Terrorism and Peacekeeping: New Security Challenges

By Volker C. Franke | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Introduction

VOLKER C. FRANKE

In the fall of 1989, people all over the world celebrated the fall of the Berlin Wall and rejoiced over the newfound freedom of people all over Eastern Europe. It seemed to many as if the world had changed overnight. The historian John Lewis Gaddis, for instance, commented that the end of the Cold War was an earthquake-like event that “revealed deep and hitherto hidden sources of geopolitical strain.”1 Indeed, the collapse of the Soviet Union seemed to ring in a new era promising peace, cooperation, and prosperity. President George H. W. Bush, in an address to the United Nations General Assembly in October 1990, went so far as to predict “a very real prospect of a new world order.” The United Nations, freed from the Cold War stalemate, he argued, was finally in a position to fulfill “the historic vision of its founders”2 and “unite [its] strength to maintain international peace and security.”3

But these exciting opportunities came at a price. Although the end of the Cold War has removed the threat of global thermonuclear holocaust, it has not left a world without dangers. In the last decade, we stood witness to natural disasters and famine, ethnic strife, civil wars, genocide, mass migration and floods of refugees, the spread of infectious diseases, and the proliferation of varying kinds of weapons of mass destruction. In addition, the nature of war itself is changing. Throughout the Cold War, much of America’s national defense rested on the assumption that enemies would not attack the United States for fear of an overwhelming retaliatory response. Regrettably, asymmetric warfare and terrorism have now become prevalent threats to U.S. national security, as evidenced by the attacks against U.S. military installations in Saudi Arabia in the mid1990s, the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, the attack

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