by Richard Rubenstein (July 2015)
Introductory note: In 1975, Harper & Row published the first edition of my book, The Cunning of History: Mass Death and the American Future. In 1978, Harper & Row published a paperback edition with an introduction by William Styron, the author of Sophie’s Choice. In 2004, I received a request from a French publisher, Olivier Veron, for an “Afterword” bringing the book up to date. In the aftermath of 9/11, I focused on the threat of radical Islam. The Afterword was published in France in La Perfiie de l’Histoire. We are presenting it in English for the first time in this issue of New English Review.
The first edition of The Cunning of History was written at a time when the Cold War was very much alive. Throughout much of the post-World War II period, the conflict between the United States and its NATO allies and the Soviet Union was of paramount importance in international relations. There was always the danger that some action by either side, however accidental, might result in the launching of a catastrophic nuclear exchange. Fortunately, deterrence was effective during the Cold War because the conflict was between two powers whose leaders were risk-takers but not suicidal. more>>>