For those who came of age during the Cold War, it is easy to agree with
advocates of NATO and EU enlargement that the fall of communism in "Eastern
Europe" and the disintegration of the Soviet Union created both a historic
opportunity and the moral obligation to overcome the East/West division of Europe.
Although some tendency is visible in academic circles to depict the two Cold War
blocs as fundamentally equivalent, the tide of events has been clear, taking the
former East European countries into (or at least toward) what used to be the defining
institutions of the political and economic West, now recast as the defining
institutions of Europe and of transatlantic unity.