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The End of the Cold War. 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:. IDEOLOGY

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slide2
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:

slide3
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
slide4
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
slide5
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
slide6
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