A New Cold War?
The Sources of Soviet Conduct
Political Ideas in the Twentieth Century
Atomic Weapons and American Policy
The Illusion of Disengagement
On Peaceful Coexistence
The Search for Stability
The Challenge of Change in the Soviet Bloc
The Practice of Partnership
The Framework of East-West Reconciliation
The Limits of Détente
After the Cold War
On Power: The Nature of Soviet Power
The Rise, Fall and Future of Détente
What Went Wrong With Arms Control?
Containment: 40 Years Later
Containment Then and Now
Beyond the Cold War
From Cold War Toward Trusting Peace
Toward the Post-Cold War World
America's Stake in the Soviet Future
Beyond Boris Yeltsin
Can Russia Change?
Russia Leaves the West
The Costs of Renewed Confrontation
Mission to Moscow
Why Authoritarian Stability Is a Myth
What Has Moscow Done?
Rebuilding U.S.-Russian Relations
Moscow's Modernization Dilemma
Is Russia Charting a New Foreign Policy?
The Dying Bear
Russia's Demographic Disaster
Managing the New Cold War
What Moscow and Washington Can Learn From the Last One
Russia's Perpetual Geopolitics
Putin Returns to the Historical Pattern
Putin's Foreign Policy
The Quest to Restore Russia’s Rightful Place
The Revival of the Russian Military
How Moscow Reloaded
Why Putin Took Crimea
The Gambler in the Kremlin
Trump and Russia
The Right Way to Manage Relations
Why New Russia Sanctions Won't Change Moscow's Behavior
Washington's Approach Lacks Clear Goals
The Kremlin's Latest Crackdown on Independent Media
Russia's New Foreign Agent Law in Context
Containing Russia, Again
An Adversary Attacked the United States—It’s Time to Respond
Putin's Past Explains Russia's Future
What to Expect After the Election
Has a New Cold War Really Begun?
Why the Term Shouldn't Apply to Today's Great-Power Tensions
One of the occupational hazards of being a historian is that one tends to take on, with age, a certain air of resigned pessimism. This comes, I think, from our professional posture of constantly facing backwards: it is not cheering to have to focus one's attention on the disasters, defalcations, and miscalculations that make up human history. We are given, as a result, to such plaintive statements as: "Ah, yes, I knew it wouldn't work out," or "I saw it coming all along," or, most often, "Too bad they didn't listen to me."
Such, I am afraid, is the tone we historians have taken in looking at the last decade or so of Soviet-American relations. Détente, we now tell each other, was not an end to cold war tensions but rather a temporary relaxation that depended upon the unlikely intersection of unconnected phenomena. There had to be, we argue, approximate parity in the strategic arms race, a downplaying of ideological differences, a mutual willingness to refrain from challenging the interests of rivals, an ability to reward restraint when it occurred and to provide inducements to its further development, and the existence of strong, decisive and intelligent leadership at the top in both Washington and Moscow, capable of overriding all of the obstacles likely to be thrown in the path of détente by garbled communications, sullen bureaucracies, or outraged constituencies. To have found all of these things in place at the same time, we maintain, was about as likely as some rare astronomical conjunction of the stars and planets, or perhaps a balanced budget.
As a result, we have tended to see the revival of the cold war as an entirely predictable development rooted in deep and immutable historical forces. Those of us who hedged our bets about the durability of détente can now comfortably pat each other on the back, exchanging statements like: "We were right all along," or "Too bad they don't listen to historians," or "Isn't
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