Czechoslovakia's "Velvet Divorce," Visegrad Cohesion, and European Fault Lines
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The separation of the Czech and Slovak Federated Republic CSfR into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993 did not just draw a new state boundary at the Moravian-Slovak border. The psychological and regional security implications of the split are much greater it has caused realignment in Central Europe. New borders have caused the Czech Republic to turn westward, weakening the Visegrad Group and creating the potential for isolating Slovakia with reverberations extending to Ukraine. Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary created the Visegrad triangle on 15 February 1991 to demonstrate the ability of the three to overcome historical differences and to coordinate their eventual return to Europe. This was to be achieved by joining Western institutions such as the European Community EC and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO. During most of 1990, 74 percent of the CSFRs 2,141-mile border was with then Warsaw Pact allies Poland 813 miles and East Germany 285 miles in the north, Hungary 420 miles in the south, and the Soviet Union 61 miles in the east. Between East and West it shared borders with the core of both alliances Central Regions the Soviet Union and the Federal Republic of Germany 221 miles. CSFR Foreign Minister Jiri Dienstbier argued that Czechoslovakias role was to cooperate within the triangle and to act as a bridge between West and East. This policy remained in force through the fall of 1991.
- Government and Political Science