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21 5, 11:22pm
' "the role of helping integrate the Eastern bloc into the democratic realm should have been spearheaded by the Western Europeans, not the US..."
It was. The thing is, no matter what western european nations do and no matter how much agency they exert, they'll always be cast as "American Puppet-states" by the propaganda.
America did plenty too, there was so much money to be stolen at the time, but proximity alone meant Western Europe had greater influence.