From a report of The Atlantic Council by former diplomat James E. Goodby:
The key to analyzing the security architecture of Europe is the notion that for many years to come there will be no single, unifying structure that could be called "the new European security system." The new European system will be a composite of several institutions each, if we are careful, contributing to peace and stability in Europe.
The vision of a "Europe whole and free" should be the long-term aim of our European policy. But the short-term reality is that unsettled conditions in the U.S.S.R. and in Eastern Europe mean that an intense and creative involvement in NATO by the United States will be essential for the equilibrium of Europe during the next several years.
It will be a long time before the European Community can be compared to a nation-state, although it will continue to provide an integrating framework for Western Europe and will measurably extend its influence into Eastern Europe.
The Soviet Union, a nuclear-armed continental power occupying the Eurasian land mass, is not matched in sheer geopolitical terms by any combination of European nations. NATO, therefore, should remain part of the European scene regardless of what has happened to the Warsaw Pact. Support for NATO, however, is entirely compatible with an active American role in building a broader European-North American structure of international relations. Complementarity among NATO, the European Community, and the Conference on the Security and Cooperation in Europe exists today and can exist in the future.