La Guerra Fría - Una nueva historia por John Lewis Gaddis - Historia

La Guerra Fría - Una nueva historia por John Lewis Gaddis - Historia

Islamista de Ed Husain

revisado por Marc Schulman

El islamista de Ed Husain es un libro aterrador. Husain nació en Inglaterra de padres que vinieron de India y Pakistán. Su familia eran musulmanes observadores pero moderados. El libro narra la historia de su transformación de un musulmán moderado en un "slamista" radical. Abrazó los objetivos de establecer un estado islámico para reemplazar a todos y cada uno de los estados existentes en el mundo. A medida que se volvió cada vez más radical, comenzó a creer que aquellos que no eran musulmanes eran inferiores y no dignos. Husain estuvo muy involucrado en la Universidad de Inglaterra en una serie de grupos musulmanes cada vez más radicales que reunieron un número cada vez mayor de votantes.

Husain comenzó a cuestionar sus creencias. Su primera revelación se produjo cuando vio que el más radical de todos los islamistas mataba a un compañero musulmán. Se preguntó de qué se trataba la conversación sobre un futuro estado islámico si los musulmanes podían matar a otros musulmanes. Husain también comenzó a cuestionar las creencias de sus compañeros radicales sobre el estatus de la mujer. Lentamente, Husain rechazó la más radical de sus creencias sin dejar de ser un musulmán comprometido.

Husain abrazó un sufismo islámico más espiritual. Las creencias de Husain se vieron sacudidas aún más por los acontecimientos del 11 de septiembre. Describe las posiciones "impopulares" adoptadas por algunos de sus profesores frente a los bombardeos. La mayoría de los musulmanes radicales en Inglaterra apoyaron los ataques según Husain. Husain pasó un tiempo con su esposa en Siria, tanto estudiando árabe como enseñando inglés. Allí redescubrió su identidad inglesa. Se sorprendió cuando la gente que conoció en Siria se fue felizmente a la Jihad en Irak para defender el régimen de Saddam Hussein.

Uno de los pasajes más aterradores del libro tiene lugar hacia el final, cuando Husain y su esposa pasan un tiempo en Arabia Saudita. Describe extensamente el enfoque fundementalista del wahabismo, que gracias a la riqueza petrolera de Arabia Saudita se ha extendido ampliamente. Husain va a almorzar con una pareja a la que considera moderna y occidental. Cuando les pregunta si pensaban que había una conexión entre lo que se enseña en las escuelas saudíes y el 11 de septiembre, la respuesta que recibe fue “No, no, porque los saudíes no estaban detrás del 11 de septiembre. Los secuestradores del avión no eran saudíes. Mil doscientos cuarenta y seis judíos se ausentaron del trabajo ese día y hay pruebas de que los judíos estaban detrás de los asesinatos y no los saudíes ”. Justo antes de irse para regresar a Inglaterra, varios de sus estudiantes de inglés le preguntan cómo pueden ir a Inglaterra y convertirse en terroristas suicidas. Husain afirma que estas creencias están muy extendidas en Arabia Saudita y reflejan los puntos de vista que se han difundido ampliamente en todo el mundo por la exportación del wahabismo.

En un pasaje profético al final del libro (puede ver un gran extracto a continuación), advierte contra la predicación del Islam wahabí dentro de las cárceles estadounidenses y la posibilidad de convertir a los prisioneros corrientes en futuros terroristas. ¡El islamista es un libro que debe leerse!

Epílogo: ¿Y qué pasa con Estados Unidos? por Ed Husain, autor de El islamista: por qué me convertí en fundamentalista islámico, qué vi por dentro y por qué me fui

El seno de América está abierto para recibir no sólo al extranjero opulento y respetado, sino a los oprimidos y perseguidos de todas las naciones y religiones; a quien daremos la bienvenida a una participación de todos nuestros derechos y privilegios. - George Washington, 1783

Si son buenos trabajadores, pueden ser de Asia, África o Europa; pueden ser mahometanos, judíos o cristianos de cualquier secta, o pueden ser ateos. --George Washington, en una carta a Tench Telghman, 1784

Fue mi primera visita a Estados Unidos. Esperaba ser detenido en el aeropuerto, acosado, interrogado y quizás detenido. Desde el 11 de septiembre, las comunidades musulmanas de todo el mundo están llenas de historias de terror sobre encuentros en los aeropuertos estadounidenses. Mi amigo de la época universitaria, Majid Nawaz, que había pasado cuatro años como prisionero político en Egipto, estaba conmigo. Juntos asistimos a innumerables manifestaciones antiamericanas en Gran Bretaña y fuimos testigos de muchos rituales de quema de banderas estadounidenses. Ahora, en nuestros treinta y después de una década en el desierto, habíamos cambiado. ¿Pero Estados Unidos nos entendería? ¿Entenderíamos América?

Como buenos británicos, esperábamos pacientemente en la larga cola del aeropuerto Washington Dulles. De repente, el nombre de Majid fue llamado por el altavoz, diciéndole que fuera al frente de la línea. Luego el mío. ¿Estábamos en problemas? Majid había visitado los Estados Unidos recientemente, compareciendo como testigo experto para el Comité de Seguridad Nacional del Congreso presidido por el senador Joe Lieberman. Majid había sido uno de los líderes más inteligentes, vociferantes y articulados de Hizb ut-Tahrir, viajando a Pakistán, Dinamarca y Egipto defendiendo las ideas del grupo y estableciendo células secretas. El Hizb, en esencia, era idéntico a al-Qaeda, difiriendo solo en términos de las tácticas que eligió para lograr el resultado deseado: poder político. Majid ha sido prohibido en varios países y es buscado por el ISI de Pakistán, su agencia de inteligencia. Pero recientemente había rechazado el extremismo y, después de años de estudio y reflexión en prisión, se convirtió en un defensor público de la democracia liberal, utilizando evidencia bíblica para apoyar a los musulmanes pacíficos, que representan la gran mayoría, en su lucha contra el extremismo religioso. Su rechazo a Hizb ut-Tahrir fue noticia en la prensa británica, y el primer ministro británico citó a Majid en el parlamento. Pero ahora estábamos en Estados Unidos, y durante el reciente viaje de Majid, los escoltas federales lo habían acompañado a todas partes, temerosos de que pudiera violar las normas de seguridad estadounidenses y sin saber muy bien qué hacer con él. ¿Él, nos enfrentaríamos a la misma suerte de nuevo?

Un oficial de inmigración en el aeropuerto Washington Dulles, acompañado por varios colegas, nos llevó a un lado, registró los detalles de nuestro pasaporte y le pidió al oficial de recepción que nos autorizara a entrar. Los altos funcionarios del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional de los Estados Unidos esperaban nuestra llegada y querían un alboroto mínimo. La conducta educada y cortés de los oficiales nos conmovió a ambos. Pero mi mente estaba en los miles de musulmanes estadounidenses que habían sido sometidos a redadas y arrestos. ¿Podemos olvidar su difícil situación?

Fuera del aeropuerto, me quedé con Majid y me quedé estupefacto por la cantidad de banderas estadounidenses que vi por todas partes. Volando a toda velocidad en varios cruces del aparcamiento, y luego sobre el aeropuerto, y en coches y autocares, las barras y estrellas eran omnipresentes. A diferencia de Gran Bretaña, Estados Unidos era orgullosamente patriótico y expresaba sin reservas el orgullo nacional.

Su bandera es casi sagrada para ellos, ¿no? Le dije a Majid.

Y los extremistas lo queman todo el tiempo. ¿Por qué hicimos eso, Ed? ¿Por qué?' preguntó, tratando de aceptar cómo habíamos sido absorbidos por el extremismo.

'¿Por qué nadie nos detuvo?' Pregunté en respuesta. "Vimos que esto sucedió en Londres, no en Bagdad, ¿qué nos poseyó?"

Majid y yo recordamos cómo varios de nuestros compañeros activistas se convirtieron en terroristas suicidas, fueron encarcelados o crearon organizaciones enteras que se vincularon a al-Qaeda. Lo que comenzó como mera charla, como retórica, encontró expresión en asesinatos en masa en varias capitales europeas, incluidas Londres y Madrid. El asesinato que habíamos presenciado en nuestro campus universitario una década antes de los ataques al metro de Londres el 7 de julio de 2005 fue un testimonio inefable del poder de las palabras. La conversación sobre la yihad, el odio y la ira nunca permanece abstracta, limitada a la "libertad de expresión". Da resultados.

Más que nada, lo que nos preocupaba a Majid ya mí era la falta de conciencia en la sociedad en general de las causas fundamentales del extremismo y del estilo de vida que fomenta el reclutamiento en movimientos extremistas. El fracaso demostrado por la sociedad para comprender la urgencia de la situación también fue preocupante, porque esa comprensión podría precipitar políticas y acciones que podrían evitar que los jóvenes musulmanes se conviertan en ideólogos fanáticos comprometidos con la creación de un mundo dominado por el islamismo, no por el islam. Para ayudar a llenar este vacío, Majid y yo iniciamos la Fundación Quilliam, el primer grupo de expertos del mundo comprometido con explicar y contrarrestar el pensamiento islamista.

Estábamos en Estados Unidos para hablar en Harvard y Princeton, en una serie de grupos de expertos de Washington, y para reunirnos con musulmanes en las costas este y oeste. Hablamos con personal destacado de varios departamentos gubernamentales, embajadores de EE. UU., Líderes académicos y estudiantes. Y dondequiera que fuimos, nos hicieron una serie similar de preguntas críticas. ¿Puede Estados Unidos crear terroristas locales? ¿Atacarán los musulmanes estadounidenses, como los musulmanes británicos, su propia patria en nombre de un islam falso? Gran Bretaña es el hogar de más de 3.000 extremistas: ¿Estados Unidos puede albergar enemigos sin saberlo? Los secuestradores del 11 de septiembre tramaron su plan en Europa: ¿Son los islamistas nacidos en Estados Unidos capaces de una monstruosidad similar?

Mis respuestas a estas preguntas, después de reunirme con bastantes musulmanes estadounidenses y consultar con expertos estadounidenses sobre estos temas, son sí y no. Lo anterior es un extracto del libro El islamista: por qué me convertí en fundamentalista islámico, qué vi por dentro y por qué me fui de Ed Husain. El extracto anterior es una reproducción escaneada digitalmente del texto impreso. Aunque este extracto ha sido revisado, pueden aparecer errores ocasionales debido al proceso de escaneo. Consulte el libro terminado para mayor precisión.

Reimpreso por acuerdo con Penguin, miembro de Penguin Group (USA) Inc., de The Islamist por Ed Husain. Copyright © 2009 por Penguin.

Biografía del autor Ed Husain, autor de El islamista: por qué me convertí en fundamentalista islámico, qué vi por dentro y por qué me fui, fue un radical islamista durante cinco años, entre los últimos años de su adolescencia y los primeros veinte. Habiendo rechazado el extremismo, viajó mucho por Oriente Medio y trabajó para el British Council en Siria y Arabia Saudita. Husain recibió amplios y diversos elogios por The Islamist, que fue preseleccionado para el Premio Orwell de escritura política y el Premio PEN / Ackerley de autobiografía literaria, entre otros. Es cofundador de la Fundación Quillium, el primer grupo de expertos musulmanes contra el extremismo de Gran Bretaña. Vive en Londres con su esposa e hija.

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Reseña clásica: La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia

[Esta revisión de los archivos del Monitor se publicó originalmente el 20 de diciembre de 2005]. Hace catorce años, en diciembre de 1991, el líder soviético Mikhail Gorbachev le dijo a su país que la guerra fría había terminado. Al firmar el decreto que disolvió la Unión Soviética y puso fin a la competencia Este-Oeste, Gorbachov también anunció el fin de la carrera armamentista y la "militarización loca" que había "distorsionado" el pensamiento de su país y "socavado" su moral. Y quizás lo más significativo es que afirmó que "la amenaza de una guerra mundial" había llegado a su fin.

Con la desaparición del estado soviético, el mundo parecía listo para entrar en una era en la que el miedo a una guerra catastrófica ya no acecharía a la humanidad. Muchos creían que los peligros de la guerra fría darían paso a una época más tranquila.

Pero no iba a ser. El temor de ayer de que los misiles balísticos intercontinentales cayeran sobre Nueva York o Washington ha sido reemplazado por el temor de hoy a los ataques suicidas y las bombas sucias.

Y ahora, cuando abordar un avión hace que mucha gente se detenga, uno mira con nostalgia las décadas de la posguerra, cuando Estados Unidos parecía comprender a su adversario y creía que era poco probable que los líderes rusos actuaran de manera irracional. Después de todo, la fría lógica de la guerra fría significaba que un ataque soviético contra Estados Unidos conduciría a una respuesta rápida y devastadora.

Mientras los líderes estadounidenses se esfuerzan por manejar los actuales dilemas de Estados Unidos en el extranjero, La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia de John Lewis Gaddis nos transporta a una época anterior. Con luminosos detalles, Gaddis, el profesor de historia Robert A. Lovett en Yale, traza la historia del conflicto que dominó la política mundial desde el final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial hasta principios de la década de 1990. ¿Cuánto tiempo hace que parece todo?

Gaddis, el historiador de la guerra fría más distinguido de Estados Unidos, ha escrito sobre el tema durante más de 30 años. (Coedité un libro sobre diplomacia nuclear con Gaddis y otros dos académicos en 1999).

Pero a diferencia de varios de sus libros anteriores, que estaban destinados a académicos, este está dirigido a un público más amplio, para aquellos que quieran comprender cómo comenzó la guerra fría, cómo se desarrolló y por qué terminó cuando lo hizo.

Dados estos objetivos, Gaddis ha tenido un éxito espléndido. De hecho, en el alcance narrativo del libro, las percepciones analíticas y la hábil incorporación de la investigación más reciente, Gaddis ha escrito el mejor tratamiento en un solo volumen de la lucha Este-Oeste. Al examinar cómo los líderes individuales, las diferentes ideologías, la política interna y la amenaza nuclear dieron forma a la competencia, ha producido un trabajo totalmente estimulante.

Al evaluar los orígenes de la guerra fría, un tema que durante mucho tiempo ha provocado un amargo debate entre los historiadores, Gaddis atribuye plenamente la responsabilidad del conflicto a Stalin y la Unión Soviética. (Algunos historiadores asignan la responsabilidad principal de Estados Unidos, mientras que otros sostienen que tanto Moscú como Washington fueron los culpables).

La clave, sostiene Gaddis, es que Estados Unidos y la Unión Soviética tenían visiones fundamentalmente diferentes del mundo de la posguerra. Los estadounidenses poseían una visión multilateral que buscaba evitar la guerra alentando la cooperación entre las grandes potencias, fomentando la autodeterminación política y la integración económica, y confiando en las Naciones Unidas para mejorar la seguridad de todos los estados.

Pero la visión de posguerra de Stalin no podría haber sido más diferente. El dictador soviético buscó promover los intereses rusos mediante el establecimiento de un círculo de estados subordinados (no democráticos) alrededor del vulnerable flanco occidental de su país, mientras esperaba las inevitables rivalidades que él creía causarían fisuras y quizás incluso guerras entre naciones capitalistas.

Como observa Gaddis, Stalin estaba convencido de que el "fratricidio capitalista" eventualmente permitiría que los soviéticos dominaran Europa.

Más allá de explorar los orígenes del conflicto, Gaddis evalúa magníficamente cómo las armas nucleares y la ideología influyeron en la lucha. La bomba ayudó a mantener la paz entre Moscú y Washington porque usarla primero significó una respuesta cataclísmica. Por tanto, no era una opción legítima para los responsables políticos racionales.

En el ámbito ideológico, Gaddis escribe que la ideología de cada estado estaba "destinada a ofrecer esperanza" (al igual que todas las ideologías). Pero mientras una ideología dependía de "la creación del miedo" para funcionar, la otra no tenía "necesidad de hacerlo". Y eso, afirma, explica la "asimetría ideológica básica" de la guerra fría.

Para sorpresa incluso de los observadores más astutos, la guerra fría llegó a un rápido final entre 1989 y 1991. Si bien las acciones de Mikhail Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan y el Papa Juan Pablo II contribuyeron cada una a la conclusión pacífica del conflicto, los líderes mundiales no fueron fundamental para poner fin a la competencia. Las acciones de la "gente común" fueron cruciales, cree Gaddis, ya que fueron los ciudadanos de Budapest, Varsovia, Leipzig, Praga y Bucarest quienes con valentía se deshicieron de los grilletes que los habían atado durante tanto tiempo.

Sin duda, Gorbachov decidió que Moscú ya no estaba preparada para mantener el antiguo orden represivo. Pero la liberación de millones fue catalizada por hombres y mujeres normales que tenían la capacidad de imaginar una existencia mejor y la voluntad de lograrla.

Hubo pocos momentos más edificantes en la historia del siglo XX, y es fácil reflexionar sobre esos días heroicos con cierta nostalgia.

Jonathan Rosenberg es profesor de historia estadounidense en Hunter College, City University of New York.


La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia

El "decano de los historiadores de la Guerra Fría" (Los New York Times) presenta ahora el relato definitivo del enfrentamiento global que dominó la última mitad del siglo XX. Basándose en archivos recién abiertos y las reminiscencias de los principales actores, John Lewis Gaddis explica no solo lo que sucedió sino por qué—Desde los meses de 1945 cuando Estados Unidos y la U.R.S.S. pasaron de la alianza al antagonismo, al holocausto apenas evitado de la Crisis de los Misiles Cubanos a las maniobras de Nixon y Mao, Reagan y Gorbachov. Brillante, accesible, casi shakesperiano en su drama, La guerra fria se erige como un resumen triunfal de la era que, más que ninguna otra, dio forma a la nuestra.

Gaddis también es autor de Sobre la gran estrategia.

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LA GUERRA FRÍA: Una nueva historia

El estudioso de la Guerra Fría Gaddis elabora un relato breve pero completo de lo que JFK llamó nuestra "larga lucha del crepúsculo". Tras la derrota de las potencias del Eje en la Segunda Guerra Mundial, las democracias occidentales se enfrentaron. Читать весь отзыв

La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia

Ambos libros tratan la Guerra Fría sin pisarse los pies. Gaddis (historia, Yale Univ. Sorpresa, seguridad y la experiencia estadounidense) es uno de los más destacados eruditos sobre el frío. Читать весь отзыв


La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia Detalles en PDF

Autor: John Lewis Gaddis
Titulo original: La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia
Formato del libro: libro electronico
Número de páginas: 352 páginas
Publicado por primera vez en: 29 de diciembre de 2005
Ultima edicion: 26 de diciembre de 2006
Idioma: inglés
Premios: Premio al libro Harry S. Truman (2006)
categoría: historia, no ficción, política, guerra, historia norteamericana, historia americana, historia, historia mundial, cultural, Rusia, académico, colegio, historia, historia rusa, historia, historia europea
Formatos: ePUB (Android), mp3 audible, audiolibro y kindle.

La versión traducida de este libro está disponible en español, inglés, chino, ruso, hindi, bengalí, árabe, portugués, indonesio / malayo, francés, japonés, alemán y muchos otros para su descarga gratuita.

Tenga en cuenta que los trucos o técnicas enumerados en este pdf son ficticios o su creador afirma que funcionan. No garantizamos que estas técnicas funcionen para usted.

Algunas de las técnicas enumeradas en La guerra fría: una nueva historia pueden requerir un conocimiento sólido de la hipnosis, se recomienda a los usuarios que abandonen esas secciones o que tengan un conocimiento básico del tema antes de practicarlas.

DMCA y derechos de autor: El libro no está alojado en nuestros servidores, para eliminar el archivo, comuníquese con la URL de origen. Si ve un enlace de Google Drive en lugar de la URL de origen, significa que el archivo que obtendrá después de la aprobación es solo un resumen del libro original o que el archivo ya se eliminó.


La Guerra Fría - Una nueva historia por John Lewis Gaddis - Historia

La Guerra Fría siempre ha sido objeto de un intenso debate, si fue necesario, fue justo, por qué sucedió y cómo terminó, y ha sido un tema desafiante para los maestros. Más de 40 profesores de 17 estados y dos países extranjeros se reunieron en este Instituto de Historia para escuchar a cinco expertos presentar las mejores y más recientes reflexiones sobre la Guerra Fría y sus lecciones. Ahora es un momento particularmente emocionante para hacer un balance de este importante tema de la historia estadounidense y mundial. Nuevas pruebas tanto de la ex Unión Soviética como de Occidente están invalidando las opiniones recibidas. Ahora sabemos más de lo que sabíamos hace diez años, pero menos de lo que sabremos en el futuro.

John Lewis Gaddis es profesor de historia Robert A. Lovett en la Universidad de Yale. Su libro más reciente es We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford University Press, 1997).

Fuera de un perro, un libro es el mejor amigo de un hombre. Dentro de un perro, está demasiado oscuro para leer. —Groucho Marx

Me gusta esta cita del otro Marx porque sugiere cuán limitada ha sido nuestra visión de la Guerra Fría, hasta hace muy poco. En contraste con la forma en que se escribe la mayor parte de la historia, los historiadores de la Guerra Fría hasta fines de la década de 1980 trabajaron dentro y no después del evento que estaban tratando de describir. No teníamos forma de conocer el resultado final, y pudimos determinar las motivaciones de solo algunos, pero de ninguna manera todos, de los actores principales. Estábamos en una posición parecida a la de esos intrépidos farsantes Rosencrantz y Guildenstern en Hamlet de Shakespeare, preguntándonos qué diablos estaba pasando y cómo iba a salir todo.

Ahora sabemos, para acuñar una frase. O, al menos, sabemos mucho más de lo que sabíamos antes. Nunca tendremos la historia completa: no la tenemos para ningún evento histórico, no importa qué tan atrás en el pasado. Los historiadores no pueden reconstruir lo que realmente sucedió de la misma manera que los mapas pueden replicar lo que realmente está allí. Pero podemos representar el pasado, al igual que los cartógrafos aproximan el terreno. Y con el fin de la Guerra Fría y al menos la apertura parcial de documentos de la ex Unión Soviética, Europa del Este y China, el encaje entre nuestras representaciones y la realidad que describen se ha vuelto mucho más cercano de lo que era antes.

Entonces, ¿a qué se suma todo esto? ¿De qué se trata la nueva historia de la Guerra Fría, es decir, las historias de la Guerra Fría escritas después de que terminó la Guerra Fría?

Primero, ahora está claro que, contrariamente a lo que esperaban los historiadores y teóricos de las relaciones internacionales cuando comenzó la Guerra Fría, los gobiernos democráticos se comportaron de manera más realista en todo momento que sus homólogos autoritarios. Por realismo, me refiero a la capacidad de alinear las acciones de uno con sus intereses. El hecho de que la Guerra Fría terminó como lo hizo —con el mundo más democrático que nunca— sugiere con fuerza que el autoritarismo dio lugar a ilusiones con más frecuencia que a una política eficaz.

Ahora sabemos cuáles eran algunas de estas ilusiones. Stalin, por ejemplo, creyó hasta el día de su muerte que los estados capitalistas nunca se unirían para contener el expansionismo soviético. ¿Por qué? Porque Lenin había enseñado que los capitalistas eran demasiado codiciosos para cooperar entre sí: esta idea dejó al líder soviético mal equipado para abordar iniciativas como el Plan Marshall, la OTAN y la reintegración de Alemania y Japón en un sistema de gobierno dirigido por Estados Unidos. alianzas. Mao Zedong, también por razones ideológicas, vio a la Unión Soviética como un aliado de la recién establecida República Popular de China, esa opinión también, con el tiempo, tuvo que repensar. Y Nikita Khrushchev arriesgó el destino de su país y posiblemente del mundo entero al colocar misiles en Cuba en 1962, con la absurda esperanza de que esto pudiera asegurar de alguna manera la propagación de la revolución de Castro por toda América Latina.

Lo que estos errores tienen en común es una visión del mundo más romántica que realista: uno tiene una cierta idea en la cabeza, como el Don Quijote de Cervantes, y en un sistema autoritario nadie está en condiciones de decírselo al máximo líder. que sus conclusiones no tienen sentido. Los líderes demócratas a menudo no eran más sabios. Pero los sistemas democráticos al menos proporcionaron formas de desafiar las ilusiones en la cima cuando surgieron y, en última instancia, de eliminar a los líderes que persistieron en aferrarse a ellas. Lejos de ser estados progresistas, entonces, la Unión Soviética, sus satélites de Europa del Este y China funcionaron durante muchos años como monarquías absolutas, con todas las posibilidades de ilusiones poco prácticas que conlleva tal sistema.

En segundo lugar, y como consecuencia, los historiadores de la Guerra Fría están dando más importancia que antes al papel de las ideas en la configuración de ese conflicto. Tradicionalmente habíamos visto la Guerra Fría como un choque de grandes potencias, como una continuación de las rivalidades que habían caracterizado las relaciones internacionales durante los siglos XVIII, XIX y principios del XX. Habíamos calculado el poder en términos de índices materiales, dando el mayor énfasis a las capacidades militares que existían en cada lado. A pesar del hecho de que tanto Estados Unidos como la Unión Soviética eran estados fuertemente ideológicos, ni los historiadores ni los teóricos de las relaciones internacionales tendían a prestar suficiente atención al contenido comparativo de estas ideologías, o al grado en que obtenían el apoyo de las personas que Tuve que vivir con ellos.

Lo que ahora podemos ver, sin embargo, es que una de las superpotencias de la Guerra Fría, la Unión Soviética, colapsó abrupta y completamente, a pesar de que su fuerza militar permaneció intacta. Eso sugiere fuertemente que nosotros, que hemos estudiado la Guerra Fría durante muchos años, descuidamos los componentes no militares del poder, y especialmente el papel de las ideas. Porque el marxismo-leninismo era en sí mismo una idea, que a su vez determinaba cómo la Unión Soviética y los otros estados socialistas organizaban su poder, su política, su economía y, en última instancia, los llamamientos que hacían a su propio pueblo, así como a los que estaban más allá de sus fronteras. . Y como muestran con demasiada claridad los acontecimientos de 1989-1991, esa idea ya había perdido su legitimidad.

La historia de la Guerra Fría es, por lo tanto, la historia de cómo la Unión Soviética y sus aliados lograron desperdiciar su atractivo ideológico durante muchos años, mientras que las democracias occidentales retuvieron e incluso expandieron el suyo. Al final, lo que la gente pensaba contaba mucho más que lo que los estados podían hacer, y ese es un gran cambio con respecto a cómo habíamos concebido previamente la historia de la Guerra Fría.

El patrón, en retrospectiva, estaba claro a principios de la década de 1960. El capitalismo había revivido y el historial de las economías dirigidas no había mostrado signos de igualarlo. El marxismo-leninismo había sufrido reveses devastadores con la represión de la revolución húngara en 1956, el estallido de la escisión chino-soviética y la humillación de la crisis de los misiles cubanos. Alemania y Japón se habían reintegrado con éxito en el bloque de defensa occidental en ese momento, y Occidente estaba muy por delante en armamento nuclear. Entonces, ¿por qué no terminó la Guerra Fría en ese momento?

Aquí hay una tercera visión nueva de la historia de la Guerra Fría: es que las armas nucleares estabilizaron pero probablemente también prolongaron ese conflicto. Hemos sospechado durante mucho tiempo que estas armas desalentaban una escalada del tipo que había provocado que las crisis anteriores a la Guerra Fría desembocaran en guerras calientes. La Guerra Fría estuvo llena de crisis, ninguna de ellas se convirtió en una guerra total y, en este sentido, las armas nucleares fueron beneficiosas.

Sin embargo, en otro sentido, es posible que hayan extendido la Guerra Fría más allá del punto en el que de otro modo podría haber terminado. Las armas nucleares eran tan asombrosas —y el mundo aparentemente había estado tan cerca de verlas usar durante la crisis de los misiles en Cuba— que se desarrolló la tendencia a medir el poder mundial casi en su totalidad en términos de capacidades nucleares y a descuidar sus otras dimensiones de poder. Era como si al evaluar la salud de una gran bestia uno mirara sólo sus armamentos externos, sin prestar atención al funcionamiento de su cerebro, corazón e hígado. Un animal así permanecería formidable en apariencia hasta el día en que repentinamente se desplomó y murió.

Entonces, lo que hicieron las armas nucleares fue ocultar la condición de un estado envejecido, formidablemente armado, pero en deterioro interno. Con su repentina muerte, la Guerra Fría terminó repentinamente.

Eso trae a colación un punto final, aunque controvertido: ¿podemos realmente separar la Guerra Fría de la propia Unión Soviética? ¿Podría tal estado haber funcionado en cualquier otro entorno? Vale la pena recordar que la Revolución Bolchevique fue en sí misma una declaración de guerra fría contra todos los demás estados del sistema internacional en ese momento. Ningún líder soviético hasta Mikhail Gorbachev rechazó el objetivo de derrocar al capitalismo en todas partes, por muy distante que pudiera parecer esa perspectiva. La Unión Soviética era, por lo tanto, un estado configurado de manera única para la Guerra Fría, y ahora que ese conflicto ha terminado, se ha vuelto mucho más difícil ver cómo podría haberlo hecho sin que la propia Unión Soviética hubiera pasado del escena.

La historia de la Guerra Fría se está convirtiendo por fin en historia normal, en el sentido de que por fin podemos escribirla desde más allá del punto de vista de Rosencrantz y Guildenstern. Finalmente logramos salir del perro de Groucho, y ahora es mucho más fácil ver lo que ha estado pasando. Dado nuestro carácter polémico, los historiadores no están dispuestos a ponerse de acuerdo, ahora o en las próximas décadas, sobre los detalles precisos y lo que significan. Sin embargo, al menos podemos aceptar el hecho de que la vista es estimulante.


La Guerra Fría: una nueva historia

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Mira hacia atrás con alivio

EN 1991, mientras la Unión Soviética se rebelaba, uno de los altos funcionarios de política exterior del presidente George HW Bush me dijo: `` Ustedes, los historiadores, van a tener dificultades para explicarles a los estadounidenses del futuro por qué pensamos que la guerra fría fue tan difícil. peligroso durante 45 años. Tenía razón. Para 2006, los estadounidenses demasiado jóvenes para haber vivido la era de los simulacros de agacharse y cubrirse necesitan un estudioso de dones extraordinarios para explicar por qué nueve presidentes de la guerra fría desplegaron nuestro tesoro nacional contra un imperio que finalmente se desintegró con tanta torpeza.

John Lewis Gaddis es ese erudito, y "La guerra fría: una nueva historia" es el libro que deberían leer. Profesor de historia en Yale, Gaddis es autor de seis renombrados volúmenes sobre la guerra fría, especialmente las estrategias de ambos lados, que fueron escritos durante o poco después de la lucha.

Nadie hizo un mejor trabajo al tratar de explicar el conflicto mientras aún se desarrollaba, lo que para un historiador es como tratar de describir un bosque entero mientras lo atraviesa a caballo a la medianoche. Pero con esta sucinta y propia

libro asegurado, Gaddis ahora disfruta del lujo de flotar sobre los árboles bajo la brillante luz del sol, usando la información que alguna vez fue secreta y la retrospectiva que un erudito necesita para escribir historia verdadera.

No pretende que todos sus juicios pasados ​​fueran correctos. Por ejemplo, habiendo insistido en 1987 en que la guerra fría se había convertido en una `` paz larga '' estable que duraría indefinidamente, Gaddis ahora se complace en admitir que los `` visionarios '' como Juan Pablo II, Lech Walesa, Margaret Thatcher y Ronald Reagan tenían un sentido más amplio que él. hizo de & quothistórica posibilidad. & quot

Las nuevas tomas de Gaddis & # x27 sobre los líderes y episodios de la era & # x27 probablemente tendrán una enorme influencia. With relief he notes that the secret combat between American and Soviet planes during the Korean conflict was ultimately the only shooting war that ever developed between the sides during the entire cold war.

He is convinced that Nikita Khrushchev slipped missiles into Cuba "chiefly as an effort, improbable as this might seem, to spread revolution throughout Latin America," allowing his "ideological romanticism to overrun whatever capacity he had for strategic analysis." And with horror and admiration, he describes Dwight D. Eisenhower's subtle effort to prevent nuclear war by ensuring that no such conflict could ever be limited. At the end of his presidency, Ike's single-war plan, if it had ever been carried out, would have resulted in more than 3,000 nuclear weapons being dropped on all Communist nations. By the 1970's, Eisenhower's strategy evolved into "mutual assured destruction" and a treaty limiting both sides in defending themselves against long-range, nuclear-tipped missiles.

Knowing how the cold war ended allows re-evaluation of each act of the drama. So Gaddis is now able to lament how the Nixon-Kissinger détente bought stability at the cost of disillusioning hundreds of millions of Communist-dominated peoples who had hoped some day to be able to choose their own leaders. Yet he also provides a fresh appreciation of the 1975 Helsinki accord signed by Gerald Ford. Although Reagan and other conservatives despised Helsinki for reinforcing the division of Europe, Gaddis shows how it created a new and potent forum for dissidents and critics inside and outside the Soviet Union: "Begun by the Kremlin in an effort to legitimize Soviet control . . . the Helsinki process became instead the basis for legitimizing opposition to Soviet rule."

Then there are those Gaddis calls the "saboteurs of the status quo" -- John Paul II, Reagan, Thatcher and other leaders who believed the West had paid too high a moral and political price for its long peace with Moscow. They demanded something better. John Paul, for example, gives Gaddis the chance to recall Stalin's contemptuous question about an earlier pope: "How many divisions has he got?" John Paul, Gaddis explains, didn't need divisions. He mobilized spiritual force against Communism when he returned to Poland in 1979 and then embraced Lech Walesa's Solidarity movement.

Reagan was another saboteur. He strove to shatter the East-West stalemate "by exploiting Soviet weaknesses and asserting Western strengths." Few -- even among his supporters -- glimpsed Reagan's genuine passion to abolish nuclear arsenals, which he considered immoral. Many American academics decried Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative of 1983 as a warmongering effort to extend the cold war into the heavens. But while conceding the risks (the Soviets feared a first-strike attack), Gaddis praises Reagan's strategy of using the threat to build an antimissile shield that the Soviets could not soon match. "If the U.S.S.R. was crumbling," Gaddis asks, "what could justify . . . continuing to hold Americans hostage to the . . . odious concept of mutual assured destruction? Why not hasten the disintegration?"

Gaddis also takes the measure of Mikhail Gorbachev, comparing him unfavorably to the pope, Reagan and Thatcher. "They all had destinations in mind and maps for reaching them," he writes, whereas "Gorbachev dithered in contradictions without resolving them. . . . And so, in the end, he gave up an ideology, an empire and his own country, in preference to using force." It was a policy that "made little sense in traditional geopolitical terms," Gaddis observes. "But it did make him the most deserving recipient ever of the Nobel Peace Prize."

Gaddis does not make the mistake of restricting his history to the rulers. Todo lo contrario. He demonstrates how it was unfamous men and women who fueled the revolutions in Eastern Europe and the Soviet republics -- for instance, those Hungarians of 1989 who "declared their barbed wire obsolete" and defied the Kremlin to stop them. In the face of such unheard-of challenges, Gaddis says, the "leaders -- astonished, horrified, exhilarated, emboldened, at a loss, without a clue -- struggled to regain the initiative, but found that they could do so only by acknowledging that what once would have seemed incredible was now inevitable."

Only when an epoch passes can a historian look at the whole and decide what was distinctive about it. "For the first time in history," Gaddis says of the period, "no one could be sure of winning, or even surviving, a great war." By the end of the struggle, "military strength, a defining characteristic of 'power' itself for the past five centuries, ceased to be that."

Gaddis marvels that during the last half of the 20th century the number of democracies quintupled, hastened by the information revolution and the increasingly obvious superiority of free societies in feeding their own people. Thus "the world came closer than ever before to reaching a consensus . . . that only democracy confers legitimacy."

Still, there was nothing inevitable about the cold war's happy ending. Gaddis makes a point of reminding us how easily the conflict could have ended up incinerating much of humanity: "The binoculars of a distant future will confirm this, for had the cold war taken a different course there might have been no one left to look back through them."

We have many symbols to show that the cold war has indeed vanished. Fearsome missiles have been turned into scrap. And on movie screens, James Bond has shifted his telescopic sights from K.G.B. agents to other adversaries. In the same spirit, now that he has delivered his long-awaited retrospective verdict on the cold war, perhaps John Lewis Gaddis will turn his attention to art history.

'The Cold War: A New History,' by John Lewis Gaddis Michael Beschloss, the author, most recently, of "The Conquerors: Roosevelt, Truman and the Destruction of Hitler's Germany, 1941-1945," is writing a book about presidential decision-making through American history.


A New History of the Cold War

Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis wrote seminal books about the Cold War, during the Cold War. In his book, The Cold War: A New History, Gaddis discusses why the West won, and how it shaped the world.

Esto es TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington.

In 1984, I spoke with British historian A.J. Pete Taylor, who had written a book called How Wars End, and I asked him how the Cold War might end. I have no idea, he told me, but I do know that when it does happen it will seem to have been obvious all along.

Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis, a prominent scholar of the Cold War, has now written a new history of the long conflict, his first since the Cold War actually did end, where he reexamines the role of ideology and leadership, the strengths and weaknesses of nuclear weapons, the management of alliances, why the West won, why that's important, and how the Cold War shaped our world today.

Later in the program we'll speak with two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about this week's hearings on warrantless wiretaps, but first, the Cold War. If you have questions about what happened and why, our number here in Washington is 800-989-8255, that's 800-989-TALK. The email address is [email protected]

John Lewis Gaddis is the Robert A. Lovett professor of history at Yale, and he joins us now from a studio on the campus in New Haven, Connecticut. And welcome to TALK OF THE NATION.

Professor JOHN LEWIS GADDIS (History, Yale University): Thank you. Good to talk to you, Neal.

CONAN: And I wanted to begin by asking you that same question that I put to A.J. Pete Taylor, 20 or 25 years ago. Did you have any idea how the Cold War would end?

Professor GADDIS: No, with all due respect to Professor Taylor, it was certainly not obvious to me in 1984 how the Cold War would end.

CONAN: Well, it wasn't obvious to him either. He just said when it happened, it would be obvious to everybody. It's one of those things.

Professor GADDIS: I'm not sure that's completely true, even to this point. And that's partly why I wrote this book, is to try to step back from that experience and look at what happened from the distance of some fifteen years or so. And I think it's always the case with history, when you back off of it, when time passes, it looks different from the way it looked at the time.

CONAN: And of course, knowing the outcome, it all seems inevitable. But one of the points you make at the beginning of your book was that in 1948 and 1949 it was far from clear which side was going to win this struggle.

Professor GADDIS: I think one of the great challenges for historians is to deny inevitability, because nothing is really inevitable. Things look inevitable after they've happened, but part of our challenge in writing about the past is to show that things could have happened in a quite different way.

CONAN: And indeed, in a couple of circumstances, had things happened in a different way, this world would be dramatically different.

Professor GADDIS: This world might not even be here as we know it if things had happened in a different way in a couple of circumstances.

CONAN: And that's one of the things I wanted to talk to you about. You say that, indeed, the experience of the Cold War goes against the entire history of human nature, which has always been that if you invent a new weapon, well, glory be, let's get to using it.

Professor GADDIS: That's right. I think there are very few instances in history that I can think of in which weapons have been developed and not used. Stones, bows and arrows, slingshots, coming all the way up through bombers and battleships, weapons developed have always been used fairly quickly after their development.

And what's distinctive about the Cold War is that the most powerful of all weapons, nuclear weapons, were developed, they were used twice to end World War II, but then they were not used again. And I think this is a remarkable and astonishing development.

CONAN: Before we get lots of emails, Professor Gaddis does include a caveat for the agreement not to use poison gas during the Second World War, but.

Professor GADDIS: Which was a tacit agreement, not a formal agreement. But it was just a mutual understanding on both sides, but that's the only exception that I can think of.

CONAN: And this is something, you give credit to somebody who is not generally regarded as a great strategist of the Cold War, Dwight David Eisenhower, for coming up with a solution to this problem of nuclear weapons, which was, you say, at the same time brutal and very subtle.

Professor GADDIS: Well by this, I mean Eisenhower, in presiding over war planning in the American government, simply said that the idea that we could fight the limited nuclear war, or a partial nuclear war, was ridiculous, that the only thing to do was to prepare to fight a total, all-out nuclear war. And his gamble was that the prospect of doing that would be sufficiently horrible that nobody on our side or on the other side would ever contemplate doing such a thing. And I think he turned out to be right.

CONAN: Do you, in the end, think that deterrents, in other words, this carefully balanced power between the United States and the Soviet Union in those days, and I'll throw the British and the French in on the American side, sort of, in terms of the French, but the, this great, you know, masses of arsenals. Did deterrents work? Or was it some other mechanism that prevented from blowing each other up?

Professor GADDIS: Well deterrents worked in the sense that we didn't have a Third World War. Part of the problem in assessing this is, did anybody have a plan to start a Third World War in the first place?

I think the evidence on that is still inclusive from the Soviet side. The answer is probably not, but accidents can happen, of course. What strikes me as really significant is that whereas deterrents set out to be something that the Soviets were trying to do to the Americans and the Americans were trying to do to the Soviets, the instruments by which they were doing this, nuclear weapons, wound up deterring both of them. So there was a third party involved, which was the technology itself.

CONAN: There were, for example during the war, and you point out this, you know, mirror-like world where logic didn't seem to obtain very well, and the whole idea of mutual-assured destruction, but the Americans at various points said, we will only target military targets, and as you point out from the receivers end, it would have been hard to tell the difference.

Professor GADDIS: Absolutely. I think it was a totally false distinction, and it was back to this idea that somehow you could fight a controlled nuclear war. It's the idea that Eisenhower simply never bought.

CONAN: And, at the end of the day, you conclude that somehow, by this mutual decision not to use these most terrible of all weapons, that the nature of power was changed by this, by the Cold War.

Professor GADDIS: Well, I think that's right, because, look at the Soviet Union. It collapses with all of its military power, all of its nuclear weapons intact. And yet, it goes down the tubes. So, that kind of power obviously was not very effective. Power is supposed to sustain and support the state, and this kind of power did not.

CONAN: If you'd like to join our conversation with Professor John Lewis Gaddis, the author most recently of The Cold War: A New History, give us a phone call. Our number 800-989-8255, 800-989-TALK. Our email address is [email protected] Excuse me, I got that wrong. Our new e-mail address is [email protected] And, lets talk with Terry. Terry calling us from Mankato, Minnesota.

TERRY: I love your show. I had a question. I was stationed in Wiesbaden, Germany, during the Cold War in 1979 and 1980. And we deployed, we had a deployment of the Folda Gap, where, you know, that's where the big Soviet invasion was supposed to come through the Folda Gap.

Anyway, two people in my platoon, of my company, were killed in a training accident, and just an accident in the billets, and those would be two casualties that were not brought about by any gunfire or any bombs dropping. Now I was just wondering, is there any way of knowing, you know, the total casualties that can be attributed to the Cold War? In a whole.

Professor GADDIS: No, I don't think there is, because when you're deploying military forces, as you know very well, there are all kinds of accidents that happen along the way.

Professor GADDIS: So, I don't think we have anything close to an accurate figure of the number of people who might otherwise have lived if the Cold War had not been fought. I think all we can say is that a lot more people lived for the fact that the Cold War did not somehow get into a hot war.

TERRY: Yes, indeed. I agree with that.

CONAN: And any calculation of casualties, thanks for the call Terry, any calculation of casualties would of course have to include all those killed in the wars in Korea and Vietnam as well,as well as interventions in Afghanistan, in Czechoslovakia, in Hungary.

Professor GADDIS: But you would also have to count the casualties, it seems to me, of the internal repression that came from internal repression during the Cold War, or it came from mismanagement during the Cold War. So it's not just battlefield casualties, but it's death by government, and the hugest death toll of all, which is something like 30 million, comes as a result of Mao's policies in China, the Great Leap Forward, which itself was a Cold War development.

CONAN: A Cold War development and in what sense?

Professor GADDIS:A Cold War development and in the sense that Mao is trying to overtake the Soviet Union and, ultimately, to overtake Britain and the United States. And he believed that he could crash industrialization, crash collectivization of agriculture. He believed that he could accelerate economic development, accelerate history itself, and the results were horrendous.

CONAN: Let's get another caller in on the conversation. This is Jim. Jim calling from Canton, Ohio.

JIM (Caller): Yes, I disagree with the precept that the Cold War has ended. I believe it's more of a truce. And I think the evidence of that is that when the Warsaw Pact disbanded in Europe, NATO remained, and not only remained but is expanding. We're expanding into the Baltic States, the caucuses, Central Asia. And in a global perspective, we're surrounding the Soviets, I mean, Russia. And, you know, our power has greatly increased since the so-called end to the Cold War. And further evidence would be the existence of FDI. We're going forward with that. We're going forward with MX missile. There's no nuclear disarmament and we have a militarist government.

CONAN: Is the Cold War really over, John Lewis Gaddis?

Professor GADDIS: Well, that's about five different provocations in that question, it seems to me. Let me deal with the main one, which is the question, is the Cold War over? It depends on whether you capitalize those words Cold War or not.

If you put it in lowercase and say cold war in the sense of rivalries between nations, no, the cold war is still going on. And the cold war went on long before the events of 1945 to 1991.

If you put it in capital letters and say the Cold War as the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States, the confrontation between capitalism and communism, that's over. The Soviet Union no longer exists. Communism is no longer a sustainable ideology. That's history, and that was the history that I was writing about in the book.

JIM: Why is NATO still in existence? I mean, we lost the reason for that existence after the Warsaw Pact disbanded. And the fact that it's still there tells me that we are on a militaristic aggressive footing. In other words, our presence in Europe is closer to the Russian border than Hitler got at the start of the Second World War.

Professor GADDIS: Well, I think NATO is still there chiefly because the Europeans wish for it to be there. So I think that's a little bit different proposition from saying that it's purely an American aggressive initiative. NATO has come to be, not only convenient, but in many ways, a vital interest for the Europeans as a way of sustaining stability in that part of the world. So if we try to disband it, they would oppose our doing it.

CONAN: Jim, thanks very much for the call.

CONAN: And if you'd like to join our conversation, the number is 800-989-8255 or send us e-mail, [email protected] We'll be back after a short break.

I'm Neil Conan. Estás escuchando TALK OF THE NATION de NPR News.

CONAN: This is TALK OF THE NATION, I'm Neil Conan in Washington. Historian John Lewis Gaddis is with us today from Yale University. His new book is The Cold War, a New History. You're invited to join us, of course. Give us a call. 800-989-8255, 800-989-TALK. The e-mail address, [email protected]

And, Professor Gaddis, you were talking a few minutes earlier about the role of ideology. And this is something really, you trace back in terms of the ideological struggle between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Not necessarily just beginning with the Cold War, but beginning with Woodrow Wilson and the Fourteen Points.

Professor GADDIS: Well I would even trace it back earlier than that. I would trace it back to Karl Marx in the middle of the 19th century because there really was a contest over how to organize an economy and from that how to organize a civil society.

And it seems to me much of the question revolved around the issue of whether society is better organized from the top down, in a command economy method, or spontaneously from the bottom up in a way that allows a considerable amount of autonomy for politics and for economic development. And that argument goes all the way back to the middle of the 19th Century, although you're sort of right, it became dramatically intensified with Woodrow Wilson and Lenin and the Bolshevik Revolution.

CONAN: And as late as Nikita Khrushchev's time, when he made his we will bury you speech. This was still, communism still represented an economic challenge to the West. Everybody remembered the failures of the Great Depression.

Professor GADDIS: Well, that's correct and that's part of my challenge in teaching this subject to my students because they can't figure out, can't understand how communism could ever have had any significant appeal. So I have to go back to the events of World War I. I have to go back to the events of the Great Depression. I have to go back to the collapse of the democracies in the 1930s that led to World War II, to show them that for anybody who came out of those experiences, both capitalism and democracy could have seemed like very flawed doctrines. And so a more authoritarian solution could have had, and did have, a considerable amount of appeal.

What's interesting about the Cold War is that trend was reversed and some how by about the time that Khrushchev made his we will bury you statement, it was clear that, in fact, that was not going to happen.

CONAN: Let's get some more listeners involved in the conversation. Again 800-989-8255 and why don't we turn to Peter. Peter's with us from Berkeley, California.

CONAN: Peter, are you there?

CONAN: Hello, Peter, can you hear us?

PETER: Yes, can you hear me okay?

CONAN: Yes, you're on the air, please go ahead.

PETER: Had a little bit of a technological glitch. You know, I just wanted to perhaps offer the opinion and it seems that, to some large degree, history depends on who won or who perceives themself to have won and who does the writing.

You know, last year when President Reagan died, there was an awful lot of press coverage to the effect of, you know, how he won the Cold War. And I don't really think that's supported by the historical record, which I think indicates much more strongly that Gorbachev initiated some reforms and he was very interested in, you know, recognized weaknesses in the Soviet system. But that you know in a large part those reforms kind of spun out of control. But, you know, the initiative goes there. Where President Reagan deserves credit, I think, is that he was able to step away from his ideological rigidity and see a bit of an opportunity there.

But now, some years later, we see the Reagan won the Cold War kind of perspective used as kind of an ideological argument for, you know, a great deal of military buildup and militarism. When it's not really, I think, what happened.

Professor GADDIS: Well, I am not going to say that Reagan won the Cold War, but I am going to say that he came close, because it seems to me he played a very important role in this in a couple of different ways. First of all, he was the first major American leader, in my opinion, to ask the question, why did we continue to need to have a Cold War in the first place? The Cold War had become conventional wisdom at the time that he came into office. And he actually looked forward to the possibility that it might end. And he was doing it long before Gorbachev came into power.

As far as military spending is concerned, you're right. He does accelerate military spending somewhat. It had already been accelerated in the Carter Administration, but many people fail to realize that Ronald Reagan was also the only nuclear abolitionist ever to be president of the United States. So he was dedicated to the idea of minimizing the danger of nuclear war. And what he saw was that a military buildup could put the Soviet system under sufficient strain that it would have to choose a leader like Gorbachev. So I do not downplay his role at all. I think it was enormously important.

PETER: Well, I think that, if I may, we were very fortunate that it ended up kind of going the Gorbachev route when it could have gone a very different route, which might have been the same outcome of that approach. But if I might make one other comment. You know, I think, call it divine intervention, you know, we really have little to credit the fact that nuclear weapons haven't been used thus far.

And, you know, I think we count our chickens before they hatch when we say, well, it's remarkable that they haven't been used, because, you know, listeners may or may not know that there's still several thousand nuclear weapons pointed at the United States with a flight time of about 20 minutes, and many of them in a launch on warning footing.

And, you know, there's been some recent articles to the effect that the nuclear situation is being destabilized by some efforts on the part of the Bush Administration to kind of capitalize on a moment of opportunity and put themselves in an even stronger first strike position. So, you know, in a lot of ways the jury's regrettably very out on the use of nuclear weapons. And I think it's more likely a probability than the other way too.

Professor GADDIS: Well, the jury is always out as far as that goes. When it comes to something like this, nuclear weapons are not going to be de-invented, regrettably. But there are two facts that are important here. There are a lot fewer nuclear weapons than there were at the height of the Cold War. There is much less of a deliberate hair trigger strategy of targeting each side, Russians against Americans.

I would agree with you that the likelihood that a nuclear weapon could be used has probably gone up since the Cold War ended. But I think that likelihood resides with the possibility of a terrorist or a rogue state getting hold of one or two nuclear weapons and using them in that way.

The likelihood of a nuclear exchange involving some six or seven thousand nuclear weapons, which is what could have happened in the Cold War, simply is not going to happen in the post-Cold War era.

CONAN: Peter, thanks very much.

CONAN: Bye-bye. Here's an e-mail question from John Milligan(ph) in Washington D.C. He would ask Mr. Gaddis if you would elaborate on the key role of George Kennan and his brilliant containment strategy.

Professor GADDIS: Well I have to say I'm slightly biased, since I am Kennan's biographer, but I think there was one big idea that Kennan articulated. He did this as early as 1947. And it seems to me it's the idea that came closest to defining American strategy in the Cold War. And that idea was simply that we did not have to have a world war with the Soviet Union. We didn't need to fight World War III.

Professor GADDIS: We did not need to appease them either as the democracies did Hitler in the 1930s, but there was a middle way. We could simply build up Western strength, which in his mind, meant chiefly European and Japanese strength. We could build self-confident societies that could sustain themselves and, ultimately, the ambitions and the desires of the Soviet leadership to expend their influence would be frustrated.

And if they met with repeated frustration, they would eventually change their policies, they would change their system, they would change their leaders. And it seems to me this is precisely what happened in the 1980s. So Kennan looks, in retrospect, very prophetic in that regard.

CONAN: Kennan also was someone who endorsed activities by the Central Intelligence Agency. These were basically operations where, as you put it, the United States seemingly had felt it had to act as ruthlessly as its opponents. And as you quote Mr. Kennan much later admitting, It did not work out at all the way I had conceived it.

Professor GADDIS: Well, Kennan did not and would never have made the argument that the United States had to act as ruthlessly as its opponents did. What he did advocate and was the first to advocate was that the CIA should be given some covert action capability, but he favored keeping it extremely limited. He favored keeping it rarely used, and he favored keeping it under the tight control of the State Department.

What happened was that once established, the CIA took on a life of its own, covert operations, took on a momentum of their own, and they very quickly went in to realms and into procedures that horrified Kennan. So while it's accurate to say that he first originated the idea that the CIA should have a covert action capability, it's not right to say that he favored using any and all means in that capacity.

CONAN: But talk a little bit more about that fear that many had during the Cold War that by opposing them at every turn, we would in turn become them.

Professor GADDIS: Well, he said this himself, Kennan in his famous 1947 ex-article on sources of Soviet conduct published in Foreign Affairs, said that the worst fate that could befall us could be that in countering the Soviet Union, we would embrace their own tactics and we would wind up being like them, and he even said in another speech in that period that there is a little bit of a totalitarian inside all of us waiting to come out.

What I think is encouraging about the history of the Cold War is that, in fact, that never happened. The United States never came close to being like the Soviet Union and that little bit of totalitarian that is within all of us never came out on our side to the extent that Kennon(ph) worried that it might.

CONAN: Let's talk now with Frank, Frank calling us from New York City.

FRANK (Caller): Hello, I was wondering concerning the Cold War, that the Allies, perhaps they should have adopted a Japan-first strategy to allow the Nazis and Soviets to fight against each other to further weaken both sides, or perhaps should the Allies have invaded through the Balkans as Churchill had suggested. I was wondering what your opinion in that regard would be, in the sense.

Professor GADDIS: Well, my opinion, my opinion is that it might have worked, but I think it was too risky to try because, first of all, if you say the Soviets and the Germans fight each other, you have no guarantee as to who's going to win, and I think it was better that the Germans be defeated under that circumstance, they were an even more brutal regime than the Soviets were at that point. Secondly, it seems to me that the invasion of the Balkans risked bogging down in the Balkans and had that happened, it might have been possible for the Red Army to sweep unopposed all the way to the English Channel, so I'm not too unhappy with the military strategy that, in fact, was embraced in World War II.

FRANK: Because it was also a bad case where the Russians had thoroughly penetrated the U.S. government, especially through the figure of, I guess, through Alger Hess so that they, so that the Soviets had a advantage in terms of they, they knew how hard to, or they knew to take, I guess, to take up.

CONAN: They knew the negotiating positions.

Professor GADDIS: Well, I wouldn't even put it quite that far. They had thoroughly penetrated the top ranks of the British intelligence establishment and what that meant is that they knew some important secrets. I say in the book that they probably had a more accurate sense of the number of atomic weapons that the United States had in 1947 than the American Joint Chiefs of Staff did. On the other hand, they did not have detailed knowledge of American planning, they missed a lot, simply because of their ideological preconceptions.

They did not see the Marshall Plan coming and there was nothing secret about the Marshall Plan. But because of their own ideological preoccupations, their own ideological conviction that capitalists are so greedy that they can never cooperate with one another, they simply failed to foresee that the Marshall Plan could be developed or was being developed, so there were failures of intelligence definitely on both sides.

CONAN: Frank, thanks very much for the call.

CONAN: And we're talking today with John Lewis Gaddis, the author of The Cold War: A New History. Estás escuchando TALK OF THE NATION de NPR News.

I wanted to ask you, your book does take advantage of the archival material that's become available since the end of the Cold War, much of it from Moscow, as well. What, in retrospect, surprised you?

Professor GADDIS: Well, I would say my book takes advantage of the energies of my students who have used the archival materials that have appeared in Moscow, that's the more accurate way to put it. What has surprised me? I think what has surprised a lot of us who worked in this field is precisely what I was alluding to in the last question, which was that ideology really did matter. When the Marxist-Leninists used the jargon of Marxist-Leninism, when they talked about a proletarian society, when they talked about the internal conflicts of capitalism, they really did believe this. They talked in much the same way to themselves as they did to us in public at the time.

We had always had the idea that the public language and their own private language were two different things and that they had a more realistic sense of the world. That has pretty much been knocked out of the water now by the still-limited access that we have to the Soviet and East European and some Chinese material, as well.

CONAN: One of the things that interested me of the, going back to the intervention in Czechoslovakia in 1968, at the time, this was seen in the West as, well, ruthless but a great success by the Soviet Union, and thus the source of the famous Brezhnev Doctrine that socialism would not be turned back, be allowed to be turned back. Yet you say, looking at their materials, they saw it as a failure.

Professor GADDIS: This is pretty clear, they saw it as a failure in a couple of different senses. First of all, they came close to losing control of their own troops in doing this because the troops had been told they would be liberating Czechoslovakia, and the Czechs made it very clear that that was not happening. Secondly, the price they paid, the price the Russians paid in loss of influence, particularly among European intellectuals as a result of having invaded Czechoslovakia, the growth of dissidence against them was a pretty high price.

But even further, it was just at this point that Eastern Europe and ultimately the Soviet Union itself is, it's becoming clear, that these economies can no longer be self-sufficient, that they are dependent on Western investments and technology and even food shipments, and so it became absolutely clear with the Polish Riots of 1970 that the Soviets could never again use military force in Eastern Europe because the result of that would be to make impossible any kind of Western economic assistance to Eastern Europe, and that economic assistance was what was keeping the Soviet system afloat in Eastern Europe. So the whole Brezhnev Doctrine now looks to have been a gigantic Potemkin village.

Professor GADDIS: Yes, it did.

CONAN: And you go back, it's interesting, the threat to use nuclear weapons at various points, going back earlier, for example, Khrushchev, Nikita Khrushchev, you say, was convinced that the Suez intervention in 1956 ended because the Soviet Union threatened the use of nuclear weapons.

Professor GADDIS: Well, he was convinced of this. I think Eisenhower had a rather different view, but Eisenhower's pressure on the British, the French, and the Israelis was financial, and it was behind the scenes. Khrushchev did some public huffing and puffing, which made it look as though he had had an effect on the decision of the British and the French and the Israelis to withdraw, and I do argue in the book that he drew some lessons from this and believed that he could make these claims to have missiles, to be willing to use them, and could extract political advantages from them. Ultimately, this is probably what led to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

CONAN: Another story told in The Cold War: A New History, by John Lewis Gaddis. John Lewis Gaddis is the Robert A. Lovett professor of history at Yale University and joined us today from a studio on the campus there. Professor Gaddis, thanks so much for being with us.

Professor GADDIS: Thanks to you. Enjoyed it.

CONAN: When we come back from a short break, we'll give you a chance to ask Senators Dick Durbin and Sam Brownback about what they asked during the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program earlier this week. I'm Neal Conan, it's the TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News.

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The Cold War: A New History

When George Orwell began writing "1984," the totalitarian future he described seemed disturbingly plausible. The Soviet Union, cashing in its chips after World War II, ruled half of Europe and commanded the unswerving loyalty of millions. By the 1950s, two superpowers, bristling with nuclear weapons, stared unblinking across an ideological divide, and the rest of the world trembled.

Forty years later, the Berlin Wall came down and, virtually overnight, the Soviet Union was no more.

The Cold War was over. What happened? How did the potent wartime alliance between the Western powers and the Soviet Union turn so quickly into implacable confrontation, and why did the standoff end so abruptly, after a generation of nuclear crises, proxy wars and a seemingly unstoppable arms race?

John Lewis Gaddis, a leading Cold War historian, has addressed such questions at length in works like "The United States and the Origins of the Cold War, 1941-1947," "The Long Peace: Inquiries Into the History of the Cold War" and "We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History."

In this new book, he offers a succinct, crisply argued account of the Cold War that draws on his previous work and synthesizes the mountain of archival material that began appearing in the 1990s. Energetically written and lucid, it makes an ideal introduction to the subject.

Gaddis starts with a surprisingly optimistic premise. "The world, I am quite sure, is a better place for that conflict having been fought in the way that it was and won by the side that won it," he writes. The Cold War was much more rational than previously thought, he writes, despite its manifest absurdities, first and foremost the race to develop weapons that, almost by definition, could never be used.

Both sides operated from perfectly reasonable premises, given their experiences in World War II. The Soviet Union, having lost millions of its citizens, saw victory as an opportunity to secure its borders and advance its political agenda around the world. The United States, after showing itself to be a reluctant actor on the world stage, was determined to play a more active role in securing Western Europe's future and, by bolstering democracies and free markets, to protect its own.

The bomb and radically divergent ideologies distorted what otherwise might have been a traditional balance-of-power chess match.

Gaddis, putting forward the first of his Cold War heroes, argues that Dwight D. Eisenhower was much quicker to grasp the implications of a nuclear future than many of the defense-policy intellectuals who tried to square the circle and make nuclear weapons part of a coherent military strategy.

Eisenhower, "at once the most subtle and brutal strategist of the nuclear age," rejected the concept of a limited nuclear war, reasoning, with a general's firsthand understanding of battle, that fear would overrule reason once nuclear weapons came into play.

There would be no middle ground between no war and total war, a stark choice that Winston Churchill saw as a kind of guarantee. "Strange as it may seem, it is to the universality of potential destruction that I think we may look with hope and even confidence," he told the House of Commons. War could no longer be an instrument of policy, something the mercurial Nikita Khrushchev also grasped.

The Cold War once looked like an equal battle between two military giants, with lesser nations of the world reduced to the role of helpless bystanders. Gaddis makes it clear just how helpless U.S. and Soviet leaders often were, their hands tied by manipulative leaders of weaker states who knew exactly how to make the game work to their advantage.

If events in Cuba and Indochina gave Washington fits, Soviet leaders were stymied by North Korea and driven to the point of apoplexy by Mao, who would traumatize Khrushchev by casually commenting that war with the United States might be an excellent idea.

In the end, the impossible became possible. In 1956 and 1968, Russian tanks crushed uprisings in Budapest and Prague. But faced with unrest in Poland in 1981, the Soviets blinked. Intervention, they decided, was out of the question. The superpower was powerless.

A decade later, the Soviet empire no longer existed, and the postwar division of the world came to an end. Just like that. "It could easily have been otherwise," Gaddis writes, in a ringing conclusion, "the world spent the last half of the 20th century having its deepest anxieties not confirmed."


How Did Fidel Castro Downfall

The failed Bay of Pigs Invasion backed by the US government allowed Castro himself to become a dictator and turn his country fully Communistic. In February 1962, the United states enacted a full economic embargo on Cuba that is still in effect to this day. This in turn led to Castro allowing the Soviet Union to install missiles on the island that were well in range of Cuba, starting the Cuban Missile Crisis. This nearly escalated into what would have been World War 3 but thankfully the situation deescalated and the missiles were removed after talks between the United States and the Soviet&hellip


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