International problems of economic integration

Anton G. de Robertis

and Withering of the Third Chance

Антон Дж. де Робертис Расцвет и увядание третьей возможности

Abstract. The article provides an overview of the main historical stages of becoming a sustainable world order in the 20th century, starting with the idea of a League of Nations after the First World War and ending with the disappearance of the bipolar world order after the destruction of the USSR.

Keywords: world order, the bipolar system, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Аннотация. Статья посвящена обзору основных исторических вех становления устойчивого мирового порядка на протяжении XX столе- тия, начиная с идеи создания Лиги наций после Первой мировой войны и заканчивая исчезновением биполярного устройства мира после распада СССР.

Ключевые слова: мировой порядок, биполярная система, В. Вильсон,

Ф. Рузвельт, М. Горбачев.

The formula of the New International Order has been a recurring motif in the statements of the major political leaders at the end of the twentieth century, in those years called by the late Tony Judt "the years that the locust ate'*, because of the oblivion that fell on the promises and hopes raised during the confrontation that led to the end of the Cold War.

The concept of the New International Order is anyway much older than the nineties of the last century; it became a concrete political proposal together with a clear definition in the second decade of the XX century when on January 1917, the first world war already running since a luster, president

Woodrow Wilson made his speech asserting the need that all the states, members of the international system, adopted a policy of implementation of their common interest in spite of the traditional one aimed at the individual national interest. That would have lead them "to live their own lives under a common protection>, within the new system of collective security.

As we all know, the instrument devised by President Wilson for the implementation of his project, the League of Nations, failed with the outbreak of the Second World War. But during the course of the World War II, in the same United States, that had refused the League, a second taught started to develop about the opportunity to give a new chance to the collective security policy.

President Roosevelt and his aides, Knew dealers", engaged in the elaboration of the structure of an organization, able in their intentions to avoid the repetition of the terrible struggle then under way. He succeeded, in a way, even after his death to get the approval of the chart of the new Organization of the United Nations by the San Francisco conference of all the members of the wartime coalition.

A chart aimed to establish an effective system of collective security through the involvement in the decision process of all the major factor of power of the actual international system and the empowerment of a security council to the adoption of military measures against an aggressor.

Even this second attempt revealed itself ineffective because of the breakup of the wartime coalition and the beginning of the cold war and the setting one against the other of the two major factors of power come out of the conflict. It proved to become a special type of confrontation aimed to the conquest of the "soul of mankind,> as stated with an inspired idea, in the same ti- tle of his study by the American scholar Melvin Leffler. Even this peculiar confrontation between the American and the Soviet systems finished thanks to the loss of confidence in his own system by the same leaders of the soviet bloc. It is not a case if in more than one of the history books on the cold war the chapter about the end of the struggle mention the outpouring of Mikhail Gorbachev to his wife on March 1985 at his return to Moscow from a mission in the western world: “we cannot go on living like this”.

Once become secretary of the PCUS Gorbachev started a process of reform, of the party and the state, ambitious in its goals, but in many ways ineffective due to his hesitation with respect to the total elimination of the com- munist system and to the danger of being outvoted in the Politburo by the more conservative members.

It was in the foreign policy that the Gorbachev action was more coherent and effective: moving from the awareness and the assertion of the increasing interdependence among all the members of the international system he asserted that it was necessary to adopt a new thinking that moved from the awareness that the reasons for cooperation prevailed on the ones of confrontation even between the USSR and USA, the more so because the USSR, under his leadership, were moving to share and support all the fundamental val- ues of civil coexistence of mankind.

He was able to convince Reagan that his country had no aggressive intention toward the West, despite the starting attitude of his interlocutor who had described the Soviet Union of his predecessors as the evil empire. The two leaders shared a common distrust for the nuclear weapons and on October 1986 they met in Reykjavik and agreed that "a nuclear war could not be won and therefore had never to be fought" moreover they skirted an agreement of radical elimination of full class of ICBM, with great disturbance of some western allies of the USA.

Even with the failure of such major agreement the Reagan Gorbachev deals made the Soviet Secretary General a credible interlocutor for the American administration also if at his succession to Regan George H. Bush did not adopt the same attitude since the beginning of his term. In fact during the campaign for his election Bush had to fight the hostility that the right wing of the Republican Party had matured towards the" too open attitude of Reagan toward Gorbacev and the USSR”. So in order to obtain the support of all the party in any case essential for the election he had to show himself as more cautious than Reagan, if not suspicious of the openings of Gorbachev. So he agreed to hold his first summit with the soviet leader only at the end of that annus terribilis 1989 in Malta after the fall of the Berlin wall and all the changes arrived in Eastern Europe.

The meeting was also subsequent to the historical speech made by the soviet leader at the UNO assembly at the end of the previous year where he stressed the feeling widely felt to give up confrontation in favor of dialogue and cooperation. Adding that if the formation of the peaceful period would take place in conditions of existence and rivalry of various socioeconomic and political systems, however the meaning of his international efforts and one of the key tenets of the new thinking, was precisely to impart to this rivalry the quality of sensible competition in conditions of respect for freedom of choice and a balance of interests according to those universal values common to all the humanity he used to refer to. So all the events arrived in the previous months allowed the two leaders to state that the cold war had come to its end concluding an epoch and entering a new one meant to abandon all the things that were characteristic of the cold war as the stake on force, the arms race, mistrust, psychological and ideological struggle, and so on. They agreed that the policy of their countries would adapt in the future to the universal human values.

Bush subsequently adopted Gorbachev's phrasing when the following day he briefed in Brussels at the NATO headquarter all the allied premiers about the Malta talks stating that the need to end the division of Europe was in accord with "values that... [were] becoming universal ideals'* and added that all countries were standing on ''the threshold of a new era where the transatlan- tic partnership... [could] create the architecture of a new Europe and a new Atlanticism”; “where self-determination and individual freedom everywhere replace coercion and tyranny, where economic liberty everywhere replaces economic controls and stagnation, and where lasting peace is reinforced ev- erywhere by common respect for the rights of man”. Even the practice of “the narrow protection of [national] self-interest... could be so dangerous at a time when European politics are in such a state of flux". He referred indirectly also to the Gorbachev's concept of the new thinking when, assuring that the United States “will stay engaged in the future of Europe and in…[the] com- mon defense” commented that it was “not old thinking”, but “good thinking”. In the following months the consistency with the principle of self-determination, expressly evoked by Bush among the principles of the new Atlanticism, allowed the chancellor Kohl to push, prudently but firmly, for the staring of the process leading to the reunification of Germany by the fall of the same year. In achieving such an historical result the Germans overcame the resistance of France and UK thanks to the full support of the American president and the, in a way necessitated, agreement of Gorbachev, constrained by the economic needs of his country and by the implications of his policy of new thinking.

While this major transformation of the European system, accompanied by the progressive dissolution of soviet network of economic and political alliances in the continent, was under way, in the Persian Gulf arrived a sudden blow to atmosphere of cooperation and respect produced by the end of the cold war and the consensual reshaping of the chart of Europe.

On the 2nd of August the Iraqi forces started the occupation of Kuwait soon declared annexed to the Iraqi state by Bagdad. The United States reacted promptly, condemning the aggression and sending some troops to guard the border of the allied Saudi Arabia from the danger of a further advance of the Iraqis. Even in front of such an act of aggression the sudden appearance of American forces in Gulf, an area close to the soviet borders and traditionally of keen interest for the ICremlin produced uneasiness even in the new thinkers of Moscow. Bush aware of that resolved to meet once again Gorbachev in a neutral country, as Finland. The two leaders met in Helsinki on the 7th of September, roughly one month before the achievement of the process leading to the reunification of Germany. As stated by the same Bush in his memoirs [1] Gorbachev agreed to support the action against the Iraq because necessary for the establishment of the new international order, but also made it clear that his country had taken some heavy weights in facilitating the changes that had been made and were still going on in Eastern Europe and Germany, because to oppose them would have meant to act according to the old thinking, but this would have destroyed the prospect of the new international order, whose establishment was their main goal. This conversation of the Bush and Gorbachev is very important because it is the statement, of American side, of all the rational of the process that led to the end of the cold war together the dissolution of the soviet influence on Central and Eastern Europe. The rational was the exchange, in a way, of the Soviet positions of the past with the agreed change of the rules of the international system: The establishment of the new international order which involved the replacement of the Wilson's common interest to the individual national interest as the main priority in the foreign and security policies of all the states.

At his return to Washington Bush made a major address to the congress on the 11th of September. He stated that it was "a unique and extraordinary moment. The crisis in the Persian Gulf, as grave as it is, also... [offered] a rare opportunity to move toward an historic period of cooperation>,. "A new world... [was] struggling to be born, a world quite different from the one we have known. A world where the rule of law supplants the rule of the jungle>,. This was the vision that he shared with President Gorbachev in Helsinki.

Just after the reunification of Germany, the following November the adoption of the resolution 678 by the Security Council of the UNO opened in the opinion of Brent Scowcroft a new era, when the implementation of the program of the new international order seemed achieved and in fact this close aid of Bush writes in his memoirs that it had been like a divide in the history. The operation Desert Storm freed quickly Kuwait from the Iraqi occupation at the beginning of the new year and in July Bush signed in Moscow the first START treaty implementing also the weaponry side of the dialogue with Moscow. He remained coherent with the principles about the new order agreed with Gorbachev and tried even to support his struggle against the secessionism that was developing among the republics of the Union, he made an address in Kiev suggesting the autonomy for the Ukraine, in spite of the independence voiced by the assemblies held in those days in the country. By doing so he ignored the care held by the traditionalist security experts of the States for the lowering of any power able to stand in front of the USA and was strongly attacked by some American media. Even this support by the American president was ineffective also due to the failed coup of august and to the following declarations of independence made by the republics. At the end of the year the dissolution of the Soviet Union was accomplished and the mew leader of the Russian Federation remained as the main constituent republic of the former Soviet Union was Yeltsin. The new Russian president adopted a policy of full coherence with the principles on the new international order shaped by Bush and Gorbachev, but the problem is that both the two authors of this policy had to soon disappear. Gorbachev with the dissolution of USSR, Bush with the missed reelection.

The new American president the democrat Bill Clinton, did not adopted the concept of the new international order of Bush, rather he set out to find a his own slogan original and effective, reaching to launch a lottery system among his aides, promising a prize to the one who had been able to suggest a formula as effective as the containment of Kennan, to the point that this race was called the Kennan sweepstake. As easily foreseeable it proved too diffi- cult to emulate the Kennan ability and at the end Clinton chose “democrat- ic enlargement” foreshadowing already so the choice of NATO enlargement. In fact in few weeks during a visit to Prague, in winter '93, he stated publicly his program of enlarge NATO, by the admission of the countries of Central Europe forgetting the acceptance made by his predecessor of the request, made by Gorbachev accepting the accession of Eastern Germany to NATO, that it would have to be the last expansion for the alliance.

But this was not the only shift from the understandings reached between Bush and Gorbachev at the moments of conclusion of the Cold War. Another one far more important in theoretical terms arrived in March 1994, when, in aftermath of a failed peacekeeping operation in Somalia, in the American public opinion, sti 11 tied to the principle of zero casualties, spread a wide criticism of the policy of committing American soldiers in such remote areas.

In order to get the better of these moods Clinton in March, issued a presidential directive, the one number 25, in which he stated that his administration would continue to carry out peacekeeping operations all the times they were made necessary to sustain the national interest of the country.

Till that moment the concept of national interest had never, or very seldom, been mentioned in the statements of the western leaders and in fact this writer few years ago, at a conference of the Catholic University of Milan had to observe that he had the impression that the NATO members in basic inspiration of their policies had moved from the raison d'etat to a type of raison de bloc.

But the statement of the directive 25 opened a running of statements of western leaders, all referring to the national interest as the basic rational of their political choices, making this concept like a mantra justifying all policies inspired to it. The French president Sarkozy was the first to adopt this concept. More recently even the British Prime Minister Cameron, when announced his intention to call a referendum about the membership of UK in the EU stated that his fellow citizen will have to choice according their perception of the national interest of Britain. So the withering of the third chance of establishment of the new international order is clear.

Equally clear is that all the justifications of the "burden" mentioned by Gorbachev in his talk with George H. Bush of September 1990 are gone. In fact the Soviet leader made it clear that he was shouldering that burden to be consistent with the new thinking and to keep open the prospects for the realization of the new international order.


1. Bush G., ScowcroftB. A World Transformed. New York: Vintage, 1998.

Marek Wroblewski

Посмотреть оригинал
< Пред   СОДЕРЖАНИЕ   ОРИГИНАЛ     След >