Why the Obama Administration should not take central and Eastern Europe for granted

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Central and Eastern Europe is no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. A GMF policy brief.

Pavol Demes, Ivan Krastev and Adam Rotfeld et al


ECFR council members Pavol Demes, Ivan Krastev and Adam Rotfeld co-authored this GMF policy brief.

Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Central and Eastern Europe is no longer at the heart of American foreign policy. To some degree, the relationship between the United States and the countries of Central and Eastern Europehas become a victim of its own success. U.S. engagement and support was essential for the success of our democratic transitions after the Iron Curtain fell.

Today, however, there is a growing sense that Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads. The decline of U.S. influence is evident and to some degree it is a logical outcome of the integration of Central and Eastern Europe into the EU. Both public opinion and governments in the region display a growing tendency toward provincialism and short-termism. Absent leadership, these countries could even become an obstacle to future effective U.S.-EU cooperation on global issues, such as energy security, security and defense, and human rights.

Today the goal must be to keep Central and Eastern Europe right as a stable, activist, and Atlanticist part of the broader community. That will require both sides recommitting to and investing in this relationship. But if we do it right, the payoff down the road can be very real.

The Authors of this policy brief are:

Pavol Demes – Director of GMF’s Bratislava office and former Foreign Minister and Advisor to the President, Slovak Republic
Prof. Istvan Gyarmati – Ambassador and President of the International Centre for Democratic Transition in Budapest, Hungary
Ivan Krastev – Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Sofia, Bulgaria
Kadri Liik – Director of the International Centre for Defence Studies in Tallinn, Estonia
Prof. Adam Rotfeld, PhD, – Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Poland
Alexandr Vondra – Senator, Ambassador, and former Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, Czech Republic

Download the full text of the Policy Brief here

The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. ECFR publications only represent the views of its individual authors.

Authors

Chairman of the Centre for Liberal Strategies