In modern history Cold War is defined as a period of conflict and tension between two great countries ”“ the USA and the USSR – after the end of WWII and till middle 1990s. John Gaddis, a prominent Cold War historian who is famous for his new view on the roots and origins of this war, believes that war had not only negative consequences for the countries-participants. Earlier, most historians explained Cold War as the Soviet Union and Stalin’s desire to dominate Europe. Later, in the 1950s the representatives of a revisionist school made an assumption that the war was in America’s favor because of its great economic growth and the Soviet Union only reacted accordingly. Gaddis, in his turn in his book The United States and the Origins of the Cold War written in 1972 states that this war is a natural course of events: America and the Soviet Union were two superpowers of that time and their interests were so conflicting that the only possible way out was the Cold War.
In reality cold war became beneficial for both countries which participated in this conflict. The war was prolonged due to nuclear weapons and that there are certain prominent individuals, so called “saboteurs of the status quo”ť, who changed the course of the war. One of such persons is Ronald Reagan who used to find the Union’s weak points and used this knowledge. He built an antimissile shield knowing that Moscow was not able to match it. Reagan preferred a role of a passive observer, rather than active participant of the war. He was sure that civilization itself would always find the way out.
Simon Serfaty is a respectable scholar and a professor of foreign policy at the university in Virginia. In his most famous book he also analyzes origins and consequences of the Cold War. Reagan, as well as later H.W. Bush, aimed all their efforts against Soviet communism. Reagan’s strategy was very easy: “We win and they lose.”ť Bush followed Reagan’s strategy. Serfaty also claims that this Bush’s policy originates from Reagan’s doctrines during the Cold War.
As we can see, Reagan and Bush used to have one aim but they were reaching this aim in different ways. They oriented on short-term results of their policies, while their predecessors, for example Washington, Lincoln or Kennedy, cared more about long-term consequences of their actions.
The period after the cold war is characterized by the decline of tension between two major political opponents, such as the USSR and the USA. After the break of the Soviet Union, the United States of America became the only dominant political power in the world.
There are several features which distinguish post cold war era. International policy of this time is marked by the tendency to globalization, liberalism and internationalism.Â Globalization has naturally resulted in economic, social and religious integration. From the one side, this period is characterized by the end of withstanding between two powerful states. From the other side, the end of cold war did not result in the growth of stability in the world.
From the first sight the collapse of the Soviet Union is regarded as absolutely positive phenomenon, which had only positive impact on the political situation in the world. At the second notice we can see that it had negative effects as well. There are many conflicts, which take place in former Soviet Union republics. War in Chechnya, conflicts in the Caucasus and Tajikistan break the peace of the world. Russian interference in the Baltic republics also had negative impact on the stability of the world politics.
The right of citizens became greatly expanded after the war. Speaking about American military strategy we should also consider Geneva Convention, which provides a tolerant attitude to prisoners of war. Geneva Convention gives us basic information about prisoners of war and their rights. What is especially important this convention states that tortures and repressive actions towards prisons of war are illegal and will be punished. This convention was signed out by the most civilized counties, which proclaimed the adherence to the ideals of humanism and democracy.
At positive changes after the period of cold war are combined with the new problems and crises. Economical, political and social instability creates a lot of problems in the modern world.Â The number of small conflicts did not decrease. Instead of the withstanding of two major political systems, peculiar to the period of cold war we now face great number of smaller conflicts, which are, nevertheless, are also very exhausting for all countries-participants.
“When we count the significant conflicts and crises of the 1990s and compare them to those of the 1980s, however, we don’t find the stunning increase some analysts do.Â In the 1980s, we see one system-threatening conflict, and in the 1990s we see two (Desert Storm, the Congo War””the latter a stretch). In the 1980s, we count 6 significant state-based conflicts and 24 internal conflicts, compared to 7 and 28, respectively, in the 1990s”ť (Barnett, Gaffney, 2001, p. 35).The problem of refuges and other people, who suffer because of war and conflicts, is not resolved nowadays.
The number of people, who become the victims of armed conflicts and different wars even, grew in the comparison to the period of cold war.
At the same time globalization also creates economical threat to the number of countries. For the rich countries it becomes profitable and strengthens the economical systems of these countries brining them additional profit. At the same time for the small countries globalization becomes a threat as it destructs their economical system, social structure and cultural prophesy. Globalization is not a remote phenomenon, which influences only world economy.
It touches intimate, individual spheres of life of many people all over the world. Changing of social norms, historical traditions and cultural values are very often conditioned by the necessity to meet the needs of globalization.
Globalization is a complex phenomenon, which consists of several processes. Contradictory driving forces direct the processes conditioned by globalization. For example, the decrease of the power of nations and moving the accent to global area has shadow effect. The decrease of the potency of major dominating nations has provoked the increase of the national identity of national minorities, such as Scots in the UK or separatists in Quebec (Watson, 2002). There are a lot of other contradictions caused by globalization and the temps of growths and development are so high that it’s often hard to predict all possible consequences. “What political-military analysts should recognize in globalization is a remaking of the international economic order that rewards the most fit and devastates the least ready””in the same society.Â In advanced countries, the resulting conflict will be mostly political, but in some developing societies, these horizontal tensions will turn bloody in scattered instances.”ť (Barnett, Gaffney, 2001, p.32).
So, the changes of post cold war era have both, positive and negative impact on the world politics and economy.
Despite major political, social and economic changes, which took place during the period of post cold war, there are many negative effects of it. Lack of stability in the world politics, negative effects of globalization and growing number of conflicts are only some negative effects of the major world transformations.
So, cold war despite long withstanding of two the most powerful states of the world, also had positive consequences for these countries. Both, the USA and USSR were military oriented counties and after the end of WWII they found themselves lost because their entire economic and military systems were oriented for fighting. After the end of the WWII both, the USSR and the USA needed new goals and ideals in order to develop and grow and cold war became that stimuli which let both countries continue development of military sphere. Both countries used the threat of cold war and nuclear weapon in order to make people eagerly pay taxes for the development of military sphere. In addition cold war let to the major technologic advancements in both countries. Since cold war assumed not only competition in military powers both counties did their best in order to introduce the best technological advances in many sphere in order to prove their superiority. These advances became later widespread in the rest of the world and some of them are used till present day.