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The post from Tom Blanton and Svetlana Savranskaya is gracious and generous. So on to the history, where they have opened up a fruitful conversation. I don't see any significant interpretive or factual disputes worth fussing much about in their discussion of the German developments in 1989 and 1990. My book, like their post, discusses the wonderful, heartening role played by the German people in the fall of 1989, with Leipzig as a pivot point. Though they found Noel Cary's review essay in the Journal of Modern History (vol. 73, Sept 2001, pp. 617-651) to have been critical of my work, I did not take it that way. I liked his essay very much and still cite it. It seemed a quite fair and thoughtful effort to synthesize the various perspectives. The Americans were trying to encourage or react to the social and political upheavals during the summer and fall of 1989; they certainly were not leading them. Kohl began doing more to shape events by August. The US role was to encourage him and then to back his play, as with Bush's strong statements in September and then again, quite deliberately, in October. After the Wall fell and toward the end of the year, though, the US role became more central in the necessary diplomacy. That diplomacy then began to interact quite a bit with the East German street, deliberately framing expectations and the sense of possibility very much with an eye to influencing the momentum of protests and the outcome of the March 1990 GDR elections. Blanton and Savranskaya's argument on US attitudes toward developments in Poland and Hungary opens a more complicated historical problem. This is a topic where I notice that some historians and journalists, seeing signs of undue US triumphalism about the 1989 events, react strongly to knock down that sort of talk. That reflex produces a kind of neuralgic argumentation of its own: Bush the plodding, unimaginative reactionary, prizing stability above all. But that's not right either, at least in my experience, having come to the White House at the beginning of 1989 as a career diplomat with no ties to the new team or to the Republican party, and taking lots of notes. As a historian, I have never claimed a central or direct US role in the revolutions of 1989. The more direct US role came to the fore later, in the work to manage and shape the outcome of the turmoil -- to define the peace settlement. But there are several factors to be careful about in handling the 1989 story in Poland and Hungary and the US role. I'll just outline some in a cursory way. 1. In their attitudes toward political change, Bush was somewhat different from Scowcroft. The difference is intangible, partly because Bush's habits of thought were more emotional and instinctive. This was especially evident on Germany, where there was a split between Bush and Scowcroft, and even some divergence between Scowcroft and his staff. Bush resolved it, following his instincts. And Baker matters. The April 1989 Hamtramck speech on Poland was interesting too; I remember Rice's excitement at the time (she helped write it) and how she interpreted it. Incidentally, be a bit careful about relying on Beschloss/Talbott. They worked hard and fast, knocking out a first draft of history. But in the endnotes in my and Rice's Germany book, there are specific illustrations of some factual problems. Th main point here is just to remind readers about the nuances within the Bush team, even among friends, to underscore how important it is to parse just who said what, the time, the context, etc. 2. The whole feel, tempo, and content of the US discussions inside the new Bush administration began changing dramatically in late March 1989 and intensified thereafter. I have recently been able to reread my daily notes from that time and they reminded me of the heated internal battles that reached a crescendo in April-May, when Baker and Scowcroft joined forces against Cheney and Crowe, mainly over the proposed moves to cut conventional forces in Europe (see point #4 below). And the outcome of the May-June summits (with Mitterrand, with all NATO leaders, with Kohl) reinforced Bush's predisposition to think bigger. This predisposition was not just a foreign policy story. Consider Bush's own emerging sense of his distinct political identity. In the spring of 1989 he is wary -- like any new president -- about how he's doing, coming out of Reagan's shadow, sensing that he was competing with Gorbachev for the limelight in domestic as well as international politics, trying to counter the narrative ['plodding, unimaginative reactionary, prizing stability above all'] that had already found its way into the press during his first weeks in office (and persists to this day), a narrative then and even now fueled in part by grousing from Reagan administration holdovers who felt excluded or ignored by the new team. 3. Until July/August 1989, the USG necessarily focused its attention on the reform Communists and on Gorbachev. The main object with Poland and Hungary was to encourage the reform communists to open up the political process, encourage the Round Table process, etc. Our read of the situation before July was not much different than, say, that of the Polish dissidents themselves, or Tim Garton Ash at the time. (Ash's NYRB essay of July 14, 1989 is still an extremely valuable historical snapshot.) 4. More important to the US, and Washington's particular concern, was to mute/deflect Soviet intervention and build momentum for Soviet military withdrawal from central Europe. This is one reason why the CFE moves (CFE standing for the Negotiations on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe), so little understood or recalled today, were so central then. Massive Soviet military power in central Europe had been THE geopolitical fact of life in European politics since 1945. Change that, and everything else can change. 5. Reflect a bit on Bush's decision to go to Poland and Hungary in July-August 1989. At the time he made it, that was not an automatic call. Then think about all the cautions he would have received about how to handle such a trip, in light of the above. Imagine the briefings he would have received from experts at the time analogizing (badly) to 1956, 1970, 1981, etc. A good way to set the context is to read expert commentary actually published in the USA or western Europe before Bush's trip. And, in that context, again consider points 1, 3, and 4 above. 6. None of this makes the US a central player in these events. The story of 1989 (in some contrast with the story of 1990) is a story of European history more than US history, or even US-Soviet history. I offered some wider views of that history in an essay late last year in Foreign Affairs. 7. The US may have played an indirect role in the Soviet deliberations during August 1989 about whether to accept the non-Communist Mazowiecki govt ... what kind of coalition Moscow would accept. By this time, too, the Baker-Shevardnadze relationship has picked up steam. 8. Yet, other than the general rhetorical framework the US was encouraging ('Europe whole and free', focus on Soviet intervention in Eastern Europe as the key test for Gorbachev) and the specific moves on Germany and the CFE negotiations, the first major concrete contribution the US made to the momentum of revolution in east-central Europe was in the reaction to the Polish economic reform program. There had been some good institution-building -- G24, EBRD, etc -- put on the table during the summer of 1989. That helped some. More important was the facilitation of and orchestrated positive reaction to the Polish economic reform program developed by Balcerowicz and his team. Though there is some stuff out there about the US not giving Walesa his desired Marshall Plan, this is a case where closer analysis of the economic details and some background on the international debt issues, including the particular debt issues of Eastern Europe, really helps. (Simon Johnson and Marzena Kowalska did some good early work on this in the 1990s.) This was a story that unfolded during the fall of 1989. The US played a key part in ponying up the necessary cash and lining up the debt rescheduling in exchange for the new Polish program. There is still debate about the consequences of the Polish 'shock therapy' program. At the time though the meeting of the minds -- reform program and responsive West -- reinforced revolutionary momentum. Incidentally, much of the responsibility here belonged to private Americans as much as to anyone in officialdom -- the young Jeff Sachs and the even younger David Lipton may have been as important in this matter as, say, Treasury Secretary Nicholas Brady. Philip Zelikow University of Virginia