FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: The Clash of Ideas

The Myth of Post-Cold War Chaos

The Berlin Wall, 1986. Thierry Noir / Wikimedia Commons


A great deal of ink has been shed in recent years describing various versions of the post-Cold War order. These attempts have all failed, because there is no such creature. The world order created in the 1940s is still with us, and in many ways stronger than ever. The challenge for American foreign policy is not to imagine and build a new world order but to reclaim and renew an old one--an innovative and durable order that has been hugely successful and largely unheralded.

The end of the Cold War, the common wisdom holds, was a historical watershed. The collapse of communism brought the collapse of the order that took shape after World War II. While foreign policy theorists and officials scramble to design new grand strategies, the United States is rudderless on uncharted seas.

The common wisdom is wrong. What ended with the Cold War

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