Michael Mandelbaum: The Rise and Fall Of Peace on Earth
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Michael Mandelbaum: The Rise and Fall Of Peace on Earth
28 May @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
In the twenty-five years after 1989, the world enjoyed the deepest peace in history. In The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth, the eminent foreign policy scholar Michael Mandelbaum examines that remarkable quarter century, describing how and why the peace was established and then fell apart. To be sure, wars took place in this era, but less frequently and on a far smaller scale than in previous periods. Mandelbaum argues that the widespread peace ended because three major countries — Vladimir Putin’s Russia in Europe, Xi Jinping’s China in East Asia, and the Shia clerics’ Iran in the Middle East — put an end to it with aggressive nationalist policies aimed at overturning the prevailing political arrangements in their respective regions. The three had a common motive: their need to survive in a democratic age with their countries’ prospects for economic growth uncertain.
Mandelbaum further argues that the key to the return of peace lies in the advent of genuine democracy, including free elections and the protection of religious, economic, and political liberty. Yet, since recent history has shown that democracy cannot be imposed from the outside, The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth has a dual message: while the world has a formula for peace, there is no way to ensure that all countries will embrace it.
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to join professor Michael Mandelbaum for an in-depth discussion about the rise and fall of peace on earth.
Professor Michael Mandelbaum is the Christian A. Herter Professor Emeritus of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. He has also taught at Harvard and Columbia Universities and at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis and served as Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. A contributor to such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and The London Observer, Professor Mandelbaum served for 23 years as the associate director of the Aspen Institute Congressional Project on American Relations With the Former Communist World. He serves on the Board of Advisors of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington-based organization sponsoring research and public discussion on American policy toward the Middle East.
Dr. Alan Mendoza is a Founder and the Executive Director of the Henry Jackson Society. He directs analysis, research focus, strategy and development for the organisation. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a member of the Advisory Board of the Electric Infrastructure Security Council and the presenter of Current Affairs on the J-TV news channel. Alan is a frequent speaker at high-profile national and international events and conferences. He holds a BA and MPhil in History at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge; and a PhD at the same institution focusing on Anglo-American relations during the Bosnian War, 1992-1995.
On the 28th of May, the Henry Jackson Society welcomed Professor Michael Mandelbaum, the Christian A. Herter Professor of American Foreign Policy at The Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he is also the chairman of the Department of American Foreign Policy, for a discussion centred on his new book The Rise and Fall of Peace on Earth. The event was moderated by HJS’ Dr. Alan Mendoza.
Professor Mandelbaum began by highlighting that he had previously spoken at the HJS at the launch of a previous book which looked at the United States’ (US) role in the world following the Cold War. He highlighted that while that work was a US-centric appraisal, the current title looks at the status of peace in the world since the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Professor Mandelbaum raised the question of how best to define ‘peace’ and expanded on the way he had chosen to address this issue in the course of writing this book. He set out his view that the 25 years since the Berlin Wall fell stand out in terms of the extent to which the world was at peace, but qualified this perspective by acknowledging that conflicts took place during this period. However, he emphasised that there were no great power conflicts and no major powers were preparing for one.
Professor Mandelbaum outlined the unique qualities of this time that helped to facilitate this period of peace, including the US’ ‘benign hegemony’, the growing importance of global economic interdependence, and the continued spread of democracy. He stressed his belief that the latter is hugely importance in the promotion of global peace, highlighting the trifecta of benefits it brings, specifically; economic liberty, religious liberty, and political liberty.
In spite of the above Professor Mandelbaum was at pains to point out that ‘nothing guarantees peace’. He summarised the growing challenges faced in this new era, specifically those presented by China, Iran, and Russia. Professor Mandelbaum explained that each country, facing internal challenges, has adopted an aggressive stance in its own region in pursuit of improved domestic public opinion but that these actions threaten global peace due to increased levels of security competition.
In response to the challenge raised by these countries Professor Mandelbaum restated his view that democracy is the most potent means of generating peace but he acknowledged that, as the recent years have demonstrated, transitioning to democracy is ‘easier said than done’ and cannot be imposed on a country from the outside. He stated that his book gives cause for both optimism and pessimism in that a formula for peace exists but it is near impossible to implement.
Professor Mandelbaum suggested that in response to the challenge raised by these countries the policy of ‘containment’ utilised by the US during the Cold War should be revived, although he confirmed that adjustments would need to be made to make it suitable for the task at hand. Professor Mandelbaum also felt that in order to maintain peace it was critical that the aggressor nations are weakened and that democracy around the world remains strong.
The discussion finished with a round of questions from the audience.
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