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10.12.10 ENG Встреча с американским историком Гилбертом Доктороу

10 декабря 2010 года (пятница) в 17:00 в магазине «Англия» пройдет презентация новой книги и автограф-сессия американского писателя и историка, специалиста по истории России, экс-председателя российского Букеровского комитета Гилберта Доктороу (Gilbert Doctorow):

"Great Post-Cold War American Thinkers on International Relations"

About the Author

Gilbert Doctorow is a professional Russia watcher and actor in Russian affairs going back to 1965. He is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard College (1967), a past Fulbright scholar, and holder of a Ph.D. with honors in history from Columbia University (1975). After completing his studies, Mr. Doctorow pursued a business career focused on the USSR and Eastern Europe. For twenty-five years he worked for US and European multinationals in marketing and general management with regional responsibility. From 1998-2002, Doctorow served as the Chairman of the Russian Booker Literary Prize in Moscow.

A number of his early scholarly articles on Russian constitutional history under Nicholas II drawn from his dissertation remain 'in print' and are available online. Mr. Doctorow has also been an occasional contributor to the Russian language press including Zvezda (St Petersburg), Russkaya Mysl (La Pensée russe, Paris) and Kontinent (a journal sponsored by Alexander Solzhenitsyn) on issues of Russian cultural and political life. He regularly publishes analytical articles about international affairs on the portal of the Belgian daily La Libre Belgique.

Mr. Doctorow's current research interest is trends in U.S. area studies programs. He is a Visiting Scholar of the Harriman Institute, Columbia University during the 2010-2011 academic year.

Mr. Doctorow is an American citizen and a long-time resident of Brussels, Belgium.

Author's Foreword

The fall of the Berlin Wall twenty years ago, the overturning of Soviet controlled regimes in Eastern Europe and ultimately the collapse of the Soviet Union itself were epoch making events.

It was obvious at the time that the peoples in the newly liberated Soviet space, in particular those living in the Russian Federation, were totally disoriented. Not only did the economic, social, and political landscape around them change, but value systems were overturned. What yesterday was black had now become white, and vice versa.

What many of us did not appreciate at the time was how fundamental changes in the political environment also affected thinking in the West, on the "winning" side of the Cold War. Military planners and foreign policy professionals were left in confusion. What would the new security risks be now that Communism had been dispatched? What kind of armed forces would be needed? What about nuclear proliferation?

The general public, it now appears, was also quite hungry for a vision of the future, for fresh understanding of the challenges to come. Indeed, the disorientation may have been more severe in the West than in the East. In Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, there was an 'off-the-shelf' model ready to replace the defunct model of Soviet Communism: free markets, parliamentary democracy, association with the European Community and partnership with the former enemy across the Atlantic. In the West, there were uncertainties of a different nature. The bipolar world was dead. What would replace it?

And so an asymmetrical pattern of intellectual life set in: Eastern Europe and Russia abandoned ideology, rushed wholeheartedly into national ideas that boiled down to 'get rich quick,' generating contented strata of nouveaux riches, while the United States entered a phase of navel contemplation, search for identity and reconfirmation of ideology. An America that was once self-defined by its pragmatism and common sense approach to problem solving led the way in the search for new big ideas.

You are about to read a collection of essays on the writings of ten of America's most influential thinkers on international relations from the post-Cold War period with a view to how they addressed the questions about the present and future on everyone's minds. Some are professional futurologists. Others improvised to deal with the unexpected.

This volume is intended for use by undergraduates and graduate students, as well as for non-specialist readers, and this is reflected in the construction of the review articles. I try to set out the essential thesis of the respective authors before exposing it to critique, so that this book does not presuppose the reader's prior familiarity with the works in question.

In approaching my material I have placed the accent on considering the methodology of the authors under review. I did not bring particular erudition to the task of writing these critiques. I approached the authors in the manner of the oriental martial arts, applying their own inertial force against them. Where possible I did a logic check, drawing out what a peer review or skilled editor should have picked up.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I inform the reader that I approached the masters of International Relations bringing with me the intellectual baggage of an historian. While interdisciplinary approaches to area studies have long been the vogue, critiques of methodology across disciplinary lines such as I offer here are, admittedly, not common. However, as the reader will quickly realize, when political scientists are not applying deductive reasoning from abstract philosophical principles to reach their conclusions and policy recommendations, they very often are mining history for 'lessons' or case studies to prove their point. In the spirit of reciprocity, I will use the same lever in what follows to push back.

The result of close scrutiny is not always flattering. Works which were intended primarily for scholarly readers may come out better. Those which were more directed to the general public often come out bruised.

In all cases, contemporary political analysis or futurology is by nature written in great haste, since the shelf life of such books is expected to be quite limited. Haste may compromise scientific merit. The partisan agenda of the authors also is at odds with the notion of scholarly detachment.

Given the occasional severity of my remarks, some readers have raised the question of my sincerity in characterizing these authors as 'great thinkers.' Allow me to state unequivocally that I have the highest respect for the intellectual capabilities of all the authors presented here. As we shall see in the given works under examination, their books yields many pleasant surprises, making the journey into their worlds so rewarding What may be questionable is their receptivity to realities which contradict their preconceptions, in short, their honesty with themselves as well as with us and their ethical compass. Let the reader decide.

As the format is a book review, the question will possibly arise - why review books which first appeared ten or twenty years ago?

To that I reply that these major contributions from some of the country's best theorists and practitioners of international affairs have become classics. They are currently in print and are likely to remain so for years to come. The earliest among them have turned from being works potentially shaping the future to works which have shaped the past and present. As with any history, you return to it to pick out the causal lines which were unclear to most of us at the time but which have, over time, become salient. Elements in the books which presented great interest to readers when these books were first published and touched off professional disputes due to their topical nature may have receded in importance. Other elements that were passed over by reviewers back then may now, in light of events within the United States and the world, well merit discussion.

Some of the works which we shall examine in this book were written by young conceptual thinkers who were taking their first steps in the public marketplace of ideas; others were late works by senior statesmen and scholars who had decades of writings in their portfolios. In the latter case, my intent is not to trace the evolution in their thinking, instead to take only their works published in the period under examination and to connect them with the debate hanging in the air at the time.

I open with a look at the writings of Francis Fukuyama who began the debate over the future of the post-Cold War world with his stimulating and controversial End of History. The challenge to the foreign policy Establishment of a world without conflict implicit in Fukuyama's first major work was taken up by his former graduate studies adviser at Harvard, doyen of the American political science profession and master of futurology, Samuel Huntington. His Clash of Civilizations gave comfort to those who needed something to worry about and penetrated the consciousness of a global public thirsty for a new paradigm in international relations.

We will examine next several books written in the 1990s and new millennium by America's two leading scholar-practitioners in the field of international affairs from the period of the Cold War, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Henry Kissinger. We shall be interested to see in what ways the new age changed their views of what was required of American statecraft. Did the end of the Cold War mean indeed an end of the associated mentality? Is what they wrote new wine in old casks?

In Leslie Gelb and Joseph Nye we have two further long-time Establishment figures whose works under examination here dealt with both the changing international landscape and changing U.S. government management of foreign policy in the George W. Bush era which made them both outsiders.

We turn next to two academics whose writings are basically addressed to their peers in the profession, Stanley Hoffmann and John Ikenberry. Their works on the theory of international relations reviewed here are delivered at a higher level of abstraction, though they are clearly responding to changes in the political environment off campus since the end of the Cold War. Professor Hoffmann belongs to the same generation as the practitioner-scholars already mentioned. Professor Ikenberry represents a younger generation and may be said to be in the prime of his career, with speaking engagements and appearances on learned panels which attract the attention of the general public.

Finally we will move out of the classroom and into the street to see what a couple of widely read intellectual-polemicists have been saying about U.S. foreign policy in the post-Cold War world. These are the prominent Neoconservative writer Robert Kagan and the polymath academic Noam Chomsky, who is probably the best known American 'dissident' writer on U.S. foreign policy to audiences around the world and also enjoys considerable readership of his prolific writings within the United States.

It bears mention that there is a commonality to the 10 authors presented here which, though unintended when they were chosen, afterwards became fairly striking: in the course of their careers all but one, namely G. John Ikenberry, has had an affiliation with Harvard University whether as a student, resident fellow or professor.

Though they have their differences, which we will highlight, these 'apples' also did not fall very far from the tree. Apart from their institutional link-up, these independent minded and individualistic authors nearly all place themselves along a divide between 'realists' and 'idealists' which gave tight focus to their debates. Thus, I contend that what I am about to present is not merely 10 prima donna authors, but an important part of the tableau of American intellectual history in the period 1992-2009.

How did I come upon precisely these 10 authors? Admittedly, it was partly a process of trial and error as I expanded my list outwards from the most obvious and inevitable names. I was also assisted by some expert help from the sidelines. The scope of my search was influenced considerably by a conversation I had with Andrew Bacevich, Professor of International Relations and History at Boston University in June 2009. Some further tips and comments were offered by Professor S. Frederick Starr of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Obviously, responsibility for any omissions or wrongful inclusions in the list of 'great thinkers' rests solely with me.

The essays appearing in this book were first published as blog articles on the portal of La Libre Belgique, a middle-of-the road French language newspaper of Belgium. In the conversion from blog postings to chapters, I have edited the text to achieve as consistent an analytical approach to the subject matter as possible without altering the conversational tone. I am hopeful these essays will provide the reader with both a guide and incentive for reading the authors under review with better appreciation of the achievements and limitations of the genre.

Gilbert Doctorow


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