Post-Cold War International Relations: Trends and Portents

By Shuja, Sharif M. | Contemporary Review, February 2001 | Go to article overview

Post-Cold War International Relations: Trends and Portents


Shuja, Sharif M., Contemporary Review


Two world wars and the establishment of totalitarian tyrannies have shaken our faith in progress; technological civilization has shown that it possesses immense powers of destruction, for the natural world as well as for the cultural and spiritual environment. The civilization of abundance is also that of famines in Africa and other places. The collapse of totalitarian communism has left intact the evils of the democratic liberal societies, ruled by the demon of money. As the scramble for global wealth unfolds, international banks, transnational corporations are anxious to play a direct role in shaping financial structures and policing economic reforms.

One can find modem societies repellent on two accounts. On the one hand, they have taken the human race and turned it into a homogeneous mass: modern humans seem to have all come out of a factory, not a womb. On the other hand, they have made every one of those beings a hermit. Capitalist democracies have created uniformity, not equality, and they have replaced fraternity with a perpetual struggle among individuals. The collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War have brought neither economic stability nor social democracy to the world. Instead of 'a New World Order', based on democracy, open markets, law and a commitment to peace, we witness a geopolitical disorder.

On the positive side, it has paved the way for the universal aspiration for democracy as the only form of acceptable government because of its vital self-correcting capacity. It is said that we now live in one world, often called a global village. It can be argued that in many ways, particularly in terms of instant communications, of economic value, of a desire to avoid war, of a functional integration, of disease control, monetary and trade policies and so on, we are more of an integrated global community than ever before.

The dynamic transfer of people, information, capital and goods is progressing on a worldwide scale. Globalisation and an expansion of information technology have given rise to a new wave of changes in international relations. In this global era, people from numerous countries and civilizations will be blessed with the opportunity to work together.

While discovering in the next section the general trends in post-Cold War international relations, this article does not deal with how to learn the tricks of international relations. It is rather a reflection on some pretty powerful underlying forces which govern our lives unless we understand and take control of them.

Trends in Post-Cold War International Relations

These general trends can be identified in post-Cold War international relations.

First, on the security front, we have observed the decline in the salience of strategic nuclear weapons. The world is in transition from nuclear to conventional deterrence at the central (global) level. In the Cold War era, the strategic pillar of mutual assured destruction (MAD) made conquest difficult and expansion futile by either camp. The futility of expansion accounted for robust deterrence. Moreover, nuclear deterrence was robust for at least two other reasons: (1) due to the futility of 'overkill', it was possible for the superpowers to reach a weapons parity, and thus equilibrium, bringing stability to the system; and (2) ever fearful of the massive destructive might of nuclear weapons, each superpower had a powerful incentive to constrain its followers, lest a reserve proxy war break out unwittingly.

Thus, on the security front, we recognize that there is a growing trend toward depolarization, with the United States as the sole superpower. With the danger of thermonuclear warfare greatly diminished, the world has become more peaceful. But at the same time, the revival of nationalism, fundamentalism and ethnonationalist disputes in some part of the world has become a threat to international peace and the integrity of nations.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Post-Cold War International Relations: Trends and Portents
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.