Institute for Studies of the Recent Past and the History Department of the New Bulgarian University are inviting you to the public lecture
We All Fall Down: The Collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Dawn of the Post–Cold War International Order
Assoc. Prof. Simon Miles
28 March 2023 / 14:30 h.
New Bulgarian University, Campus 1, auditorium 405
Moderation: Prof. Momtchil Metodiev
Simon Miles joined the faculty of the Sanford School of Public Policy as an Assistant Professor in 2017. He is a diplomatic historian whose research agenda explores the causes and mechanics of cooperation between states.
His first book, Engaging the Evil Empire: Washington, Moscow and the Beginning of the End of the Cold War, explores the root causes of cooperation between two adversarial states, the United States and the Soviet Union, in order to situate the peaceful conclusion of the Cold War in a broader, international context. Between 1980 and 1985, US-Soviet relations improved so rapidly and so profoundly that scholars regularly use the case as an example of longstanding rivals setting aside prior disagreements and beginning to cooperate. Engaging the Evil Empire uses recently declassified archival materials from both sides of the Iron Curtain to show how shifts in the perceived distribution of power catalyzed changes in the strategies which US leaders used to engage the Soviet Union and vice versa.
When did the post–Cold War international order begin to consolidate? Between 1989 and 1991, the states of Eastern Europe recognized that the world was changing and that their relationship with the Soviet Union, codified in the Warsaw Pact politico- military alliance, was an impediment to success in the post–Cold War international order. Eastern bloc institutions, including the Pact, were on their way out, while Western institutions were much more likely to survive into the future. As such, policy- makers worked to both break apart Eastern institutions and integrate with Western ones, seeking security (and a hedge against a hard-line takeover in the Soviet Union) but most of all economic benefits. This process began before the transition to democracy had been completed, and in fact was initiated by some of the old communist-era elite, not new, pro-Western reformers. Using Czech, Hungarian, German, Polish, and Romanian archives, this article advances new information on and a new interpretation of a critical historical event, the end of the Cold War and the expansion of Western institutions into the formerly Soviet sphere of influence, and the impact of that expansion, particularly of NATO, on Russian foreign policy today.