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Lawrence Freedman has been Professor of War Studies at King's College, London since 1982. He was appointed Vice-Principal at King's in 2003. He was educated at Whitley Bay Grammar School and the Universities of Manchester, York and Oxford. Before joining King's he held research appointments at Nuffield College Oxford, IISS and the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and awarded the CBE in 1996, he was appointed Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign in 1997.
Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His books include an Adelphi Paper on The Revolution in Strategic Affairs, an edited book on Strategic Coercion, an illustrated book on The Cold War, a collection of essays on British defence policy and Kennedy's Wars that covers the major crises of the early 1960s over Berlin, Cuba and Vietnam. In addition a book on deterrence was published in 2004 and the Official History of the Falklands Campaign was published in the summer of 2005. His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America confronts the Middle East, was published in 2008.
Lawrence Freedman: Strangely, they’re not that bad. I think- I mean, trans-Atlantic relations obviously hit a low in 2003. The whole cast of characters, apart from Bush himself, has now changed- there are different leaders in Britain, France and Germany- the Italian one has come back again. And I think there- you know- the will in Europe is to make the trans-Atlantic relationship work. And also, I think, you know, the Putin- now Meledev- factor is making Europeans, you know, remember why it’s always quite useful to have the Americans- to be with the Americans. And not in the sense if you’re scared or frightened like they were in the Cold War days, but all these issues are reasons to deal with the Atlantic countries are working together. I think it’s the case- it isn’t a partisan point- that Europeans have been absolutely riveted by the Election campaign, and it’s- for all sorts of reasons- probably rooting for Obama just because he represented something so different from Bush that they can see the PR advantages at home, which is not to say they would be unhappy with Hillary. I think they would be fine with Hillary, too- I mean, she- because by and large, they got on okay with Bill. Towards the end, I think people forget just how bad trans-Atlantic relations were in the first term of Clinton, over Bosnia, which was actually a very difficult time. But by the end, he was fine. But Obama represents a different sort of America. And so I think that he would have an unusual opportunity. McCain would also- will also have an opportunity
because he’s recognized to be different to Bush and- but I think there would be a concern that he was carrying on the sort of- a blustery sort of foreign policy, whereas, you know, I think Europeans would like a more diplomacy-heavy American foreign policy rather than one that just relies on sort of threats and actual use of force. So, trans-Atlantic relations aren’t really that bad, I don’t think. But I think people are waiting, you know, as indeed, Americans are. And I think 2009 will be a, you know, potentially quite an interesting year in terms of whether you can seek new directions in Western foreign policy in general.
Recorded on 5/19/08
Lawrence Freedman on the state of geo-politics.
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