, Canada, and the ussr, but different from the present one.” Speaking privately with Havel, Bush tried to convince him of the need for Americans to stay: “our presence in Europe — military and economic — has been a stabilizing presence, not a threatening presence. We’re convinced of that in our hearts.” The American president assured his Czechoslovakian counterpart that “when we talk about a continued role for nato, we are not speaking of a Maginot Line across Europe, but a revised agenda, a political agenda, for nato and a stabilizing U.S. presence.” Havel, unconvinced, countered that nato should be “transformed into part of a new security system comprising all of the csce countries with a continuing U.S. role.” But Bush was certain that the development of a new kind of European security was an unjustifiably risky move. As he put it to Havel, “we want to manage change without earthquakes.”

Havel called for all foreign troops to leave Europe. Bush, privately, tried to convince him of the need for Americans to stay.

The president could not escape the topic. Meeting with the visiting Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky immediately after Havel’s visit, Bush had to beat back the csce idea once again. The Austrian pushed Bush on the issue of Helsinki, saying that there was a need to “consider some institutionalization of csce for the future.” Bush repeated that he wanted changes without earthquakes. Vranitzky responded that if the president wanted to talk about earthquakes, “one candidate is Yugoslavia. Only today the federal government sent more troops into [Kosovo].”

The conversation ended inconclusively, but soon thereafter the foreign minister of the first freely elected East German government made similar remarks publicly. The minister, Markus Meckel, echoed Havel in calling for a “special zone” of security in central Europe. Even the new Polish prime minister, Solidarity leader Tadeusz Mazowiecki, called for “an expanded csce . . . providing collective security in Europe for the longer term.” Such comments caused Baker to advise Bush that the “real risk to nato is csce.”

The early Polish and Czech support for the csce rather than nato is especially interesting in light of later developments. Although Poland and the Czechoslovakian successor states (the Czech Republic and Slovakia) would all eventually become members of nato, interest in the alliance was not their first response to the upheaval of 1989–90. They initially sought the “Europeanizing” of their security after the Berlin Wall opened. Indeed, fear of renewed German nationalism even caused Poland to extend tentative feelers to Moscow on the issue of security, to the amazement of Washington. However, as it became clear that the structure of post-Cold War security in Western Europe was going to remain exactly the same as Cold War security — nato, not a new pan-European structure — the new East European leaders realized that the smart move was to ensure that they ended up on the right side of the East-West divide this time, and began pursuing alliance membership by the spring of 1990.

In February 1990, however, before this outcome was known, Bush and his advisors felt that it was necessary to have a detailed, face-to-face conversation with Kohl about the future of European security. As Scowcroft put it, the time had come “for an honest and unadorned talk with Kohl about this bottom-line on security issues, despite the difficulty of pinning the chancellor down.” To emphasize the importance of the conversation, Bush invited Kohl to Camp David rather than to the White House. It was the first time that a West German chancellor had ever been so honored. The president also emphasized that the meeting would be very small, to ensure that significant decisions could be taken. Kohl viewed these instructions as an excuse to exclude Genscher, who was not as willing as Kohl to give up on the idea of a new European security structure.

Talks with Kohl about the future of European security were held at Camp David, in order to emphasize their importance.

Scowcroft summarized the policy goals for the Camp David meeting as follows: First, “commitment to full German membership in nato, including continued integration of German forces in the nato command.” Second and equally important was agreement on ways to ensure that the two-plus-four forum that Baker had proposed did not give the Soviets any kind of veto on the future of nato. It would be essential to reach “agreement on how to manage the two-plus-four negotiation on Germany to minimize Soviet ability to weaken Germany’s membership in nato.” Finally, it needed to be made clear to Kohl that American nuclear weapons would be staying in Europe, despite all of the dramatic changes that had occurred. “Kohl should understand that, if the frg [Federal Republic of Germany, or West Germany] pushes out all American nuclear weapons from Germany, it would be hard for the U.S. to persuade other countries on the continent to accept an American nuclear presence.” Scowcroft predicted that congressional opposition would result. In other words, the prospect of removing American nuclear weapons would “promptly jeopardize the U.S. troop presence in Europe itself because the Hill, and many senior defense officials, would demand that U.S. troops in Europe be protected by a nuclear deterrent based there.”

At the Camp David meeting, Bush and his advisors succeeded in convincing Kohl of these positions. The American president told Kohl that “we will stay in Europe. But it will be a tough fight.” Bush was particularly concerned to hear “the Polish Prime Minister talk about keeping Soviet troops in Eastern Europe . . . because of the issue of the Polish-German border. I don’t like that, and I don’t want to accept that.” The president was blunt: “the csce cannot replace nato . . . If that happens, we have a real problem.” Bush was happy to learn that Kohl agreed; as the chancellor put it, “I want America in Europe, and not only its military presence.” After this meeting, there were few disagreements between Bush and Kohl; Washington and Bonn worked closely together to pursue their common goals.

The Americans had more difficulty with the president of France, however. There had long been a divide between Atlanticists and Continentalists in nato, and François Mitterrand had, for his part, pinned his post-Cold War hopes on the latter view. He advocated a Gaullist idea of a “European Europe” and a diminished security role for Americans. Meeting with Mitterrand in April 1990, Bush tried to persuade the French president of the need to keep nato at the center of post-Cold War European security: “The csce cannot be a guarantor of security in Europe, but we do see an expanded role for nato.”

Mitterrand was dubious: “The role of NATO is already large. How could it be made larger?”

Mitterrand was dubious: “The role of nato is already large. How could it be made larger?” The French president continued that, in his view, “new opportunities are arising in Eastern Europe. These countries should take part in a confederable [sic] organization which would encompass our common concerns. This is an idea for the long term, and the confederation would be allied with the United States.” Mitterrand pointed out that “the East Europeans don’t know where to go” and so there was a need to set up “a forum to deal with this problem.” As he saw it, “Eastern Europe is all alone, poor and humiliated. This is the reason for my idea of a confederation. They will come with their hats in hand like beggars. This is bad.” He admitted that the “csce cannot solve all problems” but emphasized the need for a new European confederation that could. But Washington was unconvinced by what it internally called Mitterrand’s “pepo” or “pan-European people’s option.”

Mitterrand’s prediction about Eastern Europe seeking a new institutional home was soon proven accurate, however. Only one month after the French president made those remarks, in May 1990, Kohl informed Bush of Gorbachev’s latest nightmare. The Soviet leader was already facing opposition from both the left and the right at home, as well as a nosediving economy. Now, as Kohl put it, Gorbachev had a new problem: “His East European allies say they want to be in nato.”

Trying to fend off such challenges, Gorbachev voiced a number of schemes for the future of European security. He began proposing previously unimaginable ideas, such as putting Germany into both nato and the Warsaw Pact, thereby creating a kind of merger between the two organizations. The Russian leader even talked about putting the Soviet Union itself into the alliance. When he personally proposed both ideas to Bush at the Washington Summit in late May 1990, the president dismissed them as jokes, although Gorbachev was serious. Bush subsequently called Kohl to complain about Gorbachev’s “screwy” notions for European security.

In return, Kohl advised Bush that Gorbachev was “seeking a way to settle the nato issue” and suggested that the Soviet leader might be reconciled to the alliance’s expansion into former Soviet Bloc territory if he were offered some kind of financial lifeline. Earlier in the spring, Kohl had advised Bush of the need to support Gorbachev: “Where is the greater danger — supporting him or waiting for someone else? A successor won’t be better.” Now, the German chancellor thought that there was a new reason that “we should stabilize Gorbachev. Yeltsin is not a substitute. He is appealing to Slavophile feeling,” which could be dangerous. Kohl also did not understand the divergence between Bush’s view of China and his view of the ussr. Speaking to the American president a month after the Tiananmen Square massacre, Kohl complained about this divergence, saying “it’s not logical to say that we must help China despite the lack of economic reform while denying assistance to the ussr because Gorbachev is dragging his feet on Perestroika.”2

Bush would remain firm in his opposition to any kind of American financial help for the Soviet Union, however. Kohl finally decided to attend to the matter himself. The chancellor secured Gorbachev’s written agreement to full nato membership for a united Germany, and the option for nato to deploy eastwards of its 1989 border, by securing generous financial support from German, not American, sources.

Widening the frame: The U.S. and China

But kohl had a point about the differing U.S. attitudes towards Europe and China, one relevant to Kagan’s image of Americans as Martian. Kagan’s description arises from a larger theoretical point, namely that a country’s power level determines its strategic culture. While this point is hard to dispute, it has to be considered in relative terms. At the end of the Cold War, Washington clearly felt itself to be on very firm footing relative to Europe. The U.S. appears to have perceived itself to be in a weaker position relative to China, judging by the nature of its response to the Chinese events of spring 1989.

The leaders of the Chinese Communist Party had decided in June 1989 to use the People’s Liberation Army to clear Tiananmen Square forcibly, after weeks of protests and occupation. The military operation and the political crackdown afterward both succeeded. The party maintained its hold on power even as one East European regime after another collapsed. Unsurprisingly, there are not open archives on Tiananmen Square in the People’s Republic of China, but evidence has nonetheless leaked out and become available.

On China, the evidence shows that Bush and his top advisors took the kind of approach that Kagan ascribes to Europeans.

This evidence shows that, instead of a Martian response, Bush and his top advisors took the kind of approach that Kagan ascribes to Europeans: “peaceful responses to problems, preferring negotiation, diplomacy, and persuasion to coercion.” In 1989, Bush handled policy toward the prc personally, which he viewed as appropriate given his background as the former head of the American Liaison Office in Beijing (a precursor organization to the reopening of full diplomatic relations and an embassy). In the midst of the public outcry over the bloodshed in Tiananmen Square, Bush felt strongly that his highest priority was maintaining close relations, not trumpeting the significance of human rights. He did authorize a suspension of military sales to Beijing, a ban on high-level visits, and other restrictions. Given that, by fiscal year 1987, China ranked second only to Saudi Arabia as a recipient of weapons from the U.S., these were significant measures. But it soon became clear from Bush’s own actions that there were ways around these measures and that his intentions were conciliatory, not punitive.

The president’s priorities did not change even when People’s Liberation Army troops attacked the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The attack took place at about 10:00 a.m. on June 7, 1989, as Ambassador James Lilley was convening a general staff meeting to discuss potential evacuation plans in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Chinese helicopters circled overhead as an armor-escorted convoy of approximately 50 to 70 trucks, carrying about 25 soldiers each, opened fire on the embassy. According to embassy reports and Lilley’s memoirs, the pla troops “hit several apartments in the Jianguomenwai diplomatic compound with automatic weapons fire.” They shot out “windows in three apartments of U.S. embassy personnel.” The pla targeted “any spectators who did not cower immediately behind nearby protective cover.”

Acting in a Venusian manner in response, the next day Bush initiated an unprecedented and extraordinary direct phone call to the de facto leader of the prc, Deng Xiaoping. Extraordinary, but not successful: No one of significance would come to the phone. Bush reportedly asked for a return call from Deng, but never received one. Rebuffed at that level, Bush tried a number of other initiatives, such as having Baker meet with prc Foreign Minister Qian Qichen. Bush also sent a letter directly to Deng. As he recalled in his memoirs, co-written with Scowcroft, Bush spoke to Deng “straight from my heart.”

The clearest sign of Bush’s dedication to maintaining good relations was the president’s dispatch of Scowcroft to Beijing on a secret mission on June 30–July 1, just weeks after the massacre, with a second visit in December. Once in Beijing, Scowcroft was subjected to a tongue-lashing: He had to listen to an account of how Washington was the source of the difficulties of 1989. His goal, as recounted in the joint Bush-Scowcroft memoir, was to “keep open the lines of communication,” so he remained conciliatory. After news of Scowcroft’s trips became public, media reports questioned why the Bush administration was violating its own ban on “high-level” visits to a country still under martial law (which was not lifted until January 1990).

Bush was undeterred; he vetoed legislation, sponsored by Representative Nancy Pelosi, meant to enable Chinese citizens studying in the United States to extend their stays. He also extended most-favored-nation trading status to China. Finally, Bush backed the decision of the Japanese prime minister to “go ahead” with a large yen loan to China. It was this decision that had inspired to Kohl to complain that Bush was not offering similar backing for loans to Gorbachev. Even Gorbachev noticed the discrepancy. According to the journalist James Mann, the Soviet leader began to wonder aloud if he would improve his chances of getting much-desired loans and other aid from the United States if he declared martial law too.

The relative nature of Mars and Venus

How does kagan’s article help us to understand this evidence? Does it shed light on the motives behind U.S. foreign policy at the pivotal moment of the end of the Cold War? The discussion above suggests three answers.

First, Kagan’s concept of the United States as a Martian force correlates well with the muscular U.S. response to the dramatic events of 1989. Indeed, it is a better guide even than analyses offered later, such as the Kramer article of 2009 cited above, or G. John Ikenberry’s 2011 study, Liberal Leviathan. As Ikenberry put it, “If the end of the Cold War was itself a surprise to many observers, so too was what followed: the remarkable stability and continuity of cooperation within the American-led order. Few observers expected this outcome either.”

The evidence offers a different story. The perpetuation of the American-led order, far from being an enormous surprise on the order of the opening of the Berlin Wall, was Washington’s conscious policy choice. The focus of this policy was the maintenance of the status quo, namely, American dominance of European security via nato. And the idea that nato might come to include Eastern Europe was already part of the discussion on both sides of the Iron Curtain as early as 1990. During the negotiations that followed the falling of the wall and culminated with German unification, Washington succeeded in convincing leaders of both Eastern and Western European countries that nato, not csce or a new organization, would determine European security. While opinions differ as to whether or not this policy success benefited Europe — East European dissidents, for example, strongly preferred the Europeanization of security — the evidence makes clear that the policy was a conscious and a Martian one.

Washington succeeded in acting Martian with the Europeans because it was able to win over key leaders.

Second, while historical evidence supports Kagan’s analysis of transatlantic relations — the subject of “Power and Weakness” — the picture looks different when the frame is enlarged to include U.S. relations with China. Kagan addresses the prc only in passing. He suggests that after the Cold War, Europeans could rely on the United States “to deal with the Saddams and the ayatollahs, the Kim Jong Ils and the Jiang Zemins, leaving the happy benefit to others.” Evidence suggests, however, that there were limits to the Martian ambitions of Washington when it came to Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders. The picture emerging from the newest evidence is of a U.S. foreign policy committed to defending the status quo in the face of change, whether that be nato or cooperative relations with China. In a situation where the United States did not dominate the security system of the region, Bush adopted the strategies that Kagan ascribed to Venusians: conciliation and negotiation.

In other words, the Mars/Venus division is contextual and follows from self-perceived relative power. Washington succeeded in acting Martian with Europeans because it was able to win over key leaders such as Helmut Kohl in its effort to do so. Without such domestic partners in China, and facing a leadership willing to use force, the options were more limited. The United States became much less of a Martian in dealing with a dragon. Chinese leaders were aware of this behavior at the time because, in their opinion, the United States had taken (in the remarks of Politburo member Qiao Shi) “no real countermeasures” in response to Tiananmen Square.3

Third and finally, the issue of Europeans as Venusians requires more nuance. They were not so Venusian at the end of the Cold War as to forgo all plans for their future security and proceed directly to their post-history Kantian paradise. Rather, European leaders proposed alternative policies for their security, such as an expanded csce or a new Europe of overlapping and cooperative confederations. But such alternatives seemed like they might take too long to emerge. nato was a known commodity, did not need to be institutionalized (such as csce) or invented (such as a new confederative structure for Europe, as Mitterrand proposed). Both American and West German politicians successfully presented reliance on the alliance as the safe way to move forward, and were rewarded with popular support. Thereafter, a self-reinforcing “free-riding” dynamic began to develop. Since Washington was clearly willing to take the lead and allocate resources to European security, there was less incentive (either military or economic) for Europeans to devote resources to it. Whether a new European security system would have been a better outcome than the perpetuation of nato is a matter of debate. But the sequence of events is now a matter of historical record. American’s Martian moves ultimately forced Europeans who wanted to take greater responsibility for their own security into the Venusian stance described by Kagan.

1. Direct quotations in the first section, “nato and the structure of post-Cold War European security,” in order of citation, from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library (gbpl), document dated Oct. 11, 1989, released by Author’s Request for Mandatory Review (armr) number 2008-0637; Oct. 19, 1989, armr 2008-0637; and Jan. 22, 1990, armr 2008-0618.

2. Direct quotations in the second section, “csce as a replacement for nato?,” in order of citation, from the gbpl, Feb. 3, 1990, armr 2008-0620; “non-starter” quoted in Mary Sarotte, 1989 (Princeton Univ. Press, 2009); Feb. 3, 1990, armr 2008-0620; Feb. 2, 1990, armr 2008-0613; June 11, 1990, armr 2008-0670; Mar. 21–22, 1990, armr 2008-0614; “risk to nato” quoted in Mary Sarotte, “Perpetuating U.S. Preeminence,” International Security 35:1 (2010); Feb. 23, 1990, Freedom of Information Act (foia) document release 2009-0275-s; Feb. 24, 1990, armr 2008-0618; Feb. 24, 1990, armr 2008-0651; Apr. 19, 1990, armr 2008-0615; May 17, 1990, armr 2008-0616; gbpl, June 1, 1990, foia 2006-0575-f, and document 305, Dokumente zur Deutschlandpolitik: Deutsche Einheit (Oldenbourg, 1998); May 17, 1990, armr 2008-0616; gbpl, June 8, 1990, armr 2008-0691; and July 9, 1990, armr 2008-0691.

3. Quoted in Mary Sarotte, “Combatting Contagion,” forthcoming.

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