January 21, 2006

SABOT IS SO FRENCH THOUGH:

Saboteurs of the Status Quo: The power of vision and fearlessness. (Rich Lowry, 1/20/06, National Review)

John Lewis Gaddis, author of a half-dozen books on the topic, is the nation’s foremost historian of the Cold War. So when in the 1980s he dismissed Ronald Reagan’s goal of ending the Cold War, arguing instead that the American-Soviet competition had settled into a stable “long peace,” it would have been natural to conclude that Gaddis, the august expert, was right.

He was wrong, of course. Gaddis explains why in his crackling-good, recently published book, The Cold War: A New History. It holds lessons for today in its reminder of how inspired people, armed with truth and morality, can force epochal historical changes.

In the 1970s, the Cold War had entered its détente phase, which for the U.S. meant managing the Cold War, not winning it. This seemed reasonable enough. “It took visionaries — saboteurs of the status quo — to widen the range of historical possibility,” Gaddis writes. In the West, these saboteurs were Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II. In their qualities and in their arguments, there is the distinct echo of George W. Bush.


Mr. Gaddis's excellent esssay on the revolutionary nature of the Bush Doctrine is included in our forthcoming book.


Posted by Orrin Judd at January 21, 2006 11:14 PM
Comments

One of the reasons that Mr. Gaddis is one of the very few academic historians/political scientists worthy of respect is that he has proved himself capable of learning from his mistakes.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at January 21, 2006 11:43 PM

I'm reading Derek Leebaert's Fifty Year Wound right now.

Excellent history of the Cold War, notable for its' approving judgement of Truman\Acheson, Ike and Reagan and its' disparagement of JFK, the CIA and those who failed to recognise the Soviet Empire as being an evil empire.

Posted by: Ali Choudhury at January 22, 2006 7:00 AM

Related.

Posted by: Barry Meislin at January 22, 2006 7:03 AM

Ali:

It's quite amusing because he rages against just about everything, Right, Left, and Center.

Posted by: oj at January 22, 2006 7:39 AM

... there is the distinct echo of George W. Bush. Call me a linear thinker, but can past actions echo the future?


Posted by: erp at January 22, 2006 9:00 AM

Barry,
Thanks for the terrific link.

Posted by: Genecis at January 22, 2006 12:34 PM
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