Paper-Albert - Book Review ALBERT WOLF John Lewis Gaddis....

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Book Review ALBERT WOLF John Lewis Gaddis. The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987. In The Long Peace: Inquiries into the History of the Cold War John Lewis Gaddis surveys the two-hundred year history of Russo-American relations with a special emphasis upon the Cold War. In Gaddis’ view, the Cold War was an unprecedented epoch of superpower stability and great power peace. Despite the “unjust and wholly artificial character of the post-World-War-Two settlement,” forty years of arms races, destructive wars on the periphery, and intense ideological rivalry a major war never broke out between the Soviet Union and the United States. Gaddis says that this is an impressive feat given the fact that after a comparable period of time the international systems constructed by Metternich and Bismark were in the midst of disintegration and collapse (Gaddis, 216-217). Each of the essays in The Long Peace has appeared in print before or has been presented at conferences. Each merit a full-length book review due to the number of topics each one covers and attempts to analyze. Every essay builds upon the next in order to prepare the reader for the book’s magnum opus and final chapter, “The Long Peace: Elements of Stability in the Postwar International System.” In “Legacies: Russian-American Relations Before the Cold War,” Gaddis examines the lone record of Russo-American cooperation. He cites the tacit Russo-American alliance against the British Empire in the nineteenth century and Russian and American efforts to work
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2 against Germany in the twentieth century. Mutual distrust and antagonism have risen between America and Russia as a result of each state’s attempt to reorder the international system in accordance with its own ideological preferences (Gaddis, 18-19). In “The Insecurities of Victory,” Gaddis argues that while the United States may have overreacted to the threat of Soviet power-maximization and expansion, many other countries were as alarmed as the United States was (Gaddis, 46-47). In “Spheres of Influence: The United States and Europe, 1945-1949,” Gaddis tries to explain why America’s initial enthusiasm on behalf of European unification dwindled after World War Two. In a version of Geir Lundestad’s empire-by-invitation argument, Gaddis posits that the Western European states bandwagoned with America because they viewed the United States as a benign power. By allying with the United States, they spared themselves the costs associated with balancing against the Soviet Union (Gaddis, 70-71). In “Drawing Lines: The Defensive Perimeter Strategy in East Asia, 1947-1951,” the initial U.S. policy of confining the American presence to islands that could be easily defended by air and by sea made sense given the depth of American involvement in Western Europe (Gaddis, 101). However, this strategy collapsed as a result of America’s obsession with credibility and domestic political pressures to expand America’s role in
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2010 for the course POLI SCI 5 taught by Professor Gurowitz,a during the Fall '09 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Paper-Albert - Book Review ALBERT WOLF John Lewis Gaddis....

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