The announced visit of Barack Obama in Poland to meet Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko and the meeting with a large group of central and eastern European leaders in Warsaw, to ensure its full support of N.A.T.O, reminds me about an historical fact that worths a closer look for a better understanding of the present.
In the international life, the power is military and economic; the influence is based on intelligence, knowledge of the rules and most important, on the strength of their interpretation.
After the two World Wars, Europe remains devastated and divided between two powers with their own interests. A bipolar world is born. On one side, there is U.S, which wants rapid economic development of the states of the West and their demilitarization, trying to stop the expansion of communism. On the other side the communist threat coming from Russia is evolving into a union: the Soviet Union.
Imposing rules using force by the Soviet Union in Czechoslovakia, "The Prague Coup," determine U.S. to break Germany in two: West Germany and East Germany, through a wall in Berlin. This wall of suffering, actually complements the image established at the Conference of May 4th, 1945 in Yalta. This meeting is very important for the future of Europe and the evolution of its relations with the United States.
On Feb. 4th, 1945, in the city on the north coast of the Black Sea in southern Ukraine, was held a historic meeting between President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (who on Jan 20th., 1945 was elected for the fourth mandate, situation unprecedented in U.S.), British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill and soviet leader, Joseph Stalin.
Each of the three powers have its own interests. The Soviet Union wants more territory and to consolidate its power where is already conquered, the United Kingdom wants to maintain power as a colonial empire and U.S. interest is to persuade the U.S.S.R to take part at the war in the Pacific and to negotiate post-war arrangements as a part of this negotiation. U.S. Also wanted Stalin's involvement, as a contributor, in N.A.T.O.
One of the main issues discussed was the division of Germany into four zones. Berlin was also divided into four zones. The fourth area was given to France along with a seat in the Allied Control Council.
Stalin expressed a very clear desire to have Poland, claiming that some points regarding the splitting of it are not negotiable. He obtained the East Poland and promised free elections, but this happened only after 45 years from the installation of a Government of the Red Army in 1939.
Roosevelt accepted Soviet conditions because he was afraid of an attack. At that time U.S.S.R was controlling a great part of East Europe. U.S received in exchange U.S.S.R.'s participation in N.A.T.O.
Stalin joined the war against Japan, in which he received the southern part of Sakhalin and Kurile Islands. Stalin was impatient to get revenge for the defeat that Russia has suffered in the Russo-Japanese war, where he lost influence in Manchuria.
Following this conference stability was achieved, but the States of Europe have been slaughtered for the next 45 years. They consider that the Allied forces have betrayed them for its own interests. Stalin got everything he wanted, including a better consolidation of his influence in Asia.
Europe is divided on a patch of paper dictated by U.S, written by Churchill and approved by Stalin. The United Kingdom agreed with the United States on all discussions, as is current in present time.
The death of U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 12th., 1945, as well as the fact that the U.S.S.R. didn't respect the decisions made at Yalta, makes the concessions policy to be abandoned. The election of Harry Truman as U.S. President marks a different approach to international life.
Ground of rivals, with its economy destroyed, Western Europe falls in the hands of the U.S. to be carried on.
The Marshall Plan is a reconstruction plan designed by the U.S and aimed at the rapid economic development of Germany and Western Europe in general, in order to strengthen borders and demilitarization (in this period arose the term "politics of fencing," Truman's specific mandate). Marshall plan concerns all European States. It is now when the first idea of federalization of Europe arose.
During the discussions that took place in Paris, together with soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov, British and French counterparts, decided that Germany should make part of this reconstruction plan. Molotov continued the negotiations but after two days (July 1th., 1945) receives a telegram from Stalin. After that, he starts to refuse all its counterparts' proposals and leaves the Conference. Moscow will request that the governments under its influence -- that have shown interest in participating in the plan -- to revoke their agreements to join the Marshall plan. Stalin threatened with the termination of the agreement between Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union from 1943. On 9th. of July, the Government of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary left, followed on July 11th., by Romania and Poland.
The Marshall plan eliminates the hostility of the population towards the U.S. The same thing happened in Japan and Vietnam. Is it so actual this plan and is applying in Iraq? The same plan but with different name?!
The opposition that appears between the two powers, in terms of political and ideological systems gave birth to the Cold War which lasted from 1947 to 1991.
This period of political tensions and ideological confrontations has been maintained by two groups of states, the U.S.S.R with its allied countries, named the "Oriental" block or "Eastern" and on the other hand the U.S, together with N.A.T.O allies, named the "Capitalist" block.
For the population, the Cold War was a disaster. Millions of people have suffered as a result of this war. The Oriental block was faced with poverty, living conditions below the edge of subsistence, the psychological terror used by security services present in all partner countries -- mainly in Romania, which was part of the tougher regime.
Some analysts sustain the fact that having a geo-strategic position which serves the interests of both parties, rich natural resources and being able to serve as a launch platform for military operations, Romania was tied to U.S.S.R and under its strict surveillance. We assist in this period at an experiment which leads to a cleavage between Western Europe and the East.
The U.S. presence in Europe, its extension towards Eastern countries, makes countries like France and Germany to adopt a non-American attitude. This attitude is manifested by some European States afraid not to lose their sovereignty.
The single European Act, single currency, Court of Justice, the development of Security Policy and Common Defense (Cologne and Helsinki) rise a future federal Europe, "Europe -- a federal union of states."
The meeting between Gorbaciov and G.W. Bush at Malta, on December 2, 1989 and the subsequent events of the meeting are proof that history repeats. As at Yalta, this meeting divided spheres of influence, "bargained" the destinies of those "small by those large."
As a conclusion, let us not forget that: "History is a vast early warning system." -- Norman Cousins