Ladies and gentlemen (etc),
The momentous watershed of the contemporary age has been the end of the Cold War. The winding down of this great confrontation brought a sense of optimism with it. The “end of history,” Francis Fukuyama told us, meant that there would be no more all-encompassing ideologically charged encounters of this kind in times to come. An even greater sense of relief came from our sense of having evaded another kind of “end of history” – that which might have been wrought by global nuclear war.