While admitting that several obstacles remain, a panel of three European experts told an Institute of Politics forum last night that the unification of Germany is now inevitable.
Andreas Meyer-Landrut, chief of staff to the West German president, Joseph S. Nye, the Ford Foundation Professor of International Security, and Guido G. Goldman '59, the director of the Center for European Studies, agreed that the unification question will ultimately be decided by the German people.
"People want it, and it will happen," Meyer-Landrut said.
Although none of the experts would speculate on a timetable, they agreed that growing forces within the two Germanys will necessitate a conglomeration in the near future. The breakdown of the Berlin Wall this winter was only the beginning of a long unification process, they said.
The panelists offered a variety of policy suggestions for the west. Meyer-Landrut said that given the growing nationalism and social discontent in East Germany, the most crucial task for the west was to provide aid to assuage East Germany's domestic troubles.
"Our main task is now to go in economically to try to build up the country as much as possible, to give these people hope," said Meyer-Landrut, who was formerly West Germany's Soviet ambassador.
Nye outlined several potential options for U.S. and Soviet policy towards Germany, but was most favorable to having an "institutionally bounded Germany," one which would be reunited but tied down "with many small threads."
Goldman said that since East Germany's economy is about one-tenth the size of its western counterpart, he did not think a reunification would present a danger to neighboring countries.
Reunification, he said, is "not an overwhelming change from what we have today...Europe has learned to live with a powerful Germany."