With the end of the cold war, Europe is more united and freer from the danger of a major war than at any time in modern history. An historically unprecedented and highly desirable European security order is in place. The Dawn of Peace in Europe describes this new “common security order,” assesses the alternatives to it, and analyzes the conditions necessary for its continuation.
Mandelbaum begins by exploring three possible futures for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization: retaining the status quo, retaining its current membership but expanding its mission to include operations such as the one in Bosnia, and retaining its original mission but expanding its membership to include some countries in Central Europe. He finds that perpetuating the status quo is necessary, that Bosnia-style “out of area” operations may be desirable but are not feasible, and that expansion is feasible but not desirable. He then shows how the arms limitation agreements of the late 1980s and early 1990s, in conjunction with the political changes of 1989 and 1991, have created the new common security order.
The future of this new order depends on Russia and the United States. Mandelbaum assesses how the wrenching transition taking place within Russia might affect its policies toward the arms treaties and toward its neighbors. Finally, he evaluates the durability of the American commitment to an active role in Europe.