Dangerous Peace: New Rivalry in World Politics

By Alpo M. Rusi | Go to book overview

2 Collapsing Bipolarity

"The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 can be taken as the symbolic end of an era in world affairs in which major events fell under the ominous shadow of the Cold War, with its constant threat of nuclear annihilation. That conventional picture is certainly not false, but it is nevertheless partial and misleading. By uncritically adopting it, we seriously misunderstand the recent past, and are not well-situated to comprehend what lies ahead."

-- Noam Chomsky

"The new world order has to find institutions and mechanisms similar to what the creators of the post-World War II international order founded in the period from 1945 to 1950. The possibilities for creativity are greater than they were then, though the beginnings of the solutions are not yet as obvious."

-- Henry A. Kissinger1


The End of the Cold War

"This is just the end of the beginning."

-- Winston Churchill

The end of the Cold War has been usually related to the end of the division of Germany in 1989-90. Furthermore, it is widely agreed that this period of the post-Cold War "New World Order" was over by the middle of the 1990s. At this juncture, it became obvious to the "winners" of the Cold War how difficult it was to manage this new order. In his 1992 book The United States and the End of the Cold War, the eminent diplomatic historian John Lewis Gaddis posited that the trouble with victory is that it tends to produce power imbalances. The peace settlements of 1815 and 1945 were expressly designed to reincorporate the defeated powers back into the international system as quickly as possible after a

-11-

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