The Great Transformation

The Great Transformation

Mini Teaser: Four years have now passed since the implosion of the communist state in Poland set in train a process that led to the collapse of the other Central European communist states.

by Author(s): Zbigniew Brzezinski

In addition, a more comprehensive strategy might involve, for example, Western credits for Central European exports of food and consumer goods to Russia. This would facilitate the Central European transformation while increasing the likelihood that aid for the Russian people will reach the designated recipients rather than being diverted into the black market by middlemen--as sadly has often been the case. In any case, some restoration of trade between Central Europe and the former Soviet Union is clearly in the interest of all of the parties concerned.

Second, the G-7 should now develop an aid package for Ukraine, paralleling the one adopted for Russia. Geopolitical pluralism in the space of the former Soviet Union should be viewed by the West as an objective of co-equal importance with systemic transformation. This point deserves repetition: geopolitical pluralism is as important as systemic transformation. The United States is beginning in a hesitant fashion to move in that direction, but its policy in this respect has been slow, marred by historical ignorance, beset by bureaucratic stalemates, and instinctively Russo-centric. An aid package for Ukraine, conditioned quite explicitly and specifically on a Ukrainian reform program, is justified on humanitarian and economic, as well as geopolitical, grounds.

Early in 1992, the head of the IMF, Michel Camdessus, publicly stated that Russia would need about $24 billion in external assistance, and that the other former Soviet republics would need an additional $20 billion. A little over a year later, that total sum has been allocated for Russia but little or nothing has been designated for Ukraine and the other non-Russian republics. Yet chaos around Russia will either undermine Russia's own reforms or stimulate a revival of Russia's imperial ambitions, or both--with all of these outcomes being very detrimental to the cause of postcommunist transformation.

Third, facilitating access to Western m

Essay Types: Essay