Czechoslovak foreign policy, 1989-1992 : the problems of translating ideas into policy
Czechoslovak Foreign Policy, 1989-1992: The Problems of Translating Ideas into Policy The history of Czechoslovakia is the contest of individual will against the larger, deterministic forces of the international system. From before the creation of the country in 1918 to its disintegration at the end of 1992, Czechoslovakia's survival was predicated on the stability of the international system. Partly because of the country's geographical location, Czechoslovak thinking has been characterised by a tendency towards what can be broadly called 'humanism', and was evident particularly in the writings and politics of Tomas Masaryk and Vaclav Havel. This thesis examines the 30-month period of Czechoslovak foreign policy from the loss of Communist control in December 1989 to the June 1992 election, the results of which foretold the country's disintegration and after which the two key figures in foreign policy left public office. The thesis examines the problems of translating a series of ideas which it terms 'civic' into political practice. These ideas are drawn from the writings of Czechoslovak dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s and which, when they entered public office, they maintained had become even more appropriate. The thesis begins by placing the tension between ideas and systemic pressures in Czechoslovak foreign policy in its pre-1989 historical context. Then, after establishing the civic ideas which formed the intellectual basis for the post-Communist foreign policy, it considers the obstacles in their implementation in five aspects of Czechoslovak foreign policy. These are: the nature and structure of foreign policy decision-making; views on the unification of Germany and the moral reconstruction of bilateral relations; transformation of ties with the Soviet Union and socialist bloc institutions; the geopolitical, cultural and economic bases for regional cooperation; and proposals for creating a second 'New Europe'.