Cold War Lessons to Contain Russian Aggression & Risks to Rising Inflation

Sunday, March 13th, 2022

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What Happens Next is a podcast where an expert is given just SIX minutes to present his argument. This is followed by a Q&A period for deeper engagement.

Today’s topics are What Happens Next in the Ukraine and Risks to Rising: Recession and Lower Stock Prices?

Our speakers are Hal Brands and Desmond Lachman.

Transcript

Larry Bernstein:

My name is Larry Bernstein.

What Happens Next is a podcast where the speaker gets to present his argument in just Six
Minutes and that is followed by a question-and-answer period for deeper engagement.
Today’s discussion will be on two topics: Learning Lessons from the Cold War to Contain
Russian Aggression and. Will Curbing Inflation Require a Recession?

Our first speaker will be Hal Brands who is the Henry Kissinger Professor of Global Affairs at
John Hopkins SAIS. He is also the author of the new book entitled The Twilight Struggle: What
the Cold War Teaches Us about Great-Power Rivalry Today.

I want to speak to Hal about these topics: How will the Ukraine war play out, how will it impact
the great power rivalries going forward, and what does this mean for the relationship between the
US, Russia and China? Can we split Russia and China? And what are the consequences of not
doing so?

Our second speaker will be Desmond Lachman who works at AEI. Des has been a very good
friend of mine for the past 25 years and we worked together when Des was the Chief Emerging
Markets Economist at Salomon Brothers.

I want to learn from Des if the rising inflation is transitory and why is inflation rising so rapidly?
If the economy is overheating, why are we still increasing fiscal stimulus, and why hasn’t the
Fed raised rates and why are they so far behind the curve?

And most importantly if interest rates are going to have to rise, what does this mean for stock,
bond, and real estate prices? Des, how bad is it out there?

You can find transcripts for this program and all of our previous episodes on our website
whathappensnextin6minutes.com, and you can listen on Podbean, Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Let’s begin with our first speaker Hal Brands.

                                                              
 
 
 
 

Hal Brands

Topic: What Happens Next in the Ukraine
Bio: Henry Kissinger Professor of Global Affairs at John Hopkins SAIS
Reading: The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches Us about Great-Power
Rivalry Today is here

Transcript

Thanks for having me, Larry. My recent book is called The Twilight Struggle: What the Cold War Teaches
Us about Great-Power Rivalry. When we think about the US competition with China or with Russia
today, these are not the same things as the US/Soviet Cold War. Xi’s China is not a Stalin Soviet Union or
even Mao’s China. Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s Soviet Union either. Now, we worry about a beleaguered
international order that’s coming under strain. Back in the late 1940s, there was no international order
and that was part of the problem.

The geography, the levels of economic interconnectedness are different. And when I talk about lessons
of the Cold War, I’m not arguing that everything is the same and we can just simply rerun the Cold War
playbook in vastly dissimilar circumstances today. We can learn by looking back on the Cold War for a
couple of reasons. The first reason is that the Cold War itself wasn’t that exceptional, it was just one
manifestation of a much longer competition between great powers to shape the international system
going back to the ancient world. We can see it in the early modern era, we can see it in the 20th century,
the US/China and US/Russia relationships today are just part of this larger phenomenon as well.

There’s one time in our history that we’ve geared up for extended decades-long competition with an
authoritarian great power. And that is the Cold War.

The United States to succeed in the Cold War had to rally big unwieldy coalitions of allies. It had to blend
competition with negotiation and cooperation. All Current events are making the history of the Cold
War look more relevant.

We’ve had a period of heightened tensions in US/China relations over the past 18 months, it’s become
increasingly common to refer to the US/China relationship as a new Cold War. There’s a nontrivial
danger of hot war in flashpoints like the Taiwan Strait. And the competencies that were necessary to get
through the old Cold War with the Soviet Union successfully are going to be necessary with China today.
We’re seeing the same thing when we look at US relations with Russia. Russia remains the more
aggressive of the two great power rivals. And it’s a country that we ignore at our peril.

Autocratic great powers are willing to use force in international affairs. Those conflicts present real risks
of spillover and escalation. And the crisis in Ukraine has intensified protracted competition for influence
with Putin’s Russia in Eastern Europe and potentially beyond. We’ve had the luxury of 30 years of post-
Cold War peace. That period’s over now. We’re heading into a period of much higher danger and we
need to learn from the past if we’re going to navigate the future and its challenges successfully.

Hal Brands Q&A:

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Desmond Lachman

Topic: Risks to Rising: Recession and Lower Stock Prices?
Bio: Economist at AEI

Desmond Lachman Q&A:

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