In the face of this historic challenge of defining the character of and managing the transition to the post-cold war order, the older institutional networks in world politics proved remarkably ineffective. Despite the new enthusiasm of the Soviet Union for the United Nations system, that institution failed to assist in ending the division of Germany and Europe; to incorporate the rising powers of Germany and Japan into the permanent inner sanctum of the Security Council; to dislodge an increasingly indebted United States from its unique veto position in the International Monetary Fund; to spawn effective action to preserve the global atmosphere; or even to convince the United States to pay its almost three-quarters of a billion dollars in accumulated arrears. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at its London summit of early July 1990 proved unable to define a new non-security focus for the organization or to resolve differences over the wisdom of extending aid to the Soviet Union, even as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) failed to narrow entrenched differences between the United States and the European Community over trade and agriculture. The Eurocentric system based on the European Community, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) and such new institutions as the Group of 24 and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) also could not mobilize the resources required to repair adequately the ravaged economies and environments of Central and Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. And the system of regular bilateral summitry between the superpowers, revived in 1985 and reinforced by the Bush-Gorbachev summits in Malta and Washington, left unanswered the questions of what order would replace the decaying bipolar system, and how the two declining behemoths could bring that order to life.
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