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Massachusetts Institute of Technology Defense and Arms Control Studies Program, Abbual Report, 1989-1990

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A year ago it was possible. with only slight exaggeration, to fear a Soviet breakthrough along the inter-German border. Tens of thousands of Soviet tanks could be envisioned racing West to the Channel and in the process capturing the heart of European industrial capacity. But since then Communism has rotted away nearly everywhere in Europe, the Warsaw Pact has been acknowledged to be inoperable as a military alliance, the Berlin Wall is being broken up for souvenirs, and Soviet Forces stationed in East Germany have been placed on a West German dole. These days the only tanks likely to be moving West are our own when they begin to assemble for shipment home along with their divisional colors. The Cold War seems not only over, but won as well. The past year was also my first as director of the Program. Some might think that this is a less than favorable time to become involved again in security studies, but I do not. Reduced tensions between the superpowers is a much sought, much welcomed situation. The purpose of programs like the one at MIT is to help make the world more peaceful through its scholarship. graduate training, and public service. When peace between the U.S. and the Soviet Union appears to be breaking out, there can be no regrets even if there may be some administrative inconvenience. The demise of the Cold War is, in fact, extraordinarily liberating for security studies. No longer are the fields members tied to a catechism of predictable problems and absolving beliefs. Corridor conversations, seminar presentations. and classroom debates have been absorbed with seeking an understanding of last years developments nearly all the fields most fundamental questions are open again for examination. It is a challenging and exciting time. I believe a central conclusion of these discussions is that the end of the Cold War does not assure American or global peace and security.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Defense Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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