Live Webcast: Henry Kissinger and the Dilemmas of American Power

June 27, 2006 // 4:00pm5:30pm

To watch the live webcast, follow the links in the See Also box to the right of this screen.

Moynihan Boardroom (6th Floor)
Woodrow Wilson Center
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Thomas A. Schwartz, Public Policy Scholar, Woodrow Wilson Center and Professor of History, Vanderbilt University

This lecture will examine the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger, with an emphasis on the choices and dilemmas which faced Kissinger during a transitional period in Cold War history. Kissinger's ideas and personality were important to the influence he exercised on foreign policy, but equally significant were his capacity for improvisation, understanding of domestic politics, and awareness of the structural constraints within which America acted. Ultimately what echoes from Kissinger's experience is the paradox of the limits of American power in a complex world, and yet its continuing vital significance in working with allies and adversaries in "managing" and stabilizing an international system open to change and peaceful transformation.

Thomas A. Schwartz is the author of America's Germany: John J. McCloy and the Federal Republic of Germany, a study of U.S. policy toward Germany immediately after World War II, and Lyndon Johnson and Europe: In the Shadow of Vietnam (2003), an examination of alliance politics during the Vietnam War. Dr Schwartz's research interests include the interaction between domestic politics and foreign policy, transnational coalitions and alliance politics, the role of the American presidency in alliance leadership, and the new international history of the Cold War. As a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center, he is currently working on two book projects: one is a short history of the Cold War, tentatively entitled, The Long Twilight Struggle, and the other is a biography of the former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, tentatively entitled Henry Kissinger and the Dilemmas of American Power.

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  • Christian F. Ostermann // Director, History and Public Policy Program; Global Europe; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
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  • James Person // Deputy Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project