East-Central Europe after the Cold War: Poland, the Czech by Andrew Cottey (auth.)

By Andrew Cottey (auth.)

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58 Negotiations on the troop withdrawal and the cooperation treaty continued throughout the early summer of 1991, however, without significant progress. 59 The coup in the Soviet Union on 19 August 1991 intensified Polish concerns. Fearing a hardening of the Soviet position on the troop withdrawal, the Polish government's reaction was cautious. Skubiszewski met with the Soviet ambassador to Poland, receiving a pledge that all scheduled Polish-Soviet talks would go ahead as planned. 62 Although the contents of these talks have not been made public, according to one Polish Foreign Ministry official the fact that the talks took place 36 East-Central Europe after the Cold War indicated that the countries of East-Central Europe were 'not left alone in the face of a threat from the East' 63 - implying an informal Western commitment to support them if they faced Soviet pressure.

A realpolitik balance of power strategy, however, also had disadvantages. The most obvious was that it would exacerbate the security dilemma the East-Central European states faced in their relations with their neighbours. By constantly seeking to balance against potential threats from their neighbours, the East-Central European states would almost certainly provoke similar reactions from those neighbours. A likely consequence of such a policy would be the formation of counteralliances and the adoption of military strategies directed against the countries of East-Central Europe.

Should not re-emerge at the moment of and after German unification. .. 34 Second, Poland's support for Germany's continued membership of NATO indicated a major shift in Polish security thinking. The Mazowiecki government clearly believed that a Germany contained within the EC and particularly NATO was preferable to the potential 'loose cannon' of a neutral Germany. For the new Polish government NATO was an important stabilizing force, not a threat. Poland 33 DISMANTLING THE SOVIET ALLIANCE With its immediate concerns over German unification satisfied, Poland began to dismantle its post-war alliance with the Soviet Union.

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