trade union weekly Tygodnik Solidarnosc.rnThe armehair warriors who talked about the return tornPoland of Lviv (the capital of western Ukraine) and Vilniusrn(the capital of Lithuania) are history. But the dream of a Polishrnrole in re-Christianizing Belarus, Ukraine, and perhapsrnRussia is strong, as witnessed by the throngs of Polish priestsrnand nuns who volunteer to go east as missionaries, risking lifernand limb. While some chauvinistic Ukrainians are formingrnparamilitary units and demanding a piece of southeast Poland,rntheir role in Ukrainian politics seems confined to the lunaticrnfringe. The Czechs are less than friendly toward Hungariansrnand Germans, with whom they have had historical disputes.rnThe Poles are suspicious of Germans and Ukrainians, not tornmention Russians. Belarus is barely holding to its name, andrnEnglish usage is unhelpful, for it has not yet decided how torncall the nationals of that country: Belarusscs or Bclarussians?rnThese problems do not pose a clear and present danger tornEast Central European stability and peace. None of the EastrnCentral European countries is about to slide into violence becausernof infighting, minority oppression, and the like. Thernpeaceful division of Slovakia and Czechia (despite continuingrnbickering over property and the citizenship of 100,000 Gypsies)rnexemplifies the relations between nations in this area ofrnEurope. Hungary’s bitterness concerning the substantialrnHungarian minorities in Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia willrnnot translate into armed intervention.rnThe main danger is the revival of Russian imperialist ambitions.rnThe blindness of the West in that regard, the frequencyrnwith which American scholars and journalists express theirrnfear that a “fascist” trend may take over in “Eastern Europe,”rnare really marks of their sympathy for Russia, of a longing thatrnsome day post-Soviet Russia will reassert its will over half ofrnEuropean civilization, altering the fundamentals of that civilization.rnThe left’s fierce reaction to articles such as Huntington’s,rnas well as vociferous opposition from erstwhile “Sovietrnexperts” in academia to NATO membership for Poland,rnthe Czech Republic, and Hungary, are of similar provenance.rnI’his longing and opposition stem from the Suicide of thernWest basis of liberalism so eloquently argued by the late JamesrnBurnham.rnThe continuing preferential treatment of Russia by Westernrnelites is by far the most destabilizing factor in this region.rnPoland, Czechia, Slovakia, and Hungary vis-a-vis Russia arc likernfree-standing bottles of liquor facing an alcoholic. Instead ofrnremoving the Russian temptation to expand by eliminating thernpower vacuum in East Central Europe, Western leaders contributernto the growth of Russia’s revanehism by signaling theirrnindccisivcness to the Russian Foreign Office. While the IMEimposcdrnbudgets of East Central European countries keeprnnational deficits around three to four percent of the GDP (thernCzech Republic has none), the same IMF allows Russia arndeficit that is twice that (8.3 percent in the first six months ofrn1994 and, according to the “fantasy budget” approved by thernDuma on January 25, “only” 7.7 percent in 1995). Westernrnlenders turn a blind eye to the fact that Russian deficits financernthe military and not the citizenry.rnAfter the 1993 coup, when Yeltsin apparently struck a dealrnwith the army, Russian foreign policy changed dramatically. Itrnbecame aggressive and assertive. The West has made a weakrnresponse to the reawakening of Russia’s territorial greed. Yetrnit is virtually certain that if Russia yields to the temptation ofrnstepping into the East Central European power vacuum, beforernthese countries are absorbed by NATO, she will eo ipsornsign a death warrant for her own chances of democracy andrnpeaceful development.rnDuring the Cold War, Western leaders welcomed any staternthey could into NATO. Greece, Turkey, and Norway all servedrnthe common purpose of enlarging the realm of Westernrnsecurity. Turkey bordered directly on the Soviet Union, andrnNorway continues to border on the Russian Federation. Yetrnthe Soviets (who were stronger and more dangerous than thernRussians are now) did not say much when these countriesrnjoined NATO. But today, the West genuflects before Russia’srndemand that the realm of Western security be strengthenedrnno further, certainly not by admitting the countries of EastrnCentral Europe into NATO.rnIf an armed conflict develops in this region in the 1990’s orrnearly 21st century, it will be caused, abetted, and directed byrnRussians. It will be similar to those conflicts that Russia hasrnso skillfully stirred up along its southern border (the Chechenrnsaga is a recent example). All other East Central Europeanrnwars are virtually certain to be fought in letters to the editorrnand speeches in padiament. The nations of the region are nowrnbusy nursing their bruised national identities. Their overwhelminglyrnnonradical political parties try to return to normalcy,rnfor they never lost sight of their vision of normalcy.rnThat is what they want—to be “ordinary” European countries,rnjust like Holland or France, surrounded by other Europeanrncountries, bickering in their parliaments over problems ofrneconomy and culture. During the foreseeable future, relationsrnbetween these nations will remain correct if not cordialrn—unless they once again fall to intrigue and violence fromrnthe East. crnLIBERAL ARTSrnCOUNTING OUR BLESSINGS?rn”Wc .should really appreciate the I .ouis FarrakhaiLS and KhallidrnMuhammads while we’ve got them. While guysrntalk a lot, they don’t actually do anything. The new crop ofrnleaders are going to be a lot more dangerous and radical, andrnthe next phase will probably be led by charismatic individuals,rnmaybe even teenagers, who urge that instead of killingrneach other, they should go out in gangs and kill a whole lottarnwhite people.”rn—Derrick Bell, a black New Yor^ Ihiiversityrnlaw professor, as quoted in thernChicago Tribune.rnAPRIL 1995/25rnrnrn