Cold War Lessons for Great-Power Competition

With the end of the Cold War, a 45-year-long rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, many predicted that long-term peace would ensue, with liberal democracy as the final form of government for all nations. Yet, just 30 years after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, American hegemony has been displaced by long-term competitions with China and Russia, authoritarian nations whose ideals and goals threaten the American-led international system. So, how can the United States best navigate Russian and Chinese aggressions to gain an advantage without sparking war in the dangerous age of nuclear weapons? What should be the ultimate goal of the United States’ competition with China and Russia? We are joined by Professor Hal Brands to discuss these questions by applying lessons learned from the Cold War, America’s first and only experience in long-term competition as a great power.

Hal Brands is the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA). He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion. He is the author or editor of several books, including his most recent book around which our discussion is based today: The Twilight Struggle: what the cold war teaches us about great-power rivalry. Hal served as Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Strategic Planning from 2015 to 2016, and has been a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellow. He has also consulted with a range of government offices and agencies in the intelligence and national security communities and served as lead writer for the Commission on the National Defense Strategy for the United States.

Cold War Lessons for Great-Power Competition

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Episode Hosts: Alexis Holewinski, Chris Park, Amanda Yuen

Edited By: Zach Wheeler

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