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tv   Odd Arne Westad The Cold War  CSPAN  October 8, 2017 9:00am-10:30am EDT

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to protect northern factory owners through carrots and other legal actions. in a lot of ways we see similar debates today, little businesses or smaller interest versus global ones. >>. [inaudible conversation] good afternoon everyone. i am delighted to welcome you here today on our first session of this fall season, the washington history seminar that teaches one of the leading historians of international relations, party westside who will be presenting on his just
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published book, a cold war of global history. i'm from george washington university and i'm the cochair of the washington history center along with christian arneson of the policy program. the seminar for those of you who don't know is a collaborative effort of the national history center which is part of the american historical association and woodrow wilson enter's nationalcenter for scholars. we meet on monday afternoon at 4 pm though today for our fall lunch , we made an exception and it shows a beautiful friday afternoon to get this started. so normally we meet on monday afternoons, market down, 4 pm. if you have gotten the schedule already, we can go to the washington history seminar's website and national history center and download a copy of all the talks all season. i think our programming this fall is particularly exciting. seminars like this don't
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happen by themselves. on the logistics front, peter stecker of the wilson center and amanda perry work behind-the-scenes to ensure that the seminars come off without a hitch. we also rely upon the generous national support of a number of institutions, particularly schaefer, the society of historians in an election chips which helped to underwrite the seminar for a number of years as well as george washington university's department of history and a number of anonymous donors whose right inside you is joined at your convenience. one piece of business, if your cell phone is not already on silent or vibrate, if you could put it in that mode now, it would be very much appreciated. now my cochair kristin altman will introduce our speaker. >> asked eric. >> great to see so many of you here despite the wonderful weather. lots of familiar faces and a lot of new ones as well so
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i'm absolutely delighted. let me welcome you and staff to the wilson center to this washington history seminar. >> it's a privilege to introduce professor odd arne westad, ads friend, a longtime project partner and distinguished colleague. >> he is a household name is national history profession and beyond. and an intellectual giant in thefield of history. >> among his many books , this global cold war, the third world interventions and the making of our times, published in 2005. it was considered the gold standard in the field. it has been translated into 15 languages and made in an academic rockstar with a global following as today's tanning room only crowd can attest as well. >> global cold war won the bankruptcy prize, an important history prize given
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in this country and many other awards. >> he served along with melvin leffler as coeditor of tax breaking, the three volume cambridge history of war and is the author of the penguin history of the world, now it's sixth edition. the 2012 the rest with empire, china and the world in 1750 exemplifies the other area of expertise, china. >> is one the ages society award for 2015. >> arnie is the st leave professor of us asiarelations . he teaches at the kennedy school before coming to harvard in 2015, he was professor of international history. there he codirected, directed lsd, a leading center for national affairs and diplomacy and strategy and for many years prior to that,
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he was the regional director of the norwegian nobel institute where he hosted a terrific fellowship program that many of us, many folks in the room have been benefited from. >> 'snew book the cold war a world history as we will speak today, he returns once more to the conflict that shaped much of the 20th century and still reverberates powerfully today. for your information, it's great to have here. congratulations and you have the floor. >> i think i shall speak from up here. [applause] >> thank you very much. wonderfully generous introduction. mister johnson is sometimes faulted when he was introduced in a wonderful fashion at the gathering and he said if his father he would have been very proud and if his mother had been
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here, she would have given him. [inaudible] so there is something to be said for good introductions . which has certainly made my parents very proud. the book is dedicated to my parents so there is a connection here. even outside the storytelling. now i want to take a moment and thank the motion sensor for inviting me to do this talk and i want to start really where the book ends and the book ends at technology. and here i want to the specialists are here at the wilson center. a book like this in reality has many orders. anyone who thinks that he or she could be the ultimate judge of what goes on in a very long time period that i have described as the cold war on a world scale, would
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be rather foolish. you have to build on the work of others. in this book a few exceptions is a work of sections and the reason i've been able to do that is because of the people who have worked in this field, often in under difficult circumstances around the world. i've made it possible to access the kind of information that most historians of my generation in this profession could only dream about getting access to. and at the forefront of that process here in washington dc, the cold war international history project and the national security office over at tw. without institutions like that and particularly on the low end of our international history project and the predecessors, i would never
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have been able to do the work in the field that i do now. so much of what is most important when it comes to research on the cold war, on the standing in a broad sense is i collect an enterprise and brought it together more than anyone else have been, the cold war at the national history project so i'm not just grateful, i'm entirely committed to the kind of project that this is. it's collaborative but also because it has a need for public access to government sources of information, that absolutely have become instance, that's the significance of this project. >> let me talk a little bit about the book. and how i constructed it. >> so i started out thinking about this book,maybe about six or seven years ago and as much of what i do , it came out of teaching. so in teaching students first that i know for a few years,
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i started getting a certain idea of how i wanted to present this context topic to a broader audience. >> by, i was quite certain that the audience that i was aiming for would be a general audience. there are lots and lots of folks in the cold war written for specialists, some people would say too many. and if i was going to try my last on the subject would have to be for a general so that was a given and then i started struggling with how to get a handle on it and i was joking with christian and eric that most of what was difficult about this book was to conceptualize it, to write this wasn't all that difficult. when i figured out how i was going to do it. so let metell you about how i have tried to conceptualize my approach . this is a history of the cold
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war, as an ideological conflict to capitalism and socialism. >> it goes back even 100 years, it starts in the 1890s but with the first global market crisis and the realization of significant sorts of the movement in europe in europe and north america and the expansion of the state and russia as confidence themselves. >> and it ends with the collapse of the soviet union in the 1990s so it covers 100 years back of international history. >> now, some of you immediately will say it's a little bit audacious. >> there are a lot of other things that happened during that hundred year.
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[inaudible conversation] despite what i have defined as the cold war and they will undoubtedly be right area two world wars, the great depression, decolonization, integration, the rise of china. lots of things happening during this period and it's not just, my book is not an attempt at trying to consume thesedevelopments . under a framework of an ideological cold war. it is rather to try to stimulate the cold war within this broader history of the world in the 20th century because my contention in the book is that the only way we can understand the conflict. if we tried to reduce it simply to an state system or a framework in which countries in directed with each other, then i think we are losing out on a great deal of what made conflict so important. but also made it very territorial. >> i think without going deeper into the situation, that the cold war lived when and was created within, we cannot understand that even
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the younger generation today cannot understand the dedication absolute, that came through the cold war, the reason why people of goodwill on both sides, intelligent people could take this so seriously and such a competition that they were willing to sacrifice not just themselves or their own countries and families but the future of the world based on what they believed in. >> now, one thing that is important and this is something that will explain the timetable that i write this within, is how the cold war was experienced by the people who lived through it. >> you have to understand it to some extent generationally so i think helps getting to this issue of why it mattered so much and so many people in
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different settings across the world. but if you were born in the 1890s, a lot of people who came to drive the cold war were born around that time. and whether you were born into it, you are bound to have a completely different view of young adults. and really things were not going well in the early part of the cold war, the first world war, great depression, but only listen, i could only listen, lots of things in most countries that seem to go very wrong. >> and i think this help in understanding why the states were so high. if you have this kind of background, you are more likely i thinkto dedicate yourself to big ideals about how you wanted to set the world right . everett not everyone during the cold war acted for idealistic reasons.the more that i found i was working on this, the recently high number of people did on all sides, and i think the generational aspect was to attempt to tell us something
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about why the states were so high, why they were so wrong. >> but like girly historians are dedicated to trying to collect the time period i'm working on, it's possible for us to digest what's going on. or the prioritization and we are dedicated, we can't avoid it. let me give you a certain sense or the sake of discussion that i have in a minute, of how i divide this war into different eras. the first one goes roughly from the1890s to 1970 through the russian revolution . this is the creation of the ideological confrontation. this is when the framework of new kinds of states which the united states already was compared to what existed in europe before and the soviet
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union of the north and 17, how these were created ideologically . >> and the second is from 1917 to 1941, the development of a soviet union as a great power and the attraction of these international economic suppressions that contributed in my view significantly to the soviet union and as an alternative, having the kind of position that it had internationally. so the third goes from 1941 of the early 1970s. and that is perhaps what most people would immediately associate with the term cold war. what i would argue is that there's a different time period in which the ideological cold war is framing, the fundamentalsthat i am talking about , it became an international system and i'm going to talk moreabout that . then finally, the period in the early 1970s to the early 1990s which was the slow demise of the cold war as a predominant international.
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which i'm also going to talk more about. but before that, a couple of points about how the cold war figures when you think about very broad international is three. >> international history of the long of eight. >> one of the things that's striking in my political science friends have been helpful in pointing this out on a number of occasions is how relatively rare popular international systems of the cold war kind are in human history. most systems are either united polar or mineral. >> you either had one great power at the time or internals roaming in eastern asia for 1000 years. all they had a number of countries that competed, think europe. from from the 1500s and through the early 20th century. >> so there are only a few examples.
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few real examples of international systems that are a little like the cold war. >> pressure in the third century bc and the first century a.d., it's a little bit like this. the competition for power that involved most of the mediterranean and the middle east into it, that was pulled through that process that had very strong ideological confrontation at its core. >> the best example that i know of is the chinese example, the united states in the 11th century which was states that also had a very strong confrontation that competed for the same territory that did much of the fighting through proxies and allies. and then of course the most useful example in a way, england and spain in the mid-60s to early 17th century which was mostly a religious conflict. >> and anna concern about the
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future but it's actually quite hard to find bipolar international systems and that's something that i found quite interesting when i wrote the book on this. >> now, i talk about a different difference between the cold war as a globalizing ideological component and the cold war as an international system. i think it's important in order to understand in this book, they are connected to each other but they're not odds. >> so in order to understand how the cold war became a global international system, you have to understand where it came from. it starts by thinking about the world in the late 1940s as other historians right in the cold war do, you don't get it. you don't understand why it's a confrontation and why
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ideology was so clearly connected to the purpose. >> on both sides. >> on the other hand, you also have to understand and systems. >> and i don't think that is really all that hard to explore. and as most changes in history, it was, a product of structural acts that would get in this direction. ideology as i already pointed out but also this falsely superior access to resources. that the united states andthe soviet union had . this system they controlled over other countries that competed on an international system. in a way it's not surprising from 1945, it is these two countries that are the largest in the international area so conflict has been moved to the ideological differences.
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that didn't in itself produce the international system but when the outcomeof the second world war was the soviet union and the united states became the privileged international powers, then the ideological bipolarity pointed in that direction . so what i say in the book is if i think that conflict was very likely and it was pushed in a direction that would not be surprising,wasn't surprising for anyone who lived through that period but the cold war as an international system, as a full-fledged work , that is perhaps the surprising, even perhaps avoidable part and i discussed this at length in the book. more about it later on. part of the reason why i'm so preoccupied with the early
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part of the 20th century, link to outcomes is that i think it's necessary for any text that is written today with a general audience in mind , students in mind as well , in a way to resurrect the soviet union, that's the real ability in intellect. and that of course has a lot to do with how the cold war ended . but it also have to do i think with fairly in prudential tendencies among scientists who worked on this who tend to read the cold war backwards. ignore the outcome, we know that in the book the united states wins the cold war. but we read into that in terms of the weakness of the soviet union. and some more reason that counts, the soviet union
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becomes an early date version of russia today. power on the outside of the international system and it's really been excluded, pushed to the edges which is an explanation in the framework that we don't agree with that the soviet union acted through the cold war for its own reasons . it was not a kind of foil for what was happening in american politics, it had its own significance, its own anti-capitalists lodging. x written for a very long period of time or for three generations worked well. the problem from the ideological perspective was shooting of course. but it's important that if we don't get into that kind of understanding of the other side , the whole idea about why this conflict was superior gets lost.
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>> let me talk a little bit about what i see as a turning point in the cold war. although there are many turning points but one i think that was particularly important and could be interesting today's so one of the very early impressions of the 20th century, even before the russian revolution between different groups on the global level, particularly between democratic socialists on the one hand and communists on the other . i think the cold war would have ended very differently if it hadn't been for that for two reasons. first reason was that after the global collapse of capitalism in two world wars and the great depression, it was possible for people on the left to cooperate in order to set off new forms of
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welfare states, new forms of systems of integration, of larger numbers of the population that could be an alternative. but in a market strategy to the type of practices that had developed in the soviet union and was important, imposed on eastern europe after 1945. but also in pure power terms, because insignificant parts of the world in the latter half of the 19th century, the conflicts were not just between people who believed in the liberal democratic pockets of the state on one hand and communists on the other, very often the conflicts were between people who believed in democratic forms of socialism and their communist opponents. then of course in a broad sense but in another sense this became the rescue not least in europe of the possibilities of developing alternative practices that
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became more effective and in the end influencing all of the continents. the social democratic communists in the first turning point but the second turning point which i think is important is the korean war. not just because the korean war was the first with devastating consequences for korea that they are still living with today but also because the korean war led to a militarization of the cold war on a global scale. but i think this is again something that's often forgotten. between the united states and the soviet union and between russian soviet states prior to the summer of 1950. and i think very few people including this would have imagined this feeding into an international system that was lost for the next 40 years if it hadn't been without
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breaking with north korea. it didn't change everything but it changed a lot in how the cold war developed. then in terms of turning point, in 1970 and the economic change that took place during that decade . and i won't have time to go into this much in the presentation today, we can talk about it afterwards but my view of what happened is from the 1970s on, after a period of what was seen as tremendous weakness for the russians, they think this challenge to american political institutions through the state crisis think stagnation in terms of how the economy developed in the late 1970s, think oil and energy crisis, right? it seems to be a period of immense weakness for the west and especiallyfor the united
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states . instead it became by the late 17th and early 18th, a period of globalization of markets. a temporary weakening of the position of the united states actually turned out to oversimplify this grossly, to become an enormous advantage for the united states less than a decade later that made it possible for this country to invest into, to buy into marketpractices that were spreading globally to areas that would have never been imaginable . think about china. very few people in the early 1970s or mid-1970s could have foreseen the direction that china took in the late 70s and early 1980s. it had a tremendous impact on how the worldchanged and a tremendous impact on how the cold war ended . one of the things that i want
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to do is to, some people have been joking about this but in my book the global cold war i tried to rule on the cold war geographically and in this book i tried to track it g chronologically. that's not entirely true anyway. although there might be some elements in it. it is a long book after all. at least i got paid per page. by the publishers. but by my attempt in this book is to look at the issues i brought up in the global cold war which have to do with how the cold war became a global system. that influenced not just europe, the soviet union and north america influenced by the late 1950s almost every corner of the globe and that's why i write more in this book then in most
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discussions of the cold war about latin america. and maybe especially about india and some people would wonder what is the significance of india with regard to the cold war? that significance is very important or two main reasons. one is that india is a country of political systems in which it's very easy to understand the connections between the latter part of the 20th century and early part of the 30thcentury in terms of the country's administration. the indian national congress , the main oppositional movement was socialists from the very beginning. and gradually became more dedicated, even though it stood by democratic practices to different forms of planning, of centralization
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in terms of the economy to add an extent that surprised a lot of people in the late 20th century. india in terms of its foreign policy emphasized normal alignment and in thatsense , i use that term in the world, i think india could be seen almost as a kind of anti-cold war but in terms of its domestic development, india stuck for a very long time to a form of centralized tally that had a lot to do with the experience of the soviet union and i like to joke that i thought that by writing this book, believing that india's democratic was more about the british experience or the soviet experience than it was more lusk even lenin and i was wrong. when you look at the indian outcomes which is one of the few places where i've done a
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pile of research for this book, it's clear what kind of impact the soviet experience had on india planning for its long-term future but these aspects of the cold war are also something important for me to cover in this book and i guess explains in part why it became as lengthy asit ended up . let me talk a little bit about the end of the cold war. what i described so far is the systems that in spite of the different contradictions that built into it seems for a long while i think that left the impression that most of us had probably as late as the early 1980s that the cold war was here to stay for quite a long time's
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leadership driven. in some areas the cold war, the relevance of the cold war has become less significant already by the late 1970s. think about impact of the islamic revolution in iran, for instance, khamenei rallying cry neither east nor west, the kind of challenge that came into various forms of religious nationalist what i will call challenges that broke with the patterns of cold war popularity. in other areas it lasted much
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longer. for europe, for instance, it's quite clear that without mikhail gorbachev coming into power in the soviet union and the changes he allowed happen in eastern europe, , much of that transformation was taken much longer than what it did. i've already mentioned the chinese influence. i will dwell on that a little bit now. i think china, understanding china politics is essential to understand how the cold war ended. not just because of the changes that happen with china. surely not just because of the breakthroughs that united states had in the 1970s under nixon and kissinger to be able to enlist china as de facto ally in the global struggle against the soviet union. but more i think because of the changes that took place within
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china itself. when china defected from the concept that socialist central planning was the wave of the future in the early 1980s, i think you could see that some of the idea that socialism would somehow rule the world in the next century was already going away. what's interesting to me is that this didn't just happen in china, although china is most interesting example. it also happened in other parts of the world that had chosen a socialist orientation in previous decades. it happened before mikhail gorbachev comes to power in the soviet union. that's very interesting at a think it has a lot to do with the economic changes on a global scale that i talked about earlier on and which we could discuss a little bit more in the q&a later on. let me now conclude, we're
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talking a a little bit about wt remains. i argue in the book that the cold war created the contemporary world, that you cannot understand the world that we live in today, in particular some of its main challenges without understanding the cold war, without understanding the kind of format that the cold war left us with. what is striking that though wu think about how the cold war seen today and mobilize today very much for political purposes is how many misapprehensions that exist in this country as in other countries about how the cold war really came to an end. i think the emphasis that you often find in the general public discourse of the 1980s, the reagan reagan era, being an era in which a sudden buildup in u.s. military strength brought the soviet union to its knees, is that something that is held
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up by the archival record. what is clear is what ended the cold war in that bilateral sense between the united states and the soviet union was remarkable willingness that the reagan administration after its first couple of years in the white house showed to negotiate with the soviet union. an interest that started again before gorbachev became the soviet leader but, of course, could only be fulfilled after he became the soviet president in 1985. what is most interesting to be in terms of how the cold war ended was that it ended through negotiations, and negotiations that were set up by both sides and were in no way preordained. very few people would have of tt in the early 1980s that this is actually how the cold war would end. now, gorbachev as is shown in my friend and colleague bills new wonderful biography was a
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central figure, but he was also important to have your signature nation that was willing to negotiate when the opportunities to do so arose. that was in no way a given. there had been moments before, during the cold war wizard been opportunities for negotiating which were for various reasons squandered by both sides. that this actually came together in a way that worked in the late 1980s, is there for something that is a very important part of the story about the cold war ended. there's also the other aspect to it which i think is much misunderstood. as i said early on i think the united states won the cold war at a think that is true in the sense that the other side collapsed. the soviet union was not capable of continuing the kind of process that it set on in the 1970s. in some account of the cold war this victory is taken much too far. in the direction that there is a belief that it was the specific
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form of ideology that came up during the 1980s in the united states, neoliberal approach if you like, to social affairs and economic affairs, that was what predominated and put pressure on the soviet union and led to the end of the cold war. i don't think that is true. much of the ideological rigidity that you found a point in this country but also to some extent in western europe was a part of that. it would've held up some of the opportunities that would of been there in order to deal more successfully with the contradictions between the two sides. what is clear was this was a moment in which a lot of people believed that united states at strengthen itself during the reagan years to a point that made it the envy of the world. so that ideological aspect of the way the cold war ended is i
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think that most of the time to import. it was a moment, it was not a long-term story, just like u.s. economic was a moment rather than a long-term story. but it was important for what happened then. it was important for what was seen as being successful in the 1980s. the problem is we would look back at that era today as historians it's not to be taken over by the assembly same belit existed at the time, and trying to understand the other factors that were at work that pushed us into the direction of ending the cold war. the cold war ended on a global scale just like it'd been born, in my view, on a global scale. if we don't take that into consideration, think the biggest risk is repeat many of the mistakes that a been made during the cold war. we think in terms of absolutes. to think in terms of military solutions and other kinds of
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solutions that will have been much better even under very dangerous and very, very difficult circumstances. this i think is what we can learn if we apply ourselves to studying it. that's what i been trying to do the writing this book. thank you very much. [applause] >> happily, we have time for questions and discussions. we would ask that you wait with a microphone to reach you before you start to speak, and if you would identify yourself, and finally if you could keep your questions relatively brief so we can get as many of them in as we can. we have a hand up writer on the end in the second row. -- right here. >> thank you very much for a stimulating revisionist approach to the cold war. i'm diana negroponte and that
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here at the woodrow wilson international center. my question is colonialism. 100 years that you have chosen can be characterized and priority given to the colonial and postcolonial time. how do you integrate that? >> let me try to answer briefly. to me it's a very important question because if we look at these other factors that were at play during the 20th century, the long 20th-century as some people would call it, decolonization, the anti-colonial movement and the processes of interaction between imperial centers and the new economize space is one of the most important aspects. to me, to put a very bluntly,
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decolonization was not born of the cold war even though the cold war stimulated it in various forms. neither the united states nor the soviet union sought its interests served to the continuation of the european colonial domination in the world. that is developed in the 19 century or even before in some cases. i think it's clear it was influenced by the interests of these two states to move away from colonialism and towards new forms of states, which were built on local national sovereignty. but that's of course with the agreement ends, right? i think the sudden existence or the sudden coming into being between 60-70 new states, more, a number of states exist in total in the early part of 20
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century, if the 1950s and 1960s had a tremendous impact on the cold war. it created a battlegrounds. not just to battlegrounds between united states and the soviet union, although that was the case in many areas as well, but new battlegrounds in terms of what these countries were going to choose for national development. this i think showed the cold war in the sense that is most destructive. because there were only two alternatives that could be used. i use example in the book very much based on own experience when i wrote it so i was in the process when i found the chapter on buying a new car. i went around looking for cars and i know nothing about cars, and i thought what it really would've wanted is something a little bit of a volvo and a little bit of a toyota, certainly a little bit of a team
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w, but i couldn't get that -- bmw. you have to buy one car relation expert at, and expert mechanic yourself i can take these apart and put them together again. in ideological terms in what became tonight as the third will the were very few people who could can operate in that way. you had to choose. it came prepackaged, and some of the biggest crimes and real tragedies of the cold war came out of that, trying to superimpose ideologically-based forms of development on countries that in reality at the basis for that whatsoever. that is as true in terms of those who chose the capitalist form of development as those who chose a soviet form of development. >> thank you. over here. >> thank you very much. dieter, georgeson university. thank you for great contribution to the history of the cold war. really a great and innovative i
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believe particularly the point that you make at the beginning which is that basically it is an ideological conflict. here is my point and my question. what would you say to people who would make the point, well, the cold war is just a classical power conflict? and ideology more or less grafted upon the basic power structures that involves basic from the time you started to begin to tell us where the cold war began? because you could make up some power developments that would point it in the same direction that you take the geopolitical strategies and include that, too. you could see that emerging power structures to the point in the same direction. that would be the question i would have for you. thank you. >> that's one of the central questions. in reality of course you can take any conflict under the sun
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and you can say it's national interest, stupid. you just have to look at the built in, the overall realistic mode of thinking, you have to look at the built in interests that are there for states to grapple for themselves, to be more powerful than their neighbors. i don't deny that most states developed in a direction where it is clearly something that is incumbent upon the leaders to do better than what they have done before. very often at the expense of others. history is rife with examples of that kind. the problem with the cold war is it isn't that. i would even venture to say that it at a just been about national interest it probably wouldn't have happened in the first place. because they're somatic contradictions that could go into the relationship. think about the soviet union. the united states could be used an example.
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here you have a culture that seemed to have more than enough of its own problems. during the 20 the 20 century. from the very beginning, from the revolution, certainly through devastation of the second world war in russia, but still held onto its ideological principles. voluntarily insulating itself, isolating itself from developments that could be enormous beneficial for the russian people that was taking place elsewhere. it's very hard to explain that if you don't use the ideological motive. but on the same side with regard to the united states, i was just writing earlier about the u.s. relationship with latin america. some people use that as an example to point exactly in the direction that you mentioned. they say so what's special about the u.s. relationship with latin america during the cold war? hasn't the relationship always been about economic providers
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and u.s. influence over its southern neighbors? so the latter is most appalachian. what is specific, , what's specl is the form that this took during the cold war, which in many ways was counterproductive in terms of the overall u.s. aims of interacting towards latin american countries. think about the u.s. support for various military dictators and the legacy that that left behind in latin america. think about the complete failure of this country to try to develop during the cold war era in the direction of the genuine economic and social cooperation with the countries to the south. many of these best mode is were defeated in this very strange hunt for communist conspiracies against the united states to the south of its border. that i think is how you understand how ideological came
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to play a role. >> i i appreciate remarks, but o questions. one, pre-world war, to british history and influence reading the recent economist review, largely favorable logical but with some doubts that i would expand on. to wonder about this bipolar disposition that in the british case if we could trace that back to the napoleonic experience and a way that's recalled again in the 30s in britain with the german threat arising and how much that my did been passed on to many of that american group the 1890s generation who were in fact, drawing upon the british perspective. so that's prewar. but postwar, our former wilson center colleague from finland that you made well acquainted with her, working on the
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nonaligned movement. i wonder if some comment on how nonalignment as an alternative between the two, how you really see that playing out over at various conferences. there was a last, that meeting they tried you organize in belgrade in 1989 that was mistimed. >> more than mistimed i would say. it was late in all possible ways. on britain, i've seen in a couple of british reviews which have generally been favorable,, that the point is been made what is there not war with britain in a? it does remind a little bit about, maybe that influenced this book about reviews of my 2005 cold war book, the global cold war add. i said it was a topic but why isn't there more india in it? when it comes to britain there is a great deal about britain in
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the early part of the book. so leading up to the 1941. i underlined exactly what you said, the degree to which not just in terms of approaches but to go in terms of perceptions, many concepts and ideas were taken over by the united states from british examples, and particularly on the line the degree to which the united states, a bit to this present of the british everyone else, decided when it had become most powerful country in the world to keep a lot of approaches and institutions that had developed during the british hegemony of the 19th and early part of the 20th century. what is striking though in terms of britain's role, think this is what a couple of the reviews really have referred to, they do not agree with me on, is how rapidly the british influence
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went in the middle part of the 20th century. how even during the second world war as britain was fighting for its life and british troops, the british navy was engaged on all continents, in political terms, there was not three great powers as is often presented. there were put it mildly two and a half. britain never had the kind of status, they can a physician, the kind of opportunities for reasons of referred to in my talk, that the soviet union and the united states had at that time here the reason for that is quite obvious. it's about the inability of britain to provide either the resources in material terms, but also that kind of start ideological choices that the united states and the soviet union could be seen as offering on a global scale during and after the second world war.
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i think it's important to understand that. this is not why it written britain out of the story, not at all. this is something that is sometimes difficult to get, how quickly british power went in the middle part of the 20th century. on the nonalignment issue, very brief on that, i think alignment played a significant role during the cold war, the attempts, but the little bit like what i have discussed in other contexts with the third world movement which was in a way social and economic aspect of what some would say to spence, not ever entirely lacking alignment but involving some of same disciplines as others have pointed out. the problem is it's very hard to oppose, even though you try to do for the best of reasons, what already has been set as a bipolar international system.
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what you see is a gradual defeats of these attempts at nonalignment. so 89 was not the end of it. already i would argue by the late 1960s nonalignment and we got in trouble. it was a great project but under cold war circumstances it was incredibly difficult to realize. >> i take a coach or prerogative to slip into i hope straightforward questions -- cochair. this is a book that is written for a general audience, and trade publishers discourage academics from going on and on and on about historiography, and where their work fits into the broader literature that precedes them. question one, if you wouldn't mind just very briefly, situating that book into the story graphical field. cyclical this one of the really
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easy, you could probably forgive a student reading this book from thinking it's all now been done. you've got 639 pages and you cover almost every conceivable topic. presumably you would want to discourage that student from thinking everything is done and there's more to be done. what would you identify as the areas you would want them to explore? >> those are good questions and difficult to answer, at least to answer briefly. his to graphically, as i argued in other settings, i think there's a very significant break which happens at the time when we saw actually to get access to source materials to archives outside the united states and britain. it's not just about soviet come is not just about former -- i'm not at all you may have guessed at this point which you could
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call a positive history. i don't think the archives tell us what we ought to think about this or that or about anything. but it's almost impossible to do the kind of history that an try to do here without relying on archives. on it there it's a sharp right i think in the early 1990s that come into being. that said, it's very clear that i'm influenced by people in this country and elsewhere who have looked at the cold war structurally more than simply through a center kind of analysis. i did my phd at unc chapel hill working with michael hump, and michael sort is one of those who influence me very much in terms of my own thinking about the framework of u.s. power, which he has dealt with so
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eloquently. i've been influenced by people who want to think about the cold war in a broad systemic sense, what is perhaps a little bit surprising, this is maybe one of the advantages i have as a non-u.s. historian, is that they come from various sides of the political spectrum. i'm influenced by people like williams, is thinking about the fundamentals of u.s. power. but i'm also influenced by people like john gaddis who try to think structurally from a different position, about other aspects of u.s., first of all political and strategic. overall probably have more disagreements with those who come out of the post-revisionist, as is often called, school of cold war
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history, but that's not the same thing that i'm influenced by. i am too quite so extended anyone who reads the book will see where the influence actually comes in. now, not all done, is it, well, i'm done certainly terms of dealing with the cold war in a broader sense. for other people were going to pick this up, i think there's lots of things to work on. it will be different from what was in the past. i mentioned in america perhaps the hottest field i know of for people working on the cold war now is latin america, in a broad sense. not just eating with the 1940s and '50s and 60s but going back to the early part of the 20th century, and very often look at internal domestic cold war conflicts within capitalism and collectivist developments in latin america. by myself, and quite a number of
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others are fast they did by the study of science and technology and its relationship to cold war developments. moore has been done on that already, but particularly when you link that social development there is a lot still that needs to be done. that's many fields that could be covered. >> we have a long list of folks who would like to contribute to the discussion. >> why do we do three or four of them? i would be happy with that. >> i teach history at university in brooklyn, new york, so i travel there in order to attend from new york in order to attend this event. i have read several chapter and i like very much. i think chinese translate is in the making, so hope, i i thinki
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have two questions. the first question is about the title, "the cold war: a world history" here you have a book called the global cold war. if i want to change the title to the cold war, a global history, would that work? the other question i have is toward the end of the book you mentioned that gorbachev didn't like the leaders of eastern european communist parties. so in 1989 when things got nasty over there, he refused to intervene. my question is, if there were still met in 1989 or 1991 where communism, would communism collapsed in eastern europe, or would soviet union disintegrated in 1991? thank you so much. >> thank you.
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>> i am a fulbright scholar at gw history department. and so i'm going to ask you about the role of global institutions, and some wondering how you would respond to the criticism, even if you call this book a world history rather than global history is still history on east versus west. still history of the global north. if you look at the role of global institutions, think about global society, what we see is a very dynamic discussion about the experiences of capitalism versus socialism and ideas of expenses of liberal international regimes versus global socialist regimes. we also see is a kind of dynamism, and i galatian evolution of ideas of the systems come from global countries himself, both within it without the system. i wonder how you would criticize ---respond to the criticism and where these actors in your
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story? >> so the questions, to their great honor by coming down from new york to listen to me, your own work has influenced my understanding of the cold war especially with regard. if we changed world for global in this, i think in a way it would benefit but, of course, if information on how you employ te two terms. the reason why i called my 2005 book the global cold war was to emphasize how the globalizing processes that go into the cold war as a system came to eventually expand to the whole world. the something of course it's very important as well, third world intervention of the making of all times. the book as you know is best understood as an essay attempting to write the third world into the cold war
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experience on the global scale. as with the book is about. the reason why i prefer the term world history here is because of what i talk about in the lecture, and attempt to situate the cold war within a broader spectrum of things that were actually happening at the same time. that was in a way what made the book so incredibly difficult to write was that kind of, it's something i don't think historians are well-suited for. many of our social science colleagues to the much better than what the stories are because we generally are pushed towards the particular and the specific and, therefore, we see our trees but we don't see much of the forest. that's what i've tried to do there. they're interesting, would communism in eastern europe still be around? i don't know, of course. but i would probably strongly argue against people who are
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saying that and drop off necessarily would have come up with different decisions and what pierre, south dakota under similar circumstances. i'm really struck would look at the historical record how and drop off and another other severely in the early 1980s started feeling that the burden of hegemony in eastern europe was too much for the soviet union to bear, if there were domestic charges and poland is the key issue at this point, that would make the price of -- crisis of intervention to i. andropov said that just before martial law was introduced, that all cleared circumstances in which sold individually not be forthcoming, even if they did not succeed in introducing martial law in poland.
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one has to think about this systemically. one of the biggest surprises i had in the research was looking at how deep this sense of unease and weakness was in the soviet union in the very early 1980s, which is often not seen in the west at all. at first came to the fore when gorbachev became general secretary. then the last question, global institutions. when you write in the sense that the book doesn't center on global institutions because it really tries to look at the ideological divides that come again to put it bluntly, on many occasions broke them apart, right? just as they were starting to have an international significance. the human institution was the most striking one where you can see from a really promising
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starting point in the 1940s coming out of the much earlier experience of building international institutions. how much of this was pushed to the side because of the cold war process? the united states by the way is just as guilty of this in terms of the act of sabotaging of multilateral broad institutions as the soviet union was. but it wouldn't be possible to write that history from the perspective that a have in this book. so as you know what the things i'm really interested in is to see not least in terms of the intellectual framework have the concept spread in the 20th century. i do get to that towards the end of my story. how ideas of the global help to overcome some of the cold war challenges that were there. but if you think i would argue
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that until that happens, the national institutional approach in most cases lost out to the cold cold war logic that existed on a broad scale. not to the point of desperate bid to keep them suppressant opportunity opened up for them to challenge the ideas. >> great, thank you. you sort of answer my question when you said that site and technology and civic of the cold war, something has to be worked on, but, in fact, i like to ask you about, i look at your chronology in 1970 is kind of the peak whenever he thought the atomic bomb nuclear power and nuclear weapons were going to determine everything and then by the 1980s you get information and communications are coming in. in. so this whole change in the background of what defines power and wealth occurs during the peak, and what does that play? >> should we take another one as
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well? >> marty. >> marty sherwin, wilson center. i'm a little bit, i want to follow such a question that was just asked. as we ask you about your periodization. it surprised me because it would seem to me that there were two great times in this 100 years, the 1890s to august 1945, and august 1945 onward. that is the impact of the nuclear issue. i understand this is ideology but it seems to me that the ideology is folded in very, very tightly in the context of the nuclear age. i would just like you to comment on where are you situated, the influence of the nuclear, the
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introduction of nuclear weapons? >> now, let me deal with those because they are all linked. marty's question first. i think so nuclear weapons did not create the cold war of the cold war when that event the same conflict without nuclear weapons. in other words, this is something i do spend quite a bit of time on discussing in the book. talks, i alluded to it in the talk, part of the reason why the cold war settled at the initial system, what is long freeze action takes place, is because of the development of a more powerful weapons of mass destruction. first and foremost strategic nuclear weapons but also other forms of weapons with enormous destructive power. with that there is no doubt you can buy the book the cold war without it. but one has to be careful, we are thinking it is sort of
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qualitatively, and i mean in terms of the system as such came to determine the directions that this system would take. i mean, to maybe exaggerate a bit, if the cold war had ended the way many people thought it would end in cataclysmic war, most of these systems by what i refer to early on ended that way. but then obviously the innovations that went on, the deployment of nuclear weapons would have been an aspect of the cold war would change everything. that didn't happen. it contributed to the relationship between the two sides while there was sent in particularly the competition between the united states and the soviet union in a bilateral sense, i don't think it changed everything in terms of the approaches to the cold war in the same way as many of the
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broader social, political structure questions that we've been talking about. one of the things i tried to do in this book is to deal both with technologies as weapons technology but also to do with it in terms of the transformation that happens and particularly towards the end of the cold war, the technological transformations that influence the cold war before then, for instance, the development of radio on a global scale which was very significant. but the real breakthrough, the real technological, together that influenced in my view how the cold war ended was of course this remarkable marrying of computing power to communications technology that took place gradually from the 1970s on.
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not just the globalization of markets that i talked about earlier on would've been impossible without them. and it is very interesting when you look at this, that at least when you get to the 1970 is that that the soviet union or its allies are so much behind in terms of technology abroad. they were behind in some fields at the rb-some implementation, but could have competed on this? they most certainly could. it's just that they didn't want to do it. because they are other purposes for the technology. not just military. it was put to other purposes. could the soviet union had made use of global satellite technology for communication purposes? you bet they could but it just something they didn't do except in the military, any military since because it was not the way the system had been developed. so to me, these two sides are equally important. the technological breakthrough in itself that made this
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possible which of course was some extent influence by the cold war not determined by it to military technologies, et cetera, et cetera but also this striking difference in terms of how the two sides employed technology from a military purpose. again as i said in my comments i think that something we need to look at. >> thank you. the gentleman over here and then -- yes. i'm sorry, i didn't realize. >> it was almost a commonplace as a first observation that people were ceasing to believe in communism. i first a can of this in print in 1962. my question my question is, did communism, did people stop believing in communism because it was failing, or was it failing because people stopped believing in it? and was the soviet union the
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world's last colonial empire? >> good afternoon. thank you for your presentation. i'm a student in international relations in political science. i wanted to know since you are specialist in cold war, how did you apply the concept of nobility today and talking about the -- [inaudible] abuse of nuclear weapons, how would you qualify our international system today? because you thinking about unipolar uniformity, polarity and multipolarity. thank you very much. >> should be do another one? >> sure. >> my name is paul from george washington university. this is a follow-up on the question that was just asked. curious how would you comment on
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the prevailing narrative, it seems to me the into the cold war was a victory not just the united states before the liberal international rules-based order, which incidentally china is now perceived as the emerging challenger. i'd like you to dress heisey the validity of that historical narrative. >> so let me deal with these in the opposite order. when it comes to liberal order, today i think there were many opportunities lost in developing this institutionalized liberal economic and political order after the cold war ended. and i talk about that too quite some extent in the book. i think much more could've been done, should have been done in order to integrate russia and to do voice also china into the order that had existed during the latter part of the cold war and that the united states stood for. some people say that would've been impossible, but i'm not so sure about that.
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at least in the case of russia. i think the reason, when main reason why politicians like vladimir putin had a chance to come back to power in russia was this since many russian summit having been excluded from the possibility of cooperating with other countries. this is as much a western european failure right away as it is an american failure of come after the cold war was over. it might not have worked but my belief is more should've been done. today of course some people say if you thinking is to short of the liberal order, to go with emphasis on economic aspects the united states is the biggest threat to the order. rather than china. and i went to some extent agree. it is very interesting though, commenting on that, to see how the united states now under the current administration has moved in a direction that a lot of
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people foresaw would happen when the cold war came to an end, but which didn't happen. that the united states would give up on a number of its international obligations, , and concentrate more on its own narrow self-interest. that took a long time in coming, and i have been interested in thinking about it because i think you have seen in many of the cases of great systemic shapes similar kinds of development which always kind of lack entail the new form of what is in place catches up with you. this, do not take this as an endorsement of current u.s. policies. [laughing] but as a reflection that the liberal order that a lot of people thought would be implement at the end of the cold war, which wasn't, elvis on a global scale. now has been cut up what was
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equally likely in my view to have happened, which was a development of a new form of american nationalism that made united states much more self interested in what it'd been during the cold war and much less systemically oriented. so that's in part, a response to the question about the system we have today. best way to describe it i think in systemic terms is that the are not in the end of the post-cold war era, chiloquin the 1970s we were at the end of the post second world war era. but we are heading i believe two more polarity, rather fast for the moment, but we're not quite there yet because of the preponderance of military power and to some extent economic power in institutional terms that is at the united states has
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on a global scale. when did people in eastern europe and the soviet union stopped believing in communism? and awake then you would have to ask individual groups of people about what, how they were thinking and then when they start thinking differently. overall, that you that i hold in the book is that the collapse of communism as a system to live by, as a kind of ideal, in the soviet union happened quite late. i don't think, much what gorbachev said in his time in power was not to dismantle communism but to rescue it, right? many of the people who believed
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likewise in eastern europe also are quite late in giving up in faith in communism. there might be several reasons. one is it takes a long time to unlearn what you would taken up over a lifetime. in eastern europe is also this fear if you admitted defeat for your ideological project your population would really turn on you. that in a way understandable. in the soviet union i think it was even more internalized than that. there is a wonderful book that describes some of this. some of those are fantastically good and in describing have sof these values even survived the collapse of the soviet union.
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so i think, you know, you would be careful in saying belief in communism had collapsed and that was the reason for the undoing of the system, i'm not so sure this is accurate. i think the other factors i discussed earlier on were at least equally important. the soviet union as last colonial empire, certainly not the last. i mean, china is still around, even though china is very different from the soviet union but china was also more or less the same form today as was inherited in the early part of the 20th century, which is not by the way and argument that china is going to collapse, decolonize. i think that's highly unlikely but it is an empire in that form. i don't think in pre-elastic of the soviet break was really all that important.
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the many countries, this is something i've discussed, a lot of my colleagues disagree with me, in most parts of the soviet union, with exception of the baltic states, with the exception of the ukraine to some extent, with exception of some parts of the caucuses, the experiment of socialism and experience that people have under socialism was not necessarily seen as being negative. and not negative certainly in a direct nationalist or religious kind of direction. i think what you find when you look at the record is that very often what happens is the soviet union starts getting into serious trouble at the center, and then very quickly these ideas of the forms of identity developed in the centralization republics for instance, but also in other parts of the soviet union. i'm not arguing that the case everywhere so remember what i said a minute ago.
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i think one has to be careful with believing this was a kind of anti-colonial rebellion from a the the nonmetropolitan areas. i'm not sure that is the best way of understanding. >> thank you. we are just about of time. maybe one more question, brief question, please. >> i guess this would be the question that would end it all. the grand finale, , korea. you started your talk with korea as beginning of militarization of the cold war. in its current form would you say in your own thoughts that this is the most visceral, reduced infestation of the cold war in the korean peninsula now? a hyper capitalist democracy south, a stalinist, severe stalinist regime in the north. for those who are done editing experience cold war, this is
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what those who lived through it had on a larger scale. just your thoughts. >> i think it's very appropriate. korea is not only the most dangerous remnant of the cold war, it is also in many ways the one we can see most directly where the cold war actually came from in a microcosm or conflict and disaster. the reason why i worry about north korea, everyone worries about north korea, but i but i probably worried more about than any other conflict that exists at the moment, is not just because of north korea's development of nuclear weapons. let's assume they have weapons of mass to second but it is the intractability of the conflict that is there. korea, as many of you will know, was divided in part as a result of the cold war, of occupation zones by the soviet union and the united states.
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but it was also divided because of two very strong in a post-nationalist project in north korea itself that oriented very much as you indicated in your question along the division lines of the cold war on a world scale. and it is these things come together which makes this conflict so incredibly difficult to solve. it's also the reason by the way drawing on some of the things i think i've learned i working on this book, were i believe negotiation is only possible solution. now, a lot of people would say you can't talk to a state, a regime like north korea, which is guilty of keeping its own population enslaved, which has developed against the will of the international community, weapons of mass distraction. i think with the cold war shows is that those are exactly the kind of circumstances in which
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you need to talk. because the consequences of not doing so could be so absolutely terrible. and that is not granting something to the north korean regime that they ought not to have, right? it is about avoiding the worst kind of snares which should happen in the north korean case, not because of the capability of the north, but because there was a leadership, at least most of them, believe in what they're doing. they think based on on the logc which we may see as completely warped, that they are the last best hope of korean nationalism that is there. and if you don't understand the terrible century that korea anyways had an part of the result of the code where you can never arrive at an understanding that in spite of their enemies they had committed, these people may be better talking to trying to isolate. so i'm not among the ones who
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believe that you can draw sort of immediate lessons from the past. i teach a course at harvard this semester which deals with power shifts in a global sense which starts in 400 bc and works its way slowly. [laughing] very slowly my students would say up to today. and i, people interpret past history in very different ways, depending on what kind of position they themselves take in today's international affairs or in today's politics. what i think we can do is to look at the past in terms of parallels and differences. we should ask ourselves, have you been in the situation before alex a little bit like what we're trying to deal with today, and what can we can learn from what we did well and didn't do so well in those kinds of situations. and i think on the korean
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conflict, the current korean situation, there is a lot that can be learned from the cold war in that respect and i wish that policymakers would at least in this town take that to heart. >> unfortunately, on that note we have to draw this to a close, but -- [applause] you can find copies of "the cold war: a world history" outside for purchase and for signing. and i can say that the book is not just an outstanding scholarly work, but it is absolutely readable as well and a pleasure to read. please join us this coming monday just days are now when jeremy issue to talk about his new book, on the presidency. some of the 4:00. thank you to our participants, and thank you, arne. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> booktv takes hundreds of other programs throughout the country all year long. here's a look at some of the events we will be covering this week. monday we at the metropolitan ame church and the nation's capital to a national book award-winning author takahashi codes offer his thoughts on of the obama presidency reshaped america's political landscape. on wednesday susan ward and gates former vice president of public policy at freddie mac will talk about the collapse of the mortgage giant at virginia tech in blacksburg virginia. thursday we had to george mason university in fairfax, virginia, for the fall for the book festival where he will recall his time as a cameraman during the vietnam war. saturday will be in maplewood new jersey at wards bookstore for historian amy ns


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