Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Five best Cold War classics

Ernest Lefever, author of The Irony of Virtue: Ethics and American Power (1998) and America's Imperial Burden (1999), named a five best list of "Cold War classics for an age of a resurgent Russia" for Opinion Journal.

Number One on his list:
The Twenty Years' Crisis: 1919-1939 by E.H. Carr (Macmillan, 1939).

Published in 1939 just before Hitler invaded Poland, "The Twenty Years' Crisis: 1919-1939" was one of the first modern books on world politics in the classic tradition of Thucydides and Machiavelli. During the long weekend between the two world wars, says British scholar E.H. Carr (1892-1982), there was in the English-speaking world an almost "total neglect of the factor of power." Like Reinhold Niebuhr, whom he often quotes, Carr believes that a balance of power among states is the starting point in foreign policy but that morality is an essential consideration. Utopian "superstructures such as the League of Nations," he said, were not the answer. Carr's critics point to his early pro-Nazi stance and his muddled thinking about communist Russia. He once wrote that "the Russian Revolution gave me a sense of history" and it "turned me into a historian." That said, this book remains a seminal work on the realism that instructed U.S. and British Cold War statesmen.
Read about the other titles on Lefever's list.

--Marshal Zeringue