Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War (Hardcover)

Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War By Michael W. Doyle Cover Image

Cold Peace: Avoiding the New Cold War (Hardcover)


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An urgent examination of the world barreling toward a new Cold War.

By 1990, the first Cold War was ending. The Berlin Wall had fallen and the Warsaw Pact was crumbling; following Russia’s lead, cries for democracy were being embraced by a young Chinese populace. The post–Cold War years were a time of immense hope and possibility. They heralded an opportunity for creative cooperation among nations, an end to ideological strife, perhaps even the beginning of a stable international order of liberal peace.

But the days of optimism are over.

As renowned international relations expert Michael Doyle makes hauntingly clear, we now face the devastating specter of a new Cold War, this time orbiting the trilateral axes of Russia, the United States, and China, and exacerbated by new weapons of cyber warfare and more insidious forms of propaganda.

Such a conflict at this phase in our global history would have catastrophic repercussions, Doyle argues, stymieing global collaboration efforts that are key to reversing climate change, preventing the next pandemic, and securing nuclear nonproliferation. The recent, devastating invasion of Ukraine is both an example and an augur of the costs that lay in wait.

However, there is hope.

Putin is not Stalin, Xi is not Mao, and no autocrat is a modern Hitler. There is also an unprecedented level of shared global interest in prosperity and protecting the planet from environmental disaster.

While it is unlikely that the United States, Russia, and China will ever establish a “warm peace,” there are significant, reasonable compromises between nations that can lead to a détente. While the future remains very much in doubt, the elegant set of accords and non-subversion pacts Doyle proposes in this book may very well save the world.

Michael Doyle is a university professor at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Berlin, Germany.
Columbia University political scientist Doyle (Liberal Peace) surveys sore spots in America’s relations with China and Russia, including economic and military rivalries, the war in Ukraine, clashes over Taiwan, and Chinese and Russian anger at Western criticisms of their human rights abuses. The author traces these tensions to domestic politics marked by nationalism, populism, and imperial nostalgia, and a need for foreign enemies and military adventures to distract the public from corrupt, authoritarian rule in Russia and China and economic inequality in the U.S.... Doyle offers plenty of insights into contemporary geopolitical frictions.

— Publishers Weekly

One of our deepest thinkers about international affairs explains how to avoid a new cold war with China and Russia. Whether you agree with all his solutions or not, this book is a must-read for everyone who seeks to avert the looming threats of our times.
— Joseph S. Nye, Jr., University Distinguished Service Professor, Harvard University, and author of Do Morals Matter? Presidents and Foreign Policy from FDR to Trump

At a perilous moment in world affairs, one of the world’s greatest political scientists has produced an elegant and sophisticated, yet also crisp and highly readable, argument about the wisest path forward. Michael Doyle has no illusions about the challenges posed by Russia and China (as well as the two of them working in concert), and is deeply troubled by the state of American democracy. But his prescription for establishing a cold peace with Moscow and Beijing—a strategy of live and let live, even as we compete—makes eminent sense as a way to reduce the risks of catastrophic war. And his specific ideas about how to do so on issues including Ukraine and Taiwan could be important catalysts for action.
— Michael E. O’Hanlon, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy, Brookings Institution, and author of Military History for the Modern Strategist