Gorbachev's 'Novoye Myshlenniye' or New Thinking in international affairs was first spelt out at the Geneva summit with President Reagan in October 1985, when they agreed in principle to work towards a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty to cut their nuclear arsenals in half.
Probably the most radical summit was the Reykjavik summit in October 1986. Despite that fact that no agreement was signed, "it succeeded beyond the limited horizons of diplomats and arms controllers in that it shocked the US-Soviet negotiations into a wholly new dimension. The old ground rules of superpower poker, of incremental gains and minimal concessions, had been ripped up." In fact, both Reagan and Gorbachev recognized the posibility of nuclear free world. More, they both made it their major mutual goal.
The real agreement was reached at the Washington summit in December 1987. The US and the SU signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty and formalized their commitment to a 50 per cent reduction in strategic offensive arms. "The signing of the INF Treaty signalled an end to the New Cold War."
Following a meeting between Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Schevardnadze in Wyoming in September, Secretary Baker suggested that the "era of containment" had perhaps come to an end.
Then followed the Malta summit in December 1989, where President Bush and Gorbachev recognized common interests in maintaining stability in the midst of revolutionary political changes and were even explicit about accepting each others legitimate security interests and role in preserving European security.
The end of the Cold War solved one great problem for the US - the nuclear threat from the Soviet side was eliminated. But it caused a series of other problems. "The Cold War ended wih the US and Britain in recession, the Japanese stock market tumbling by 40 per cent, with the wealth of Germany devoted to the rescue of its reunited compatriots, and the world poised for war in the Persian Gulf.
The Post-Cold War Era, 1991 onwards.
With the collapse of the Warsaw Treaty Organisation (WTO) and the dissolution of the SU after the failed coup, August 1991, the US faced the another problem - the lack of a coherent American foreign policy. There is no clear consensus in the US over the threats to the security and economic well-being of the US.
Bush administration's emphasis was on prudence and pragmatism. The Bush record of six military interventions in four years is remarkable. In the invasion of Panama (Operation Just Came) in December 1989, the Persian Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) in January and February 1991, and the intervention in Somalia in 1992 (Operation Restore Hope), the US was motivated by the desire to impose order in the international system.
But neither the foreign nor the defense policy of the Clinton administration is yet well defined. Through the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton emphasized the following new priorities for the post-Cold War American foreign policy: (1) to relink foreign and domestic policies; (2) the reassertion of "the moral principles most Americans share"; (3) to understand that American security is largely economic. He also campaigned for the restructuring US military forces. The new military force must be capable of: (1) nuclear deterrence; (2) rapid deployment; (3) technology; and (4) better intelligence.
As president, Clinton directed Secretary of Defense Les Aspin to conduct a review of military requirements. In September 1, 1993, the Clinton administration's first defense planning document named "Bottom-Up Review" (BUR) was announced. The BUR identifies four major sources of danger to US security: (1) aggression instigated by major regional powers; (2) the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; (3) the failure of former communist states to make a succesful transition to democracy; (4) a failure to maintain a strong and growing US economic base. (Recently, one more danger has been added: "transnational threats." The BUR offers a force structure oriented around three general missions: (1) waging two "nearly simultaneous" major regional conflicts (the two-MRC requirement); (2) conducting peace operations; and (3) maintaining forward presence in areas where the US has vital interests. The BUR accords significant weight to maintaining the overseas military presence of US forces in sizing America's post-Cold War force structure. The plan is to retain roughly 100,000 troops in Europe and some 98,000 troops in East Asia.
The BUR received a lot of criticims since it was announced. "There is no logical flow from the "top" - political guidance based on the imperative to protect US interests in a new security environment - to the "bottom", i.e., planned forces." The other problem that "there are grounds for suspecting that the force structure selected for the late 1990s is geared more to meet fiscal goals than strategic ones."
So, it is obvious that the end of the Cold War was not the end of the threats for US national security , and not the end of the problems for the US defense planners. More, it seems that it was easier to deal with one big threat rather than with a complex of relatively small threats.
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