MOSCOW AND A UNIFIED GERMANY: COPING WITH THE INEVITABLE

Created: 3/1/1990

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The Duccior of Central Intelligence

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EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Moscownified Germany: Coping with the Inevitable

Having accepted German unification as inevitable, the USSR is scrambling to gain some influence over tbe external security arrangements of the new Germany while ensuring good relations with it.

The Soviets are still redefining their minimum security needs. How much more they will yield even they probably cannot now say, but further concessions arc likely.

The Kremlin will use the "two plus four" talks to draw out discussion of the external security aspects of unification In the hopes that this will allow the unfolding CSCE security process to catch up. The Soviets may also tryelay things long enough for an SPD-led government more amenable to Soviet concerns to replace Kohl's.

Soviet leverage is minimal. Moscow will play to the concerns that other European stales have over the security aspects of Germantroop levels, nuclear weapons-in an attempt to achieve Soviet objectives.

In the end, Moscow Is likely tonified Germany In NATO, provided that,inimum, no NATO troops are stationed in eastern Germany and the Soviets are given several years to withdraw their troops.

This Executive Brief reflects die view of the Intelligence Community representatives exprtstcdarning meeting held ont was prepared in anticipation of the upcoming two phts four* talks on Germany. The Brief was drafted by the National Intelligence Officer for the USSR and coordinated within the Community.

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Gorbachev and Shevardnadze have retreated steadily on German unification, from saying in November that it was not on the agenda and would be decided by "history" to Gorbachev's acknowledgment in hisebruary Pravda interview that history had begun to work "in an unexpectedly rapidoviel officials have put out conflicting signals on Moscow's conditions for accepting unification, and some have told us as recently as last week that the leadership is still in the process of figuring out its policy. Given the pace of events and Gorbachev's weak hand, further erosion of Soviet bottom lines is likely.

What Do the Soviets Want?

At ihe absolute minimum, Moscowoice. The Soviets feel strongly that,orld War II victor, theyegal and moral rightajor say in Germany's future.

The German questionisceral one among lhe Soviet population, and criticism ol Gorbachev's policy is beginning to emerge from people like Politburo member Ligachev and from some military officials.

Such criticism is no major threat to Gorbachev now. But if it were to appear that Soviet troops were being forced to retreat from the GDR, he had "lost" Germany, and the security environment for the USSR was now more threatening, the domestic fallout-whcn combined with oiher complaints-couldhreat to his position. Gorbachev at least has to have one eye on this contingency.

The Soviets see the "two plus four" talks as,ehicle to apply the brakes while ihey attempt to exert influence on the unification process. They want asransition period as possible for the external aspectsettlement.

This is behind Moscow's callseutral and demilitarized Germany and tbe conclusionormal peace treaty ending World War IL

It also drives the Kremlin's pitch for rapidthe CSCEew European security order that would guarantee existing borders andnited Germany from going its own way.

Another of Moscow's main objectives-perhaps, in the end, the overriding one-is toood relationship with the new, powerful German stale. For this reason, the Soviets do not want to be seen as the sole nay-saycr in working out the external aspects of German unification.

Finally, lhe Soviets, as Gorbachev indicated in his Pravda interview, want economic compensation for their investments in the East German economy and the economic commitments the GDR has to the USSR, currently each other's largest trading partners.

How Thev Will Trv to Achieve Their Aims

Moscow docs not want the "two plus four" talks to beehicle forait accompli by the two Gcrmaniesre-cooked deal between "two plus one" (the Unitedhe Soviets are likely to seek an acknowledgment from Washington of the legitimacy of the USSR's security concerns and the importance of Four-Power rights. Moscow is certain to play to British and French concerns about how the new Germany will fit into the European security order.

Tbe Soviets will try to enlist their support on joint callsong transition period and for limits on the size of Germany's armed forces.

They will use President Mitterrand's desire for institutionalizing the CSCE

security process to buttress their own, suniiar stance. Quick movementSCE summit would allow them to playarger European group with concernsnited Germany and anchor ituropean security order.

The Kremlin will continue to work directly on Bonn in talks we will not be fully privy to. It has few, if any, branaishmcnts to offer, and its ability to threaten lacks credibility. Nonetheless, the Soviets arc likely to try to make Bonn think theretrong possibility they will refuse to remove their troops from East Germany unless their security concerns are fully addressed. Moscow probably would also back any popularly-supported moveew East German governmenteutral East Germany, hoping this would stall intra-German discussions on the future alignment of Germany.

What Are Thev Llkelv to Accent?

The Soviets will go into the "two plus four" talks touting their demandseutral, demilitarized Germany, but the Intelligence Community believes that Moscow will, in the end, acquiescenified Germany's membership in NATO with certain restrictions (examinedur reasoning is that:

Gorbachev and Shevardnadze are above all realists. They recognize that the USSReak hand. They also recognize that the Kohl Government is firm on remaining in NATO and that the other Allied victors as well as some East European governments feel tbe same way.

Opposing it to the end would undermine Moscow's objective of not souring its tics to the new Germany.

Continued NATO membership probably would provide more near-term European stabilityermany in transition than neutrality would.

The Soviets willariety of scenarios innited Germany stays in NATO. As long as the CFE process stays on track, we believe Moscow would eventually settle for

No NATO (including West German) troops in the former GDR.

A timetable of at least several years for the complete withdrawal of Soviet forces from Germany.

At least an Informal indication by Washington that it will reduce the US troop presence in West Germany.

Some commitment by NATO (even if only window dressing) to become morepolitical* alliance.

In addition, Moscow will want US nuclear weapons removed but probably believes the Germans will push this on their own.

The Soviets are also likely to accept, in lieuormal peaceSCE document ratifying the external security arrangementsnited Germany as long as the Germans recognize today's borders and ratify the nuclear nonprolife ration treaty, and the Four Powers' rights are legally terminated.

Moscow will expect Bonn to honor GDR economic commitments to the USSR. It probably will also ask Bonn to foot part of the costs of maintaining Soviet forces in Germany during the transition period and of resettling them in the USSR.

nified Germany in NATO willitter pill, but Gorbachev and Shevardnadze are masters atirtue outecessity, as they have in Eastern Europe. Taking the long view, tbey probably are banking on an SPD victory in an all-German election.

Wiih ihe SPD in power, ihe stationing of US nuclear weapons in Germany, the utility of any US troop presence, the size of German forces, and continued membership in NATO will all come increasingly into question regardless of Soviet concessions on those issues now.

Basing their German policy on such hopes would be risky. (For example, an SPD call for neutrality-though not likely at the moment-could complicate Soviet efforts to constrain Germany's ability lo pursue its ownut it would be much less risky than attempting to stand astride the course of "history" yelling "halt."

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