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Harriman Institute




Book Talk. Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate by M.E. Sarotte
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Please join the Harriman Institute for a presentation by M.E. Sarotte, author of Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate (Yale University Press, 2021). Moderated by Timothy Frye (Harriman Institute).

Not one inch. With these words, Secretary of State James Baker proposed a hypothetical bargain to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev after the fall of the Berlin Wall: if you give up your part of Germany, we will move NATO not one inch eastward. Controversy erupted almost immediately over this 1990 exchange—but more important was the decade to come, when the words took on new meaning. Gorbachev let his Germany go, but Washington rethought the bargain, not least after the Soviet Union’s own collapse in December 1991. Washington realized it could not just win big but win bigger. Their new approach: Not one inch of territory needed to be off limits to NATO.

On the thirtieth anniversary of the Soviet collapse, Not One Inch: America, Russia, and the Making of Post-Cold War Stalemate uses new evidence and interviews to show how, in the decade that culminated in Vladimir Putin’s rise to power, the United States and Russia undermined a potentially lasting partnership. Prize-winning historian M. E. Sarotte shows what went wrong.

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M.E. Sarotte’s books include The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall, listed as a Best Book of 2014 by The Economist and the Financial Times, and 1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War Europe, a Financial Times Best Book of 2009. A former member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, she is the Kravis Professor at Johns Hopkins University, a researcher at Harvard’s Center for European Studies, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She earned her AB at Harvard and her PhD in History at Yale.