The Gorbachev and Yeltsin Transition: From the Pre-World War I to the Interwar Analogy

  • Hall GardnerEmail author


This chapter shows how Gorbachev sought a multi-directional diplomatic rapprochement intended to break Soviet fears of “capitalist encirclement.” It is argued that the failure of the US and Europeans to take advantage of the opening in relations with Gorbachev, and to reach an agreement over NATO enlargement, eventually set the stage for the new Russia–China “axis” that began to establish itself in 1986 and after Soviet collapse in 1991, but that Gorbachev would have preferred a strong US/NATO, European, Soviet entente or alliance relationship. It is furthermore argued that US and European leaders did promise Gorbachev that NATO would not expand beyond eastern Germany as a collective security organization in its traditional capacity, but that they also appeared to believe that a new system of security for Eastern Europe could be implemented by an ostensibly reformed NATO. In effect, it was believed that NATO’s impact on Russian defenses could somehow be modified by what can be called a NATO “self-limitation approach”—in which NATO would not deploy foreign troops or nuclear weapons on the territories of the new NATO members.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.International and Comparative PoliticsAmerican University of ParisParisFrance

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