On January 6, Brookings welcomed former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Hubert Védrine to present his latest book, History Strikes Back: How States, Nations, and Conflicts Are Shaping the 21st Century (Brookings Institution Press, 2008). Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright joined the discussion following Mr. Védrine’s remarks.
In dealing with the new multi-polar world, Védrine writes, Americans have been too bellicose and Europeans too naïve. Védrine shows why Westerners need to discard the assumptions that have guided their international policies for more than 20 years. He presents a pragmatic vision for building a better world and spells out what Europeans expect from the incoming U.S. administration. The United States and Europe must partner for a new form of “smart Realpolitik” to guide their relations with emerging powers, manage globalization and deal with environmental challenges.
Daniel Benjamin, director of the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, moderated the discussion. Hubert Védrine was French Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1997 to 2002, as well as diplomatic counselor and spokesman for President François Mitterrand. Madeleine Albright served as U.S. Secretary of State during the Clinton administration. After the formal remarks, the discussants took audience questions.