The Slander of 'Isolationism': How America Became Addicted to Military Intervention and How We Can Get Over It

November 19, 2020

11am Virtual

Event Time: 11AM PST / 2PM EST / 7PM GMT
Please click here to register for the event.

Despite America’s fractious politics, leaders of both parties agree that the United States must deploy its military across the globe and use it to enforce world order. But U.S. military dominance is facing mounting domestic opposition from the left and the right, not to mention internationally. Historian Stephen Wertheim thinks this trend is likely to continue, and should be welcomed, because armed supremacy has lost its reason for being. In his new book, Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, Wertheim argues that the United States decided to embark on a long-term project of military dominance early in the Second World War. Officials and intellectuals feared that otherwise totalitarian conquerors might ascend to primacy and close off much of the earth to U.S. influence and intercourse. In conversation with Berggruen Institute’s Vice President of Programs and historian, Nils Gilman, Wertheim will discuss how this decision was made and evaluate its relevance to the 21st century. What would the world look like if the United States pulled back?

About the Speakers
Nils Gilman – Moderator

Dr. Nils Gilman is the Vice President of Programs at the Berggruen Institute, in which capacity he leads the Institute’s research program, directs its resident fellowship program, and is also Deputy Editor of Noema Magazine. He has previously worked as Associate Chancellor at the University of California Berkeley, as Research Director and scenario planning consultant at the Monitor Group and Global Business Network, and at various enterprise software companies including Salesforce.com and BEA Systems. Gilman has won the Sidney Award (for long-form journalism) from the New York Times and an Albie Award (for international political economy) from The Washington Post.

He is the author of Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America (2004) and Deviant Globalization: Black Market Economy in the 21st Century (2011) as well as numerous articles on intellectual history and political economy. He holds a B.A. M.A. and Ph.D. in History from U.C. Berkeley.

Stephen Wertheim – Speaker
Dr. Stephen Wertheim is a historian of the United States in the world. He is Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute. He is also a Research Scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

Wertheim specializes in U.S. foreign relations and international order from the late nineteenth century to the present. In his book, Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, he reveals how U.S. leaders first made the decision to pursue military dominance, an objective that for most of American history had looked unnecessary at best and imperialistic at worst.

In 2015, Wertheim received a PhD with distinction from Columbia University. He also received an MPhil from Columbia in 2011 and an AB summa cum laude from Harvard University in 2007.