DOI link for Introduction
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book discusses a wide range of countries, phenomena, and developments of post-1989 Western European history that substantiate the claims. It shows how viability of the Western European model is neither new nor contingent, but rather deeply entangled with the course of Western European history at least since the 1980s. The book examines the dual forces at work in post-1989 German history: fear, including within Germany itself, of the return of German power and identity politics that were so forcefully present in its earlier history; and caution for an overtly reluctant German leadership. It outlines how the European community/European Union conveyed a Western set of institutions, practices, norms, and ideas in post-1989 Europe and beyond. The book shows how the end of the Cold War represents a missed opportunity to enhance and deepen the quality of democracy in the realms.