The end of the Cold War was an opportunity – our inability to seize it has led to today’s renewed era of great power competition
1989 heralded a unique prospect for an enduring global peace, as harsh ideological divisions and conflicts began to be resolved. Now, three decades on, that peace has been lost. With war in Ukraine and increasing tensions between China, Russia, and the West, great power politics once again dominates the world stage. But could it have been different?
Richard Sakwa shows how the years before the first mass invasion of Ukraine represented a hiatus in conflict rather than a lasting accord – and how, since then, we have been in a ‘Second Cold War’. Tracing the mistakes on both sides that led to the current crisis, Sakwa considers the resurgence of China and Russia and the disruptions and ambitions of the liberal order that opened up catastrophic new lines of conflict.
This is a vital, strongly-argued account of how the world lost its chance at peace, and instead saw the return of war in Europe, global rivalries, and nuclear brinkmanship.
Richard Sakwa is emeritus professor of Russian and European politics at the University of Kent. He has published widely on Soviet, Russian, and post-communist affairs and is the author of Frontline Ukraine and Russia against the Rest.
“The Lost Peace is a superb book. Sakwa explains in learned detail how the West – especially the United States – pursued policies after the first Cold War ended that tragically led to a second Cold War, which has no end in sight.”—John J. Mearsheimer, author of The Great Delusion
“The Lost Peace offers a long-awaited nuanced analysis of the multilayered crisis in which the world finds itself. Sakwa's sharp and meticulous interpretation will help all those who look for solutions ahead.”—Marlene Laruelle, author of Is Russia Fascist?
“A masterly account of the decisions that, over the last quarter century, have plunged the world into a new crisis. Must reading for concerned citizens in North America and Europe.”—Jack F. Matlock, Jr., Former U.S. Ambassador to the USSR and author of Superpower Illusions
“Richard Sakwa offers a sophisticated and highly informative analysis of competing views of world order after the Cold War. Written by a foremost expert in the field The Lost Peace is a definitive treatment of great power politics.”—Andrei P. Tsygankov, author of Russia and the West from Alexander to Putin
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