Why did the Cold War end as peacefully, and as suddenly, as it did? In February 1993 key diplomatic players--including former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz and his Russian counterpart, former Soviet foreign minister Alexander Bessmertnykh--gathered in Princeton, New Jersey, to exchange views on the transition to the post-Cold War world. Now, the complete transcripts of this historic three-day conference, supplemented by incisive interpretive essays by three senior political scientists, are available in William C. Wohlforth's Witnesses to the End of the Cold War.
Conference participants explore the ways in which the two sides overcame domestic and international resistance to easing the U.S.-Soviet rivalry, from the tense crises of the early 1980s to the increasingly productive summits of the decade's end. They also discuss such issues as the arms buildup and reduction, management of crisis flashpoints, chief players in the Cold War thaw, the economic and political impact on Russia of the war in Afghanistan, and events at the Reykjavik Summit.
In the interpretive essays, Fred Greenstein, Robert Jervis, and Alexander George discuss the role of personalities and misperception, and offer a political-psychology perspective on the Cold War's end. The book also features a preface by Don Oberdorfer and a concluding chapter by volume editor William Wohlforth, which sets the issue in the context of international relations theory. With an appendix that includes recently declassified Soviet and American documents, Witnesses to the End of the Cold War provides an intriguing firsthand account that will be of interest to students, scholars, and informed general readers alike.