The collapse of the Soviet bloc and the end of the cold war have changed the face of international politics. What should American foreign policy be in these new circumstances? Dissent asked Harvard’s Stanley Hoffmann to outline an answer to this question, and solicited responses from an array of thoughtful commentators on American and world affairs, which we present below. —Eds.
For forty years, containment provided a rationale, if not always a reliable compass, for American diplomacy. When Gorbachev and his associates decided to replace rivalry with partnership and confrontation with accommodation, American statesmen briefly envisaged a “new world order” remarkably similar to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s great design of 1944-45—one in which a concert of great powers led by the United States would provide collective security against (other) aggressors. The Gulf War marked both the culmination and the beginning of the end of that brief era: when the Soviet Union disintegrated and Yugoslavia collapsed into civil war, an entirely new age
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