Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1996-1997 index

Distributed March 24, 1997
Contact: Linda Mahdesian

New members, old tensions

Experts will debate NATO's expansion into Warsaw Pact countries

Government officials from Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic and the United States will gather for a discussion titled "NATO's Push Eastward: Enhancing Security or Sparking Tension?" CNN's Ralph Begleiter will moderate the event at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in Room 101 of the Salomon Center for Teaching.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Will the potential addition of former Warsaw Pact countries to NATO strengthen regional security or stir up old Cold War tensions? How will it affect the balance of power in Eastern and Central Europe, and how will Russia react?

"NATO's Push Eastward: Enhancing Security or Sparking Tension?," a forum sponsored by Brown University's Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies, will feature an informal debate concerning these important foreign policy concerns. The session starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 1, in Room 101 of the Salomon Center for Teaching. This event is free and open to the public.

Among the participants in the discussion will be Ralph Begleiter, CNN world affairs correspondent, who will serve as moderator; Alexei Arbatov, member of the Russian Parliament (Duma); Ambassador Jerzy Nowak, Mission of Poland to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); Ivan Gabal, former head of the Department of Political Analysis, Office of the President of the Czech Republic; and a U.S. government official to be announced.

In their recent meeting in Helsinki, Presidents Clinton and Yeltsin discussed the future security of East and Central Europe. NATO's expansion is a top priority for U.S. foreign policy. Thomas Biersteker, director of the Watson Institute, observes that "many experts in this country and Western Europe view NATO's enlargement as a natural step for the integration of East and Central European countries into Western European security and economic institutions. It's an aspiration for some of these former Warsaw Pact countries as well. However, many Russians see NATO's expansion as a means of isolating Russia and keeping it from participating in one of Europe's most important security arrangements."

This forum is supported by a grant from Victor Markowicz. For more information, call the Watson Institute (401) 863-7425 or visit the Institute's web site.