COMMONWEALnA Future fornEuropenby Thomas MolnarnPolitical scientists are now grumpy.nInstead of waxing enthusiasticnabout the 40 days that shook the woridn—let us say from the crumbling of thenBerlin Wall to Ceausescu’s executionn—they resent the brutal intrusion ofnreality on their slumber. It used to be soncomfortable to think in terms of superpowernpseudo-polarity, and global democratizationnis likely now to sufferndelay. Just four months ago I heard annoted sociologist explain that there wasnno altemative to capitalist democracyn(no, it was not Francis Fukuyama); andnnow people have the disturbing impressionnthat in East-Central Europe twonpowers (superpowers?) plus a dozen ornso nations are reemerging, whose historynis stamped with other than democraticnand capitalist traditions. While handsnare being wrung and teeth gnashed,nhistory in East Europe renews its coursenon its accustomed two tracks. One isngeopolitics, marked mainly by the fluctuatingnpower relationship of Moscownand Berlin, with a vast and immemoriallyncontested area between them. Thenother is ideology, pertaining to the kindnof regimes that these nations, mostly innVITAL SIGNSna deep-freeze since 1945, will choosen— and so dictate their partners, alliances,nplace in Europe, and in thenworld.nA radio station that called to interviewnme noted that many people aren”hysterically” (the interviewer’s term)nopposed to these changes. That may benso in the New York area; about fivenhundred million people in EasternnEurope are deliriously, and of coursencautiously, happy. This is, after all,nwhat the Wheel of Fortune is about.nHysteria or happiness, the future is nonlonger in the hands of the smug andnunimaginative political class, nor indeednin the hands of the planetarynarbitrators in London, Paris, Washington—nor Moscow. Nineteen fifty-six,n1968, 1979, 1989 could be ignored bynthese ex-decision makers in their diplomaticnfortresses. They shed a few crocodilentears for show, but the importantnthing, the status quo, remained. Thisntime, the cry against repression hasngrown from a whimper to a shout, andncannot be ignored. The sound emanatesnfrom a great power, Germany, ornrather Prussia.nPrussia has had, of course, a badnpress, ever since Frederick the Greatnand since the dismissal of the FrankfurtnParliament in 1849. But it is the provincenwhose mission it has been tonreassemble the German fragments —nafter Napoleon, then again with Bismarck.nThus when Prussians began tonmarch toward the Wall, Moscow knewnthat the game was up. It is one thing tonrepress Budapest, Prague, Warsaw, andnRiga; quite another to challenge Germany.nIn fact, and contrary to the lastminutenhopes that Gorbachev wouldnveto reunification, the Soviet leadernexpected it all along — and welcomednit! Why am I committing to paper suchnblasphemous words? Unlike thosenWestern commentators who focusntheir attention on Gorbachev’s psychology,nsincerity, and his past innAndropov’s shadow, let’s look at thenconcrete situation in which he, or whoevernwould replace him, finds himselfnnnGorbachev well knew that the Russians’neconomic woes were not worsenin the 1980’s than before, as he alsonknew that Russia has long been annunderdeveloped country, slightly belownthe level of Nepal. Thus thenimportant thing is not that the Politburoncannot feed the population, butnthat certain realities that up to nownhave been ignored — religion andnnationhood — have been surfacingneverywhere in the empire, dismantlingnLenin’s fragile construction. Suddenly,nin the 80’s, Moslems and Christiansnwent on the offensive, both as religiousnfaiths and national entities. Years beforenthe Berlin Wall crumbled, Gorbachevnknew it was over.nUnder the circumstances, his tasknhas been to save the Russian Empirenand to associate it, in spite of the shoutsnfrom Tallinn to Bucharest of “Russki,nout!,” with a nonoccupied East Europe.nThis, again, is not merely anneconomic issue; during more than fourndecades marked by blood and hatred,nRussia became nevertheless used toncontact with Europe, not only as annoccupying power, but also as what onenmay describe as a cultural contact.nRussia clearly derives benefits of allnsorts from this association. Her offer ofna partnership would be rejected by hernprevious victims, however, unless itnwere guaranteed by East Europe’s naturalnprotector vis-a-vis Muscovy: anstrong, hence unified, Germany.nWith this guarantee and no other donthese nations welcome the Moscownconnection. A sure sign of this isnVaclav Havel’s recommendation tonCongress that the U.S. help Russianovercome its deep difficulties. JozsefnAntall, Hungarian party leader, soundedna similar note: the area needs anconsolidated Germany. The two requestsnstem from a sure grasp of geopolitics:nthe main condition of EastnEuropean stability is German-Russianncooperation.nOne hopes that the American readernunderstands the significance of allnthis. Walesa, Havel, and Antall wantnthe Soviet troops out. At the same timenlUNE 1990/49n