Table of ContentsChapter 04Next

CHAPTER FOUR


U.S. Security Interests

Preventing a Military Threat
Encouraging the Growth of Democracy
Promoting Economic Reforms
Promoting Regional Stability


In the former Soviet Union, numerous political and ethnic entities have declared their independence and have started the process of nation building. Some of these states appear to be successful, while others do not. Boundaries and political affiliations have been settled in some regions, but not everywhere. Instability plagues the region, and will likely continue to do so for several years.

The process of political and economic reform in many of the new states has been characterized by indecisiveness, acrimony, and open conflict. Democracy and market economies were originally the goals of all states in the region, but little or no progress has been made towards these goals in many of these nations. In some cases, the banner of democracy has simply been hoisted over traditional forms of government by the few for the few. The principles of the market economy are not universally accepted or completely understood in most of the new states. Moreover, the drive for political and economic independence from the former Soviet central authorities has started to give way in some areas to serious thoughts of political and economic reassociation.

Top of Section

Preventing a Military Threat

While the development of democracy and market economies is the long-term solution to the region's instability, the U.S. has an interest in preventing the re-emergence in the region of a military threat to U.S. interests. The risk of a new Soviet-type military-ideological threat, fortunately, appears to be small, since Russia--which would have to be the nucleus of such a threat--is making progress with political and economic reforms, thus reducing the possibility that it will re-emerge as an adversary.

Top of Section

Encouraging the Growth of Democracy

In the long term, the success of democratic reforms--particularly in Russia and Ukraine--will enhance U.S. security. In turn, the establishment of democratic values will profoundly reduce the chances of conflict. Democratic reforms are the best long-term answer to the aggressive nationalism and ethnic hatreds unleashed at the end of the Cold War.

Top of Section

Promoting Economic Reforms

Promoting economic reforms in the former Soviet Union will significantly increase the chances that democracy will take root in the region. Additionally, economic reforms in the region, undergirded by political reforms, will open foreign markets for the U.S., as secure, democratic, market-oriented nations are more likely to support and engage in free trade.

Top of Section

Promoting Regional Stability

Ethnic and border disputes present a real threat to the stability of the former Soviet Union. Many of the Soviet successor states--including Ukraine--are having problems establishing their sovereignty, are embroiled in violent conflict, or are ignoring democratic reforms. It is in the U.S. interest that ethnic feuds and the uneven development of reforms throughout the region not be allowed to threaten positive developments within the former Soviet Union or other parts of Central and Eastern Europe.


Table of ContentsChapter 4Next
| Back | Table of Contents | Chapter 04 | Next |