The fall of the Iron Curtain resulted in a split view on how the future of the world would look. While the majority opinion was positive about what would be, the classical realists were more negative. John Mearsheimer’s prophesy that “the demise of the Cold War order is likely to increase the chances that war and major crises will occur in Europe. Many observers now suggest that a new age of peace is dawning; in fact the opposite is true” (Mearsheimer, 1990, p.52), has been proven false, and this has raised questions about the credibility of classical realism. The truth is that both Europe and East Asia are calm, with a high level of cooperation and economic interdependency. The world’s third and fifth largest economies (Japan and Germany) have, contrary to realist thinking, neither economically or militaristically challenged USA’s hegemony. However, both Japan and Germany have the economic capability to become more independent, not only to distance themselves from U.S. influence but also to oppose it by creating their own islands of symbiosis. From where does this repulsion of resistance towards the world hegemon come? I will in this essay show how political cultures may affect foreign and defense policies in western democracies.
Germany and Japan are prototypes of how states that have extremely violent histories may become successful civilian powers. This transformation includes: securing national goals by focusing on nonmilitary, mainly economical, ways; acquiring a great amount of cooperation with other states; developing supranational structures in order to address important common issues. The movement towards civilian powers was encouraged mainly by the U.S. in order to prevent future conflicts with Germany and Japan, when both states became important allies against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The creation of NATO is a good example of... [continues]
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