[IWAR] NATO Purpose to curb Germany?

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sun Dec 07 1997 - 10:04:32 PST

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       Posted at 7:15 p.m. PST Saturday, December 6, 1997 
           Conference gives blunt reason for enlarging NATO: Curbs on Germany
       New York Times News Service
       WARSAW, Poland -- Using an argument little heard in the debate over NATO
       expansion in the United States, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national
       security adviser to Jimmy Carter, said Saturday that the absorption of
       three Central European nations into NATO resolved a problem that was
       considered ``impolite'' to mention: the ``disproportionate power'' of
       Brzezinski argued that the eastward expansion of the alliance placed
       Germany in a wider European framework, allowing it to be a ``good
       citizen'' toward Poland rather than a threatening neighbor.
       Speaking at a conference on German-Polish relations and the North
       Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brzezinski said that Polish-German
       reconciliation, which began soon after the collapse of Communism in
       1989, had assumed the geopolitical importance of the French-German
       reconciliation after World War II.
       ``Involving Germany in a wider framework,'' Brzezinski said, ``allows us
       to cope with Europe's central security problem of the 20th century: how
       to cope with the reality of Germany's power.''
       Brzezinski and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger were joined
       here by the German defense minister, Volker Ruhe, and top Polish
       officials in a debate about the role of an expanded NATO. The
       conference, which ended Saturday, was sponsored by the German Marshall
       Fund, a Washington-based organization that promotes trans-Atlantic
       The basic reasons for expanding NATO have been explained by the Clinton
       administration during Senate hearings in grand terms of promoting a more
       secure and democratic Europe.
       The idea of taking three of the Soviet Union's former Central European
       satellites -- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic -- out of the
       Russian sphere of influence has also been mentioned.
       But Brzezinski and several German officials were more blunt. They said
       that containing a united Germany's overwhelming power within an enlarged
       NATO explained much of the German and Polish enthusiasm for the move
       A member of Germany's parliament, Voigt Karsten, who was involved with
       Ruhe in shaping Germany's advocacy for a wider NATO, said that much of
       the motivation came from preventing the power and influence of a united
       Germany from being used in a ``destructive way.''
       ``We wanted to bind Germany into a structure which practically obliges
       Germany to take the interests of its neighbors into consideration,''
       Karsten said. ``We wanted to give our neighbors assurances that we won't
       do what we don't intend to do anyway.''
       Fear of Germany to the west and of Russia to the east has dominated
       Poland for much of this century and before. More than 6 million Poles,
       including three million Polish Jews, were killed by the Nazis during the
       German occupation of Poland in World War II.
       After the reunification of Germany in 1990 Chancellor Helmut Kohl took a
       number of steps, starting with the formal recognition of the
       Polish-German border, long a source of dispute, to reconcile the two
       The growth in trust and cooperation and the explosion in trade and
       investment between the countries in the last seven years have surprised
       As a sign of the new trust, a Polish-German-Danish military corps is
       being formed that will work within NATO once Poland formally joins the
       alliance in 1999, said the Polish defense minister, Janusz Onyszkiewicz.
       The new Polish foreign minister, Bronislaw Geremek, a dissident during
       the Communist era who is Jewish and a historian by profession, described
       the new relationship between Germany and Poland as a ``historic
       ``For a man with my biography, it is a miracle,'' he said.
       Surveys show that the number of Poles who feel threatened by Germany has
       steadily dropped, even as most Poles say they remain uneasy about the
       territorial ambitions of Russia.
       Germany is now Poland's biggest trading partner. Last week, Poland's new
       prime minister, Jerzy Buzek, visited Germany and was told by Kohl that
       he would push hard to ease the way for Poland's membership in the
       European Union.
       Kissinger, who supports the expansion of NATO -- although he has
       expressed reservations about the role Russia has been given in a joint
       Russia-NATO council -- said that for America's self-interest, Poland was
       a useful addition.
       Poland, he said, was so pro-American that it would help insure that the
       United States remained embedded in the Atlantic alliance.
       Poland, he said, would ``never exclude the United States from European
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