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The End of the Cold War

The End of the Cold War

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The End of the Cold War

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  1. The End of the Cold War

  2. The 3 main dimensions of the Cold War: • Ideological • Communism vs. capitalism, revolutionary processes • Geopolitical • The Soviet Union’s emergence after WWII as the strongest power in Eurasia • Military • The arms race What changed by the 1980s:

  3. IDEOLOGY • Capitalism boomed • The information revolution • Globalization • New dynamism of the market system • Decline of the Global Left • Deepening crisis of state socialism: growing attractiveness of liberal ideas (markets and democracy) • Western social democracy successful and stalled • The end of decolonization • The rise of the New Right; Thatcher and Reagan • Free markets as the universal solution • Militant anticommunism • Global counteroffensive against the Left • The rise of ethnic and religious nationalism

  4. GEOPOLITICS • The Soviet Union’s global influence was declining • China shifted to a semi-alliance with the US • Western Europe was booming, confident, integrating • In the Middle East, the US worked both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict; the USSR was marginalized • In the Third World, USSR was losing allies, becoming irrelevant • Afghanistan became the turning point in Soviet fortunes in the Third World

  5. THE ARMS RACE • The economic burden: the Soviet economy increasingly unable to bear it • Political futility of the arms race: • Do arms buy security? • Is major war thinkable? • Nuclear weapons as a global threat • The momentum of arms control: mutual vulnerability and mutual interest in survival • The rise of new antimilitarism

  6. By the mid-1980s, political conditions in the Soviet Union matured enough to produce a major shift in favour of all-round systemic reforms. GORBACHEV • To enable the Soviet system to adapt to new world realities through political and economic reforms, the Soviet Union needed to get out of the Cold War • “New Thinking” in foreign policy was closely integrated with the policies of “perestroika” (restructuring) of the entire Soviet system – a revolution from above