The World System: Before and After Cold War

Topics: Cold War, World War II, United States Pages: 5 (1470 words) Published: September 29, 2008
The World System: Before and After Cold War

Introduction to Cold War
The Cold War was the period of conflict, tension and competition between the United States (capitalism) and the Soviet Union (socialism) and their respective allies from the mid-1940s until the early 1990s. This based on ideological conflict and a balance of terror. Throughout the period, the rivalry between the two superpowers was played out in multiple arenas: military coalitions; ideology, psychology, and espionage; sports; military, industrial, and technological developments, including the space race; costly defense spending; a massive conventional and nuclear arms race; and many proxy wars. Since direct military attacks on adversaries were deterred by the potential for mutual assured destruction using nuclear weapons. In deed, there was never a direct military engagement between two superpowers, but half a century of military buildup as well as political battles for support around the world. The Cold War spread outside Europe to every region of the world. Repeated crises threatened to escalate into world wars but never did. .The Cold War drew to a close in the late 1980s following Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev's summit conferences with United States President Ronald Reagan, as well as Gorbachev's launching of reform programs: perestroika and glasnost.

Cold War: The Aftermath
Afterward, Russia cut military spending dramatically and left millions of unemployment. Russian living standards have worsened overall in the post-Cold War years. Some of the economic and social tensions that underpinned Cold War competition in parts of the Third World remain acute. The breakdown of state control in a number of areas formerly ruled by Communist governments has produced new civil and ethnic conflicts. That accompanied by a large growth in the number of liberal democracies. However, in areas where the two superpowers had been waging proxy wars, and subsidizing local conflicts, many conflicts ended with the Cold War.

The New Hope?
The end of super-power rivalry opened up the possibility of a “liberal peace”, founded on a common recognition of international; For alternative interpretation, the collapse of the external threat helped to unleash centrifugal pressures, which usually took the form of ethnic, racial and regional conflicts. Other commentators sounded warnings about the implications of a uni-polar system creates conditions of unchecked power and, arguably, inherent instability. This was seen in the unilateralist tendency of US foreign policy, evidenced by the decision to withdraw from a range of international treaties. However the events of 11 September 2001 as it quickly became known significantly altered the direction of US foreign policy and with the balance of world order.

The 911
The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by al-Qaeda upon the United States. Nineteen terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners and intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City, resulting in the collapse of both buildings and extensive damage to nearby buildings. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, near Washington, D.C. The fourth aircraft crashed into a field near the town of Shanksville in rural Somerset County, Pennsylvania. For many, 9/11 was a defining moment in world history, the point at which the true nature of the post- Cold-War ear was revealed and the beginning of a period of unprecedented global strife and instability.

21st century world order
A Varity of theories have been advanced to explain the advent of global terrorism and the nature of the ‘war on terror’. Huntington (1996) argued that 21st century conflict would be between nations and groups from ‘different civilization’. Hungtington argued that the major civilizations would become, in reaction to globalization, the principal actors in...
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