ALTHOUGH THE FALL OF the Warsaw Pact and the withdrawal of the occupying Soviet forces were enthusiastically welcomed in Central Europe, those events placed the region in a precarious security position. Among the pact's former members in Central Europe, politicians and their constituents were shocked to realize that their countries were virtually unable to protect themselves from external attack. For instance, once the Soviet occupation forces that had provided air defense were gone, some of the newly sovereign states were incapable of guarding their airspace. The severity of the situation was demonstrated in late 1991, when Yugoslav fighter jets repeatedly violated Hungary's airspace as Hungarian forces watched helplessly.

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