Causes of War: an Analysis of the Cold War Its Causes and Consequences

Topics: Cold War, World War II, Soviet Union Pages: 9 (3479 words) Published: December 9, 2010

Just like politics war is as old as humanity itself. This paper seeks to give an in depth analysis the cold war in terms of its causes and consequences both to the key protagonists and to the allied states. In order to understand what war entails it will be imperative that we look at the various definitions of war that have been advanced over time and relate the same to the current prevailing circumstances. The writer also aims to establish whether the justifications of the cold would stand the test of time today in a world that is sophisticated in terms of technology and intellectual capability of each state. In this the writer seeks to delve into the theories of war and try to align the same with the causes of the cold war to see if there was any justification at all if any for the cold war. In conclusion the writer seeks to give recommendations on accepted modes of dispute resolution as well answer the question on whether the cold war is in existence today.


There is no universally accepted definition of war as it remains a fluid concept. This is due to the competing theoretical assumptions that underwrite data collections and establish their selection criteria. The definitions differ depending on various factors such as the actors, the actions that amount to war and the causes precipitating the armed violence. Clausewitz states that war is the continuation of political intercourse with addition of other means[1]. He goes on to state that war is a tool that is used to impose ones will on the adversary and to compel the adversary to submit.

Quincy Wright regards war as a conflict among political groups especially sovereign states, carried on by armed forces of considerable magnitude for a considerable period of time[2]. That it is a form of conflict in which violence is both central and enduring and to which the political goal(s) are evident and in which states are likely to be involved in some capacity though not exclusively or even centrally. A conflict on the other hand is an incompatibility of goals or values between two or more parties in a relationship, combined with attempts to control each other[3]. The difference between a conflict and war is that the later has a threshold of at least 1000 deaths[4]. The above definitions give us war in its aggressive nature but as we shall see later in this paper acts of war may also involve the application of other coercive strategies such as economic sanctions and psychological pressure as was the case in the cold war. The slogan in a situation of war is that enemies are neither treated as people to love nor as human beings with rights to respect but as things. Suffering, death and destruction are inflicted in order to attain political objectives[5]. A war preparation relies on social, economic, political and ideological mobilizations of society in which moral values, emotional appeals and behavioral expectations are manipulated to shape mass attitudes and policy towards war.

There are various types of war that have been experienced over time but for the purpose of this paper we shall restrict ourselves to the ideological type. The cold war was mainly a war of the mind based on mutual hostility and fears of the protagonists wedged on ideological intensity. It was about power beyond the borders of the protagonists. At no point did it get physical between the United States and the Soviet Union instead it was fought by proxy and by the allied states. The other types of war are derived from their intensity, the parties involved and the affected places as well the reasons for the war. The other types of war if I may mention a few are Small scale wars[6] which are fought to achieve limited goals and upon achievement it ends characterized by the utilization of lightly destructive weapons. When Ethiopia invaded Somali in 2007 to secure her territory the war ended upon Ethiopia’s acquisition of the same. A Total war is characterized by...
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