Oceans Governance and Maritime Strategy

By David Wilson; Dick Sherwood | Go to book overview

3
Seapower and security at
the close of the twentieth
century
Choon Kun Lee

The end of the Cold War, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union and other socialist states, at the end of the eighth decade of the twentieth century has had a profound impact on the global security environment. The beginning of the twentieth century had been greeted with optimistic feelings for international peace. Yet many of the youth of that time subsequently had to fight two world wars. With these so-called two real ‘world’ wars, the first half of the twentieth century became one of the bloodiest periods in human history.

The end of World War Two (WWII) then produced a rather strange period in world history. From WWII emerged only two powers that could be regarded as great powers, and people usually regarded these two powers as superpowers. However, the ‘superpower’ of the US and of the Soviet Union could not be used to fight a war, as a full-scale war between the two would have surely meant the end of civilisation.

Fortunately for the Western alliance, and unfortunately for the socialists of the world, the socialist bloc led by the Soviet Union has torn itself down. The world again looks forward to seeing a peaceful future international scene just as it did 100 years ago. There is a belief that the reduction of ideological and military tensions at the global level will automatically bring peace to the world. In many respects, the end of the Cold War has definitely promoted the welcome trend of a shift from confrontation to reconciliation and dialogue among Cold War adversaries. The world is experiencing real arms reductions and arms control, and

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