From Afghanistan to Ukraine: the crisis of the American empire

Two world shattering events – one in Afghanistan and the other in Ukraine – appear to have laid waste to the once influential idea that the 21st century would be every bit as ‘American’ as the last one. But is what some call the American empire really facing an agonizing reappraisal? What are the sources of what some claim is its long-term decline? And what does all this mean for world order?



This webinar was held on Monday 11 April 2022.

Meet the speakers and chair

Michael Cox was a Founding Director of LSE IDEAS. He is an Emeritus Professor of International Relations at LSE. He is an associate Fellow in the US and Americas Programme at Chatham House where he established their original United States Discussion Group, is a member of the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History in New York, and writes regularly for the US-based H-Diplo network. His latest book is Agonies of Empire: American Power from Clinton to Biden. Other recent books include The Post-Cold War World (2018), a new edition of J. M. Keynes’s The Economic Consequences of the Peace (2019), and a new volume of E.H. Carr’s Nationalism and After (2021).

Margaret MacMillan is Engelsberg Chair at LSE IDEAS for 2021/22. Margaret MacMillan is Emeritus Professor of International History at the University of Oxford and former Warden of St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She specializes in the history of the British Empire and the international history of the 19th and 20th centuries. Her book Peacemakers: The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War won the Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2021, Margaret won the Pritzker Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. Her most recent book is War: How Conflict Shaped Us, looking at the ways in which war has influenced human society and how, in turn, changes in political organization, technology, or ideologies have affected how and why we fight.

Gideon Rachman is chief foreign affairs commentator for the Financial Times. He writes a weekly column for the FT and hosts an international-affairs podcast. His main interests include geopolitics in Asia, US foreign policy and the future of the EU. Rachman won the Orwell Prize for journalism (2016) and was also named commentator of the year in the European Press Prize awards in 2016. He has written three books on international politics – Zero-Sum World (2011), Easternisation (2016) and Age of the Strongman(2021). He is also a regular public speaker, appearing before both academic and business audiences.

Christopher Coker is Director of LSE IDEAS, LSE's foreign policy think tank. He was Professor of International Relations at LSE, retiring in 2019. He is a former twice serving member of the Council of the Royal United Services Institute, a former NATO Fellow and a regular lecturer at Defence Colleges in the UK, US. Rome, Singapore, and Tokyo. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the National Institute for Defence Studies In Tokyo, the Rajaratnam School for International Studies Singapore, the Political Science Dept in Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok and the Norwegian and Swedish Defence Colleges. His most recent book is Why War? (2020).