International System During the Cold War Era

The basic characteristic of the international system during the Cold War era is its duo- polarity nature. This was a period characterized by war of ideologies between the greatest and the two most powerful nations on earth by then; the United States and the united Soviet Socialist republic (USSR).

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The aftermath of the Second World War had witnessed the emergence of the U.S and the USSR as the two most influential nations, seeking to exert their influence across borders. Although these nations did not come to a direct confrontation, the wave of proxy wars that emerged left misery and strives in their wake, especially in the third world countries.

A look at the heart of the cold war reveals a period of intense rivalry and competition that could have driven the world to the brink of extinction. Both the United States and USSR possessed nuclear weapons, and hence in their possession was what came to be referred to as the Second Strike Capability; this is the ability to annihilate the enemy even after having sustained an enemy strike. The major issues then revolved around political and economic ideologies.

Both there nations were seeking to emerge as the dominant force, which the united states did in the early 1990s, the transition and the evolution of this state in the international system was driven by the collapse of the soviet bloc which was fast crumbling under economic and political strains. So much money had been used up in building arsenal and sustaining regimes abroad at the expense of growth and development at hone. The collapse took place under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbarchev who admitted that the bloc could no longer hold and the country would take the narrow route towards democratization. In one blow and in the country’s own undoing, the world system had reverted back to unipolarity with the United States at the helm (Lawrence Robert Klein, Fu-Chen lo, War wick J. Mckibbin, 16).

The cold war era and also the post cold war period had been influenced by a number of political events as well as key figures including writers. Writers such as Henry A. Kissinger and Richard helms, who conveniently were at the core of the then most important agency in the United States foreign policies; CIA. These writers have written about the United States policies in the post world war two period. Norman D. palmer and Howard C. Perkins have also written about the cold war era and transitionary period. Realism and liberalism also emerged as two major concepts defining the international system (Gregory D. Cleva, 47).

The post cold war era also brought in a new school of thought in international relations, strictly focusing on the waning role of the state as the major actor in the international system and the rise of non state actors. Non-states actors focused on are the powerful multinationals and non-governmental organizations. A study of the cold war era reveals interesting phenomena of interplay between politics and economics. Major non-state actors had emerged as powerful players in international economic system. The prior held assumptions of impermeability of states and the non-porous nature of the state territories were fast losing grip. With the communication era creeping in, the supremacy of states in the international scene, non-state actors such as NATO and the U.N were finding their ground in for example matters of security and conflict resolution.

Major issues in both cold war and transitionary period revolve around security and power arrangement in the international system.

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Globalization is also a key issue in this period as mostly as it strengthened the rise of new international actors and the waning role of states at the international system.

Works Cited

Lawrence Robert Klein, Fu-Chen lo, War wick J. Mckibbin arms reduction: economic implication in the post cold war era. United nations university press; 1995; 16.

Gregory D. Cleva. Henry Kissinger and the American Approach to foreign policy. Bucknell university press. 1989: 49-62.

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