restricted access The Cold War's Endgame and German Unification: (A Review Essay)
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The ColdWm’s Endgame and German Unification (A Review Essay) Frank Elbe and Richard Kiessler, A Round Table with Sharp Corners: The Diplomatic Path to German Unity. Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos, 1996 Philip Zelikow and Condoleezza Rice, Germany Unified and Europe Transformed:A Study in Statecraft. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995 settled the international aspects of German unifica ThomasRisse T h e negotiations that In-the “Two plus Four talks’’-constituted the Cold War’s endgame. These talks also set the foundation for the post-Cold War security order in Europe. They took place at a time of extraordinary, mostly peaceful turmoil in Europe, after the Soviet Union had given up its grip over Eastern Europe, people’s power had toppled Communist regimes, and the Berlin Wall had come down. Nevertheless, when the “Treaty on the Final Settlement with Respect to Germany” was signed in Moscow on September 12, 1990,there were ”no winners and no losers.”’ The Soviet leadership agreed to German unification within NATO, while NATO gave up its anti-Soviet posture, and Germany accepted various restrictions on its military status. Tlzovias Risse has been Professor of Internationa/ Politics at the University of Konstanz, Grrrnany, and is now International Relations Chair af thP Eiiropzn Unizwsity rnstitute, Florence, Ita2y. He is the author of Cooperation among Democracies: The European Influence on US. Foreign Policy (Princeton, N.1.: Princeton University Press, 1995) and the editor of Bringing Transnational Relations Back In (Cambridge , U.K.: Cambridge Uni7wsity Press, 2995). For critical and insightful comments on the draft of this article I thank Tanja Borzel, Hans-Peter Schmitz, and Cornelia Ulbert. I also thank Christian Hacke and Kiron Skinner for insightful suggestions relating to the endgame of the Cold War. 1. Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, quoted in Zelikow and Rice, p. 363 lritrrrintioitnl Security, Vol. 21, No. 4 (Spring 1YY7),pp. 159-185 01997 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology 159 International Security 21:4 I 160 The story of the Two plus Four talks contributes significantly to the scholarly debate on how the Cold War ended.2This debate has centered around issues such as the strategies that ended the Cold War ( e g , ”peace through strength”) and the relationship between structural conditions (e.g., the decline of Soviet power) on the one hand, and the policies of individual decision makers (e.g., Mikhail Gorbachev,Ronald Reagan, George Bush) on the other, in transforming the East-West relationship. This article draws on two books that offer the best diplomatic histories available so far of the talks among the two Germanys and the four Allied Powers (the United States, the Soviet Union, France, Great Britain) from late 1989 to September 1990. The two studies contribute to the historiography of the Cold War‘s end in a most important way, thereby providing additional answers to the issues mentioned above. The books are written by authors who were ”present at the creation” of the post-Cold War order on both sides of the Atlantic. Philip Zelikow, a career diplomat now teaching at Harvard University, was assigned to Robert Blackwill, the director for European and Soviet affairs in the Bush administration’s National Security Council (NSC).Condoleezza Rice, now provost of Stanford University, served as the top Soviet expert in the NSC. Their book is the most comprehensive and detailed account of the negotiations available. It is written in a scholarly way throughout and draws on mostly classified U.S. sources, but also German and Soviet documents in addition to extensive interviews with all major players. The sources are thoroughly documented . Zelikow and Rice show in a superb way how-within less than a year-extraordinarily skillful diplomacy on both sides of the Atlantic managed to settle the difficult questions concerning the international aspects of German unification and, at the same time, started creating the post-Cold War security order in Europe. European readers in particular learn that one has to give credit to the Bush administration’s efforts in order to explain Gorbachev’s agreement to German unification within NATO. The United States not only supported the German government throughout, but-according to Zelikow and...