Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Beyond the Cold War: Conversation with John Lewis Gaddis, Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio University,  May 8, 1989, by Harry Kreisler

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Interne technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas. Archival photos in this interview are courtesy of Yegor Gaidar.

Welcome to a Conversation on International Affairs. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is John Lewis Gaddis, who is Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio University. book coverProfessor Gaddis is the author of several books, including The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941 to 1947, and Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of Postwar National Security Policy.

  1. Origins of the Cold War ... George Kennan and containment ... evolving meaning in containment doctrine ... all-encompassing view vs. harboring of resources ... public opinion
  2. Presidents and Presidential Elections ... running "against the Russians" ... surprising tenacity of campaign rhetoric in policy ... unknown role of nuclear weapons ... Reagan as negotiator ... American self-confidence
  3. Living without External Threat ... Gorbachev deprives US of an enemy ... the need for external threat ... bureaucracy built on Cold War ... "vision" depends on crisis ... Cold War as "long peace" ... international stability ... mediocrity and incrementalism ... mustering a vision without an enemy ... possible future crises
  4. Crafting a Better Future ... need for good presidential advisors ... hands-off president ... public support ... a sense of proportion ... willingness to use our resources ... using the lessons of history appropriately ... historian's sense of tragedy ... taking hope in the good

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