Page 7in Europe (CFE) Treaty signed in November 1990; the scheduled withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Central and Eastern Europe as a result of the revolutions of 1989; and the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991. Furthermore, the Soviet Union has moved toward restructuring its military forces in a more defensive manner, has withdrawn a large fraction of its forces from the Far East, and has implemented the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which eliminates a class of missiles in which Soviet forces far outnumbered those of NATO. In response, the nature of NATO and Western European defense policy is also undergoing a rapid restructuring.
The profound and largely unexpected shifts of the last 6 years have changed the security landscape in two fundamental ways. First, the dangerous confrontation of NATO and Warsaw Pact forces in the center of Europe has dissolved; the threat to peace in Europe that defined East-West forces for decades has largely disappeared. In its place is a new “zone of peace” hundreds of miles wide that separates Soviet and NATO forces. This means that neither side could mount an aggressive thrust without months of easily visible preparations. It also means that the Central and Eastern European states are left outside of any binding security framework. Second, the Soviet Union has evolved part way toward being accepted as a partner of the West, cooperating in security endeavors on a broad front. Most recently, Soviet cooperation made it possible to form and operate the coalition against Iraq under a United Nations umbrella.
Strong conservative opposition to rapid liberalization has now emerged in the Soviet Union and has succeeded in slowing or reversing a number of policies. This opposition has gained influence by opposing the secession of any of the Soviet republics and urging armed intervention, if necessary, in quelling ethnic conflict. Much of its strength is drawn from the Communist Party and the military (although significant parts of the military are not involved), and since both of these policies involve greater reliance on the armed forces, the influence of the conservative military has grown.
It is difficult to foresee the extent to which the positive developments of the Gorbachev era may be put at risk. The political shape and governance of the Soviet Union during the next decade are an even greater unknown. Regression toward a repressive, centrally controlled dictatorship or fragmentation into many separate republics would clearly interrupt the flow of change that has taken place. Such developments alone, however, would not restore a credible Soviet external threat. The two decisive achievements of 1989-1990—Soviet withdrawal from Eastern Europe and the unification of Germany within the NATO framework—have decisively changed the geopolitical map of Europe in crucial, almost certainly irreversible, ways.
The various possible outcomes in the Soviet Union must be taken into account in examining potential changes in U.S. nuclear policy. The chal