Speaker 1: I am delighted to be part of today’s event, first because I [???] Turkey one of the world’s most fascinating country and I am so pleased to make contact with the Rumi Forum, but also to introduce David Calleo. David is not only one of the most knowledgeable but also one of the wisest thinkers and writers about Western Europe, US European relations, America’s broader world and the economic underpinnings of that role that last dimension gives him an enormous advantage over so many others who write in this area. He is a devoted teacher and mentor of younger scholars, but the rest of us [???] of course primarily through his writing sometimes on individual European countries, Britain, Germany, but more often on the wider context, things like Europe’s future in 1965 and rethinking Europe’s future in 2001, 36 years later. He enjoys being an intellectual troublemaker, I mean that as high praise, which means that when he is challenging conventional authority, he is enormously entertaining to read as well as enlightening, but some of the things he has written over the years that some initially dismissed as radical, now see more prescient by the day of Atlantic fantasies in the early 190s and beyond American [???] the future of the western alliance in 1987 I believe two years before the cold war ended. Themes that now have been picked up by a great many other commentators, but David was as usual ahead of the intellectual pack of. He is also a good friend so I have to admit to prejudice but in the immortal words of Henry Kissinger when commenting on one of his own speeches, everything I have said about him has the added advantage of being [???] so David Calleo.
Speaker 2: Well thank you very much. Thank all of you for coming and thank Professor [???] for organizing all this and the Rumi Forum. Thank you Jenonne for not only very warm and flattering introduction, but one I really appreciate because of the source. Jenonne has been deeply involved with American foreign policy for a long time so it is praise which I relish. Anyway, I guess my job is to explain what is in the book, in the half hour or so and it is not so easy summarizing this book, because it has a lot of quite desperate topics and they are all fairly complicated. There is a sort of general theme, which is – essentially it is in the subtitle America’s Unipolar Fantasy. According to that theme the geopolitical imagination of Americans and especially American political allies has been enchanted by a particular vision, a way of looking at things that sees the world first of all as a kind of integrated global system, which is dominated by a single superpower, ourselves and because we have this exceptional power it [???] us with exceptional legitimacy, national interest and duty compel us to lead the rest of the world. This way of looking at things has deep roots in American history, it’s persuasiveness is buttressed by a sort of correlative geopolitical theory, which is also popular among American political allies that the world is best off we think when it has a boss and this is a dominant power that means well and keeps others in line. This is a very old theory of international relations as you all know is rooted in the writings of Thomas Hobbs to have peace within a state Hobbs thought there must be an irresistible sovereign power to have order among a group of interacting [???] is required and this unipolar philosophy if you like is buttressed also by a popular view of modern history and again especially popular among our allies.
One that defines the 19th century as a sort of idealized Pax Britannica, that is a golden age of global free trade and investment animated by British finance, kept in order by British military and naval power. And for decades the story goes, other states prospered in the sense these free riders on the system, which the British maintain and as other powers waxed Britain’s relative position waned, international order began to deteriorate. World War I was the terrifying consequence and the obvious solution as Woodrow Wilson understood was that the United States should assume Britain’s role. Britain no longer had the power, the Americans now did and therefore should assume this hegemonic role. The isolationist America of the 1920s was unwilling so World War II followed World War I. In his last years the American President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did his best to have America rise to its global responsibilities and this was the cause which was truly by partisan in the sense that it was ardently embraced by the republican candidate in the election of 1940 [???] on campaigned on the theme of one world, one world managed by the United States or Henry Luce the great publisher who talked about the American century, which was about to break out. After World War II, the story grows a bit more muddled and controversial, at least among American historians. Roosevelt’s plan for a unipolar Pax Americana met first of all with strong resistance from our own European allies in particular from Britain and France, but also of course from Soviet Russia. Stalin’s opposition forced the American political imagination to adopt a new bipolar vision that is to say a world organized around two competing superpowers. But anyway after four decades of this cold war the rival superpower finally collapsed whereupon the American political imagination began to revert to its unipolar vision, the Pax Americana was finally at hand. History had come to an end.