BOTH ends of the Eurasian land mass are seeing the end of collective security that brought a half century of Pax Americana as the Soviet Union collapsed. Europe still favors some kind of collective security. But Britain, France, and Germany basically disagree on the role America and Russia should play in Europe. While Britain is interested primarily in maintaining America's commitment to the UK and Europe, France wants above all to keep Germany in a West European embrace. Germany, as always, is drawn tow ard Central Europe and a dream of being Russia's privileged partner.
In East Asia, China looms as a problem while America's alliances with Japan, Korea, and the Philippines are eroding due to disinterest in security matters. Japan's role is especially problematic because it could be drawn into the vortex of world politics against its will - or experience a return to militant nationalism. Hence, peace and prosperity may require the US to modify 40-year diplomatic alignments.
The scope for miscalculation is cause for real concern. Twice this century, diplomacy failed because it wasn't supported militarily. The result was war. History tells us we can avoid war only if the world's balance of power tilts toward coalitions willing to fight for peace. We must think how to foster alignments that deal with tomorrow's dangers.
The present situation, reminiscent of the period between the two world wars, is potentially more explosive. The reemergence of a united Germany again raises the classic challenge to the European power balance. Despite Bonn's alignment with an increasingly united Europe, the danger inherent in a powerful Germany is not reassuring, given the history of dangers in the Berlin-Moscow relationship. Meanwhile, civil war in Yugoslavia dramatizes the explosion of long-suppressed nationalist, ethnic, and sovereign ty claims over the Eurasian land mass. Viewed against the growing threat from the "Radical Entente" (e.g. North Korea, Cuba, Iran, Syria, Iraq, and Libya) - each acquiring weapons of mass destruction - the prospects for a stable environment are dim.
All this further endangers a nonpartisan consensus on America's fundamental interests: peace and prosperity depend on relative stability on the Western Europe and East Asian rimlands, friendly to America. This is an achievable goal in all circumstances, except in the context of a totally isolationist America. For these basic interests, President Wilson brought us into World War I, Roosevelt into World War II, and Truman to Reagan kept up the instrument of Pax Americana. Each of these presidents generally
made wise choices about which foreign powers most threatened our interests, and which were likely to support them. Wilson and Roosevelt aligned us against Germany when it posed the greatest threat to our permanent interests. Eisenhower made Germany into America's fortress against the Soviet threat. Truman aligned us against China when it was necessary. Nixon made China our geopolitical asset when this became necessary to counter growing Soviet military power. In today's circumstances, Russia may once again
become an American ally, while Germany and China or even Japan might revert to being major threats to our permanent interests. Consider the following:
The rationale for a strategic alignment with China has been that a China hostile to the Soviet Union would help to reduce US effort against the Soviet Union. China, for its part, faced an encircling Soviet threat, resulting from Soviet preponderance in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific. However, since the collapse of communism in the West, Chinese leaders are cementing relations with North Korea and Vietnam. Moreover, Beijing is emerging as the world's major source of nuclear and ballistic missile
In Western Europe, a more subtle transformation is under way. As NATO strives for radical change, the French, emphasizing a "European pillar," are trying to integrate the German Army into Europe. But the reunited Germans have their eyes fixed on the East. That is why Franco-German military collaboration risks decoupling US power from Europe. Should this happen - and were Germany to shift its mighty weight East - the Economic Community would be reduced to very junior partners. As the privileged interlocu tor with the East, Germany is likely to become our major headache in Europe. Its significant transfer of chemical, nuclear and ballistic technology to Iran, Syria, Libya, and especially Iraq, raises concern regarding the German role in the EC.
In what must be an unprecedented display of power, the decision to recognize the independence of Slovenia and Croatia - an attempt to re-exert traditional Germanic influence over this area of the Balkans - reflects the security interests of itself and its neighbors to the east. Only one people can help to counterbalance both Germany and China: the Russians. Preoccupied with throwing off the shackles of communism, we should aim that the new Russia takes on none of its predecessor's international agenda. O nly then, a friendly and stable Russia, astride Eurasia, might be encouraged to function as an effective counterweight to Germany and China. Alignment with Russia under such circumstances might serve the interest of a needed power balance. .