Publication: Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 118

In his June 15 address at Warsaw University, President George W. Bush redefined the horizon of NATO’s enlargement as encompassing “all the new democracies from the Baltic to the Black Sea and all that lie in between. [These countries] should have the same chance for security and freedom and the same chance to join the institutions of Europe as Europe’s old democracies have. I believe in NATO membership for all of Europe’s democracies that seek it and are ready to share the responsibility that NATO brings…. The United States will be prepared to make concrete historic decisions with its allies to advance NATO’s enlargement. As we plan the Prague summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can advance freedom.”

With that, the presidential address commits the United States to more than a token enlargement, and to an early next round of it. This statement of policy is grounded in history and a vision of the future. Bush’s dominant theme, “no more Yaltas,” not only rules out any new spheres of influence, but also underscores the task of overcoming the legacy of the 1945 partition. The president twice used the term “false lines” in announcing the goal of erasing them, so as to rule out any “buffer zone of insecure states” between Europe and Russia (Western news agencies, M2 Communications, June 15-16).

Czeslaw Bielecki, a veteran leader of the Polish Solidarity underground, now chairman of the parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, told the press afterward about an exchange he had had with Bush during the informal reception. Bielecki gave the president “friendly advice” that the Baltic states should be admitted into NATO next year together, as opposed to admitting only one. Bush “answered that he agreed,” Bielecki told journalists (PAP, June 16).