Twenty years have passed since the collapse of communism and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The epochal changes that led to the largely peaceful end of the Cold War also opened the door for the unification of Germany. At the same time, it anchored Central and Eastern Europe -- from the Baltic to the Black Sea -- to the West in the EU and NATO. While the challenge of integrating and anchoring the Balkans remains incomplete, the historic accomplishment and step toward the vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace is widely seen as a tremendous success story.
It has arguably made the continent today more peaceful and secure than in any time in the last century. Above all, this was a transatlantic success story as this project generated some of the closest and far-reaching cooperation between the two sides of the Atlantic in recent decades.
At the same time, there are major questions as we look toward the future. The stability, resilience, and solidarity of a unified Europe is being tested in the current economic and financial crisis. Central and Eastern Europe is looking for strategic reassurance from a resurgent Russia. Western liberal democracy is no longer necessarily seen as the only option in countries on the periphery of Europe and Eurasia. The United States and Europe face the challenge of pursuing further democratic enlargement in the European neighborhood of an enlarged EU and NATO. Turkey's future EU membership prospects and anchoring in the West seem uncertain.
Is there a new historical and strategic narrative to again mobilize the West to reach out to and embrace countries like Ukraine and Georgia -- or has the window of opportunity for enlargement closed? Above all, how do we deal with a Russia that today seems further from the West in terms of values and seems determined to roll back democratic breakthrough on its periphery but whose support we need on a range of issues from energy to Iran to Afghanistan?
Anne Applebaum is a columnist for The Washington Post and Slate. She also writes for a range of other newspapers and magazines, including the New York Review of Books. Formerly a member of The Washington Post editorial board, Ms. Applebaum has worked as the foreign and deputy editor of Spectator magazine in London, and as a columnist at several British newspapers, including the Daily and Sunday Telegraphs and the Evening Standard. From 1988 to 1991, she covered the collapse of communism as the Warsaw correspondent of The Economist magazine.
Her writing has also appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the International Herald Tribune, Foreign Affairs, The New Criterion, The Weekly Standard, the New Republic, The National Review, The New Statesman, The Independent, The Guardian, Prospect, Commentaire, Die Welt, Cicero, Gazeta Wyborcza, Dziennik, The Times Literary Supplement, and several anthologies.
A graduate of Yale University, Ms. Applebaum was a Marshall scholar at the London School of Economics and St. Antony's College in Oxford. She has been a lecturer at Yale and Columbia Universities, the University of Heidelberg, the University of Zurich, and the Humboldt University in Berlin. Ms. Applebaum has authored a number of books.
Her most recent book Gulag: A History (Doubleday 2003) won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction in 2004.
Carl Bildt is the current foreign affairs minister of Sweden and was the country’s prime minister from 1992-1994. Minister Bildt’s political career began in 1979 when he was elected to the Swedish Parliament. He served as chair of the Moderate Party from 1986-1999, as well as the International Democrat Union from 1992-1999. His government negotiated and signed the 1995 accession of Sweden to the European Union and undertook far-reaching liberalization and structural reforms to improve the competitiveness of Sweden. Internationally, Minister Bildt has served as EU special envoy to former Yugoslavia, co-chair of the 1995 Bosnian Peace Talks at Dayton, high representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina immediately after the Bosnian War, and as the UN Secretary General’s special envoy for the Balkans. In the corporate sector, he has served on several boards, including Legg Mason, Vostok Nafta, Lundin Petroleum, and Teleopti AB.
Dr. Wolfgang Schäuble
Dr Wolfgang Schäuble studied law and economics at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg and was awarded the degree of Dr. jur. in 1971. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since 1972 and held the offices of Federal Minister for Special Tasks and Head of the Federal Chancellery before serving as Federal Minister of the Interior from 1989 to 1991 and from 2005 until 2009. He headed the CDU/CSU Parliamentary Group in the German Bundestag from 1991 until 2000. Since October 2009 he has been Federal Minister of Finance.
George Voinovich is a Republican senator from the state of Ohio. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998. He holds a degree in government from the University of Ohio along with a law degree from Ohio State University. His public service career began in 1967 as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives. Sen. Voinovich served as mayor of Cleveland, lieutenant governor of Ohio, and governor of Ohio for two terms before his election to the U.S. Senate. He currently serves on the Committee on Appropriations, where he is the ranking minority member of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, and on the Environment and Public Works Committee, where he is ranking member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee. He is also ranking member on the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia for the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Valdis Zatlers was elected president of Latvia in 2007. Graduating from the Riga Institute of Medicine as a physician in 1979, he received professional orthopedic training at Yale and Syracuse universities in 1991. He first worked as a traumatologistâ€“orthopedist (1979 to 1985), later becoming head of the Traumatology Department (1985 to 1994) at Riga Hospital No. 2. From 1994 to 2007, he served as the director and later chaired the Board of the State Hospital of Traumatology and Orthopaedics.
In 1993, Dr. Zalters received the prize from International Arthroscopy Association for the largest contribution to the development of arthroscopy in emerging countries. From 1995 to 1999, he was the Latvian coordinator for a Swiss assistance project.
As a medical service officer, Dr. Zatlers worked at Chernobyl following the nuclear reactor accident in 1986. With the National Awakening in the late 1980s, he became an activist for the renewal of the Latvian Physicians' Association and the establishment of the Popular Front, serving on both of their boards.
Dr. Zatlers has been awarded the Commander of the Order of Three Stars; the Order of Viesturs, First Class; and the Cross of Recognition, First Class.
Carl Bildt, Sweden's Minister of Foreign Affairs, examines relations between Europe and Russia 20 years after the cold war ended, and compares the evolution of Russia to that of Germany after World War II.