It has been more than fifteen years since the People's Liberation Army crushed the prodemocracy rallies in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, killing hundreds of students and workers and wounding thousands more. Since then, although stifling political dissent, China has continued to liberalize its economy and is rapidly becoming an economic superpower. Will the explosion of new wealth in China lead to new pressures for democratic reform? And just what is the legacy of Tiananmen? Peter Robinson speaks with William McGurn and Orville Schell.
George W. Bush, during the 2000 presidential campaign said that "America has never been an empire... We may be the only great power in history that had the chance, and refused." Was then-candidate Bush right when he made those remarks? Or has America become an imperial power in all but name? How do America's unique historical circumstances predispose it to handle the unrivaled power it holds in the world today? And what lessons can we draw from our nearest historical antecedent, the British Empire of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries?
Since the end of the cold war, the United States has been the world's only superpower, accounting for 43 percent of the world's military expenditures. During this time, America has led major interventions into Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Are the United States and the world better off when America follows a unilateral, interventionist foreign policy? Or should the United States reduce its overseas presence and instead emphasize international cooperation? Peter Robinson speaks with Niall Ferguson and Ivan Eland.
Do the neoconservatives know how to win the war on terror? Much has been made of the influence within the Bush administration of neoconservatives—those who tend to take a hard line in the war on terror and who favored the war in Iraq. Recently two men close to the Bush administration, Richard Perle and David Frum, wrote a book laying out the neoconservative agenda for winning the war on terror and making America safe. Their agenda is bold and ambitious. Critics would say it is reckless and dangerous. Who's right?
In a 2002 Gallup poll conducted in ten Muslim nations, only 22 percent of the people questioned viewed the United States favorably. Why does the United States foster such hatred in the Islamic world in particular? Is it our foreign policy—our support of Israel and of repressive Arab regimes in the Middle East? Or is it our culture? Does globalization spread American values that are simply antithetical, thus disruptive, to the traditional Islamic view of society? Just what should we do to win this struggle for the hearts and minds of those who despise us around the world?
Can America become an "empire for liberty"? British historian Paul Johnson believes that it can and should. The United States, he argues, is uniquely suited, as a result of both its principles and its current power, to bring about benevolent change throughout the world. But does empire suit the United States? We ask Johnson just how and why America can be this "empire for liberty" and to place American imperialism in its historical context.
To what extent are government leaders personally responsible for the outcomes of foreign policy and war? We review the career of Henry Kissinger, one of the most colorful statesmen of the twentieth century. Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Kissinger served as national security adviser and secretary of state under Presidents Nixon and Ford during two pivotal events in American history, the cold war and the Vietnam War. Is Kissinger guilty, as some have charged, of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his conduct during that era? Or should he be regarded as a bold defender of American freedom during a time of crisis?
In the modern democratic era, it's not uncommon for elected leaders to have little or no military training or experience. It has become an accepted notion that political leaders should therefore leave battle plans and campaign decisions to the military commanders and avoid "micromanaging" war. But is that notion correct? Or was Clemenceau right when he said that "war is too important to be left to the generals"? What lessons can we learn from studying the greatest wartime leaders, such as Lincoln, Churchill, and FDR?
We asked George Shultz, secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, to help us put America's war on terrorism in historical, political, and moral context. What lessons can be drawn from previous attempts to deal with terrorism? What should we make of the complaints leveled against the United States by terrorist organizations? What will it take to win the war on terrorism and how long will it last?
As Barack Obama begins his second term as president of the United States, the nation faces a range of formidable challenges at the intersection of which are national security and law.
The causes, the players, and the likely consequences of the Arab eruptions. A conversation with Hoover fellows Peter Berkowitz, Victor Davis Hanson, and Peter Robinson.
Since the end of the cold war, the world has watched as the United States became, not merely the world's only superpower but what the French began calling a "hyperpower." Now, with the United States asserting its will and power on such issues as Iraq and the war on terror while rejecting contraints that the international community tries to place on it, some suggest that the term American empire is more appropriate. If America does have an empire, it is not based on territorial expansion as in past empires. So what is it based on? And would taking on the role of imperial hegemon be good for America and the world?
Peter Robinson, former Reagan speechwriter, who wrote the Tear Down That Wall Speech on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. . . .
An episode of political violence in London a hundred years ago, featuring a cast of characters including revolutionaries from the Russian Empire, Winston Churchill, and the czarist secret police (the Okhrana) is in the news again, at least in Latvia, where the revolutionaries came from. The episode, known as the Siege of Sidney Street, has never completely disappeared from popular folklore in London, even figuring as part of the inspiration for an Alfred Hitchcock film (The Man Who Knew Too Much). Despite its notoriety, the incident has faded from history, eclipsed first by the outbreak of World War I and by much larger events such as the 1917 Russian revolution.
Anthony Kröner’s just-published biography of the last commander of the anti-Bolshevik forces of southern Russia, General Peter Wrangel (Petr NikolaevichVrangel’), entitled The White Knight of the Black Sea, is a carefully researched and well-written account of the life of one of the most fascinating military leaders of twentieth-century Russia. Kröner conducted research in numerous repositories around the world, but the bulk of his research was done at the Hoover Institution Archives, which holds the Vrangel’ collection (http://www.oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/tf0m3n97fc.
He was the dashing, doomed general who challenged the Bolsheviks, an icon of a Russia that might have been. By Anthony Kröner.
A glimpse at globe-trotting diplomats and conflicting interests. . . .
Where neoconservatism came from, what it stands for, and how it became associated with the war in Iraq. An intellectual movement considered. By Peter Berkowitz.
What happens when South Korean students take a close look at American democracy. By Peter Berkowitz.
What sustains the conservative agenda? What makes it distinctive and coherent? In a word, principle. By Peter Berkowitz.