TITLE: America Between the Wars
SPEAKER: Derek Chollet, James Goldgeier
EVENT DATE: 2008/06/12
FORMAT: Video + Captions
RUNNING TIME: 73 minutes
TRANSCRIPT: View Transcript (link will open in a new window)
The 12-year period between the end of the Cold War and the destruction of the Twin Towers was perceived as calm and peaceful. Yet foreign-policy experts say these were pivotal years in shaping America's role in the world.
Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier examined those years in a lecture at the Library of Congress on their new book "America Between the Wars." The event was sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library.
According to Chollet and Goldgeier, when the Berlin Wall collapsed on Nov. 9, 1989 - signaling the end of the Cold War - America and the West declared victory: democracy and free markets had prevailed and the United States emerged as the world's triumphant superpower. The finger-on-the-button tension that had defined a generation was over, and it seemed that peace was at hand.
The next 12 years rolled by in a haze of self-congratulation, what some now call a "holiday from history." When that complacency shattered on September 11, confused Americans asked themselves: how did we get here? Chollet and Goldgeier examined how the decisions and debates of the years between the fall of the Berlin Wall and the terrorist attacks shaped the events, arguments and politics of the world we live in today.
Speaker Biography: Derek Chollet is an analyst and commentator on American foreign policy and politics at the Center for a New American Security. He has held positions as assistant to James A. Baker III, secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush; and chief national security adviser to Democratic North Carolina Senator John Edwards. He is the author of "The Road to the Dayton Accords: A Study of American Statecraft."
Speaker Biography: James Goldgeier is a professor of political science at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He has held appointments at Stanford and Cornell Universities, the National Security Council, the Brookings Institution, the Woodrow Wilson Center and was holder of the Henry Alfred Kissinger Chair in International Affairs and Foreign Policy at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. He has written three previous books on foreign policy and has been published widely in newspapers and magazines.