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History Strikes Back: How States, Nations, and Conflicts Are Shaping the 21st Century

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Publication Date: November 2008

Publisher(s): Brookings Institution

Author(s): Hubert Vedrine

Special Collection: Presidential Advisory

Topic: Government (Foreign relations)
International relations (International relations)

Keywords: Globalization; Nation states; Presidential transition

Type: Book

Coverage: United States


In History Strikes Back: How States, Nations, and Conflicts Are Shaping the 21st Century, Vedrine takes issue with idealists who believe that states are no longer necessary and that globalization and free markets will automatically make a better world for all. Far from having ended, history continues to present major challenges. When the Eastern bloc collapsed, the West was quick to believe that it had won the battle of history and that its values would prevail everywhere. The ensuing years have belied that faith, however.

In dealing with a newly multipolar world, Americans have been too bellicose and Europeans naive. Vedrine shows why Westerners need to discard the illusions that have guided their international relations for more than twenty years. He presents a realistic vision for building a better world and spells out what Europeans expect from the U.S. administration to come. The United States and Europe must partner for a new form of "smart Realpolitik" to guide their relations with emerging powers, manage globalization, and deal with environmental challenges.