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Annual Report to the President and the Congress

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Annual rept.

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This annual report is being published in the midst of historic and promising transformations in the global security environment. The implications are being felt everywhere, but nowhere more than in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. For four decades, the primary concern of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization NATO has been to deter a Soviet-led attack on Western Europe. Now, instead of an invasion of troops moving from East to West, the ideas and institutions of freedom are moving from the West to the East. The events of 1989 have reduced the threat of a sudden Soviet attack in Europe they clearly call for a review of U.S. defense policy priorities in the 1990s. However, as we respond to these positive developments, we have a responsibility not to get ahead of events. Much remains unsettled, the Soviet Union remains a nuclear superpower, and U.S. interests over the coming decades will face a growing number of potentially serious threats from other sources. In short, the opportunities are great, but so are the uncertainties and risks. We can respond to the opportunities, deal with the uncertainties, and control the risks if we first remember how we got to this point in history. Since World War II, the United States has been the major leader in the world urging the peaceful evolution of freedom, democracy, and economic well-being. We have been able to play that role because a bipartisan U.S. consensus has supported an alliance strategy of forward defense, based on forward deployment, flexible response, and adequate strategic nuclear and conventional deterrents. We have begun now to plan how to attain the same basic strategic objectives with a somewhat smaller defense budget. However, any reductions must be managed with great care. Even if the Soviet threat recedes permanently--and it has certainly not yet done so--American power will still be required to meet other contingencies and obligations worldwide.

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  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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