RUSSIA, AMERICA, AND THE QUEST FOR A WORLD ORDER

COURSE E – Thursday 1-3 p.m.

Lecturer: Sergei Plekhanov
Tartu College, 310 Bloor St. West, entrance on Madison

US-Russian relations are at the lowest point since the Cold War. This situation endangers the very survival of humanity: both countries are armed with thousands of nuclear weapons which they aim at each other. The world plainly cannot afford too much US-Russian conflict. Yet, many assume that tensions and conflicts between Russia and America are somehow more natural than any attempts at cooperation between them. This stereotype is inherited from the Cold War in which the two superpowers were locked for half a century in ideological and geopolitical conflict accompanied by a massive and dangerous arms race. But is this stereotype backed up by the historical record? A review of the more than two centuries of history shared by the two countries suggests otherwise: tensions and conflicts between Russia and the US have never reached a
critical stage of an all-out war, the two countries have been on the same side in almost all the big wars each of them has fought, and the world order that exists today owes much to their ability and willingness to cooperate despite their differences. Such cooperation is their duty to the world.
January 16 – THE TWO EMPIRES.
January 23 – THE GREAT WAR AND THE BIRTH OF SOVIET RUSSIA.
January 30 – THE GRAND ALLIANCE AGAINST FASCISM.
A historic alliance crushed the fascist Axis and set the foundations of a new world order.
February 6 – THE TWO SUPERPOWERS IN THE COLD WAR: CONFLICT AND COOPERATION.
While they competed fiercely for influence in various parts of the world, the two superpowers were careful to keep their rivalry from escalating into World War III.
February 13 – THE IDEOLOGICAL FIGHT: CAPITALISM VS. COMMUNISM.
The ideological competition was a source of tensions and conflicts – but it also stimulated progressive changes in both countries.
February 27 – THE NUCLEAR NEMESIS.
The adversaries became each other’s hostages – and then partners in building an elaborate architecture of arms control.
March 5 – THE SOVIET DEMISE AND THE AMERICAN TRIUMPH.
The post-Soviet Russian Federation embarked upon a traumatic transition to capitalism under American hegemony.
March 12 – THE RETURN OF HISTORY: AMERICA AND RUSSIA IN A MULTIPOLAR WORLD.
As the US resorts to desperate attempts to shore up its primacy, the world has reverted to its familiar and dangerous pattern of intense international rivalry.

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