September 2008 - With predictable regularity, Russian officials regularly charge that American missile defenses (10 radars and interceptors) in Poland and the Czech Republic threaten Russian security. They claim that since there is no threat of Iranian missiles (conventional or nuclear), there is no justification for building these systems. Therefore, they can only represent a threat to Russia's vital interests. Since everyone admits that ten such units alone do not constitute that threat, Moscow charges that that these systems are merely the thin edge of the larger program to saturate Central and Eastern Europe with missile defenses to prevent Russia from launching its nuclear weapons in a first strike against a conventional or nuclear attack from the West. That first strike is in accordance with Russia's military doctrine that calls for such strikes to compensate for Russia's conventional inferiority vis-à-vis NATO and the United States. Missile defenses would then deprive Russia of the capability to launch a retaliatory strike or else degrade that capability, leaving Russia vulnerable to all manner of attacks. Because Warsaw and Prague defied Russia's objections and threats by accepting to host these missile defenses they have received numerous equally predictable and regular Russian threats to target them with nuclear and conventional missiles.
The Woodrow Wilson Center, the Ratiu Democracy Center, and the Ratiu Charitable Foundation are pleased to announce that Adam Michnik is the 2009 Recipient of the Ion Ratiu Democracy Award. The award will be presented at the Woodrow Wilson Center on December 3 during the Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture.
April 2001 - During the EU summit in Nice last December, America's allies seemingly resolved the longstanding issue regarding the relationship between the new European Rapid Reaction Force (ERRF) and NATO. In exchange for the reaction force's use of NATO assets for peacekeeping, NATO would be guaranteed the de facto first right of refusal before the deployment of the European force could be considered. In addition, the reaction force would not duplicate NATO planning, thus precluding the development of two competing and parallel defense structures.
This paper was written to analyze the sixth of August 1990 as an important date in the history of Polish-German relations. It was on this day that Chancellor Helmut Kohl told a huge gathering of expellees from the former German territories now part of Poland that their homeland had been lost forever. The border with Poland was final and would not be undermined by any German territorial claims now or in the future. This paper examines both the road to reconciliation as well as long term prospects following the settlement.
Our continuing commitments in Bosnia and Kosovo are inviting comparison and contrast to the much larger, more lonesome, and initially even more frustrating American commitment in Iraq. Can we effectively apply any lessons learned from our experience in the Balkans to a conflict and region so vastly different? John Lampe, Balkans expert and Wilson Center Fellow, says yes.
December 1998 - How effectively have multilateral development banks (MDBs) addressed environmental issues in Central and Eastern Europe? The World Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and European Investment Bank (EIB) are among the major donors to the region, providing more than $25 billion in loans, which usually attract additional private sector, and bilateral and recipient government financing as well. All three banks have been struggling in recent years to respond to pressure to better address environmental issues in their global and regional work, while often facing criticism by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for doing a poor job in translating ideas and policies into action.