Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. East Germany was also controlled by the Soviet Union. Stalin had promised to allow free elections in these countries, but he broke this promise. In addition to his failure to hold free elections, Stalin also cut off communication, trade, and travel between these satellite countries and other western countries.

During this time period, the term Iron Curtain was coined by Winston Churchill. Churchill said that an Iron Curtain of dictatorship had descended on Eastern Europe. Many world leaders were concerned about the Soviet dictatorship that had arisen.

President Truman decided to enact a policy of containment regarding communism. In other words, Truman wanted to prevent communism from spreading. He wanted to prevent the spread of communism without using military force. George Marshall, the US Secretary of State came up with a plan. It was called the Marshall Plan. This plan called for the United States to provide billions of dollars in aid to European countries in order to speed the recovery of countries that suffered losses during World War II.

Truman felt that an economic recovery in Europe would enable Europeans to have the strength to resist communism and the energy to maintain democratic governments. There was much distrust and rivalry between communist countries and democratic countries after World War II. This led to the era known as the Cold War.



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It was just past midnight inside a secret bunker south of Moscow when the alarm went off. The bunker was the control centre for a fleet of early warning satellites orbiting the United States.

A signal from one of the satellites indicated that Russia was under missile attack from the continental United States. Soon the electronic screens indicated five intercontinental ballistic missiles in the atmosphere rocketing their way to the Russian heartland.

With only minutes to make a retaliatory strike, the lieutenant colonel in charge made a gut-level decision. He decided the early-warning signals were false and that no surprise American missile attack was underway.

Fortunately, for millions of people living in the United States, Russia and surrounding countries, he made the correct decision.This incident is not fictional. It happened on the 26th of September 1983 at the height of a particularly tense period in US-Soviet relations, just weeks after the downing of a Korean Air Lines passenger jet by the Soviet Air Force.

A subsequent investigation revealed that one of the Soviet satellites had mistaken the sun.s reflection off the top of some clouds for hostile missile launches.

The officer who made the gut-level decision was initially praised, then investigated for not following procedure, and finally allowed to continue working without recognition or reward until his retirement. He now lives, like most Russian pensioners, on meager and erratic payments from a once modern state that it is now mired in poverty, corruption and decay.


cold war propaganda


Heightened suspicion, fear, and uncertainty characterized the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States beginning around 1945 and increasing through 1963. There is considerable disagreement about a precise beginning of the Cold War. Some historians take the position that the Cold War began when the U.S. ended its Lend-Lease program with the Soviets during the war. Others trace its beginning to President Roosevelt’s decision to delay the opening of a second front against Nazi Germany to relieve some of the pressure the Red Army was dealing with before D-Day.

The exact date may be in dispute, but it is safe to say that before 1945, relations between America and Russia had been unfavourable even though they were allies in both WWI and WWII. The United States had strained relations and a certain amount of apprehension about the Soviets since the Bolshevik Revolution in October 1917.

Free markets and the private ownership of assets are fundamental principles in American society. The desire of the Soviets to export communism, which called for state-run markets and the dissolution of private property, gave Americans reason to bemoan the existence of this ideology and fear the consequences of its aggressive expansion.

Following WWII, these incompatible ideologies would compete militarily as well as philosophically in a worldwide struggle for the hearts and minds of people in developing countries. The superpowers would engage in overt and covert actions that had both intended and unintended consequences for the superpowers themselves and for the rest of the world. President Truman shaped the future by setting precedents and establishing doctrines that would have far reaching implications for a new world order that was complex, threatening, and costly.


cold war Radiation propaganda


No single operation more typifies Berlin's importance as a strategic intelligence base then the construction of the Berlin Tunnel. Probably one of the most ambitious operations undertaken by the CIA in the 1950s, it succeeded despite the fact that the KGB knew about the operation even before construction of the tunnel had began! The genesis of the tunnel operation lay in Berlin's location in Europe and its pre-war status as the capital of a militarily and economically dominant Germany.

The largest city on the Continent, Berlin lay at the center of a vast network of transportation and communications lines that extended from Western France to deep into Soviet Russia and Eastern Europe. This was still true in the 1950s; Soviet telephone and telegraph communications between Moscow, Warsaw, and Bucharest were routed through Berlin, for example.1 This became a factor of crucial importance beginning in 1951, when the Soviets began to shift from wireless communications to encrypted land lines for almost all military traffic.2 Land lines existed in two forms: overhead lines strung from telephone poles and underground cables

Both carried encrypted messages as well as non-secure voice communications. CIA officers examining this situation in 1952 concluded that underground cables offered the more valuable target, since they were buried and hence not subject to constant visual surveillance.

If a tap could be placed covertly, it would be likely to remain in place for some time. Thus was born the idea of tunneling into the Soviet sector of Berlin to tap into Soviet military communications. The concept was tested in the spring of 1953, when an agent in the East Berlin telephone exchange patched an East Berlin telephone line into West Berlin late one night to sample what might be obtained. Even after midnight the communications traffic was sufficiently valuable that CIA Headquarters decided to go ahead with the operation.


Cold war poster


During 1953, CIA continued to gather data and test the idea of tapping communications in East Berlin. By August 1953, detailed plans for the tunnel were completed and a proposal was drawn up for approval by DCI Allen Dulles. After much discussion, this was obtained on 20 January 1954. Having learned the location of the underground cables used by the Soviets from an agent inside the East Berlin post office, the Altglienicke district was selected as the best site for a cable tap.5 Work began in February 1954, using the construction of an Air Force radar site and warehouse as a cover.

The tunnel itself was completed a year later, at the end of February 1955, and the taps were in place and operating shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the whole operation was blown even before the DCI approved the project. On 22 October 1953, US intelligence officers briefed a British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) audience that included KGB mole George Blake. Blake reported the existence of the tunnel project during his next meeting with his case officer, Sergei Kondrashev, in London the following December. However, a full report was not sent to Moscow until 12 February 1954.

Although the KGB was aware of the potential importance of the tap, its first priority was to protect Blake. Knowledge of the tunnel's existence was very closely held within the KGB--neither the GRU (Soviet military intelligence) nor the East German Stasi was informed. Rather than immediately shutting down the tunnel, the Soviets thus implemented a general tightening up of security procedures.

A small team was formed to secretly locate the tap, which they did by late 1955. Early in 1956 the Soviets developed a plan whereby the tap would be "accidentally" discovered without putting Blake at risk. On the night of 21-22 April 1956, a special signal corps team began to dig. By 0200 they had discovered the tap chamber. At 1230 the following day they opened a trapdoor leading from the tap chamber down a vertical shaft to the tunnel. By 1420 they had penetrated the tunnel in the full glare of a well-organized publicity coup.



At first, the post-Cold War era was perceived by many as a chance to dissolve or transform the military alliances representing the East-West Blocs, namely the Warsaw Pact and NATO. Certainly the Warsaw Pact disintegrated. But instead of NATO also giving way to an alternative structure for European or North Atlantic security, the Alliance sought to reconfigure its role and function. Retention of NATO as a nuclear or military alliance was not inevitable and may prove to be a costly mistake.

The former Eastern Bloc states wanted acceptance into Europe and identification with the West primarily for the economic benefits, to help stabilize their fledgling democracies and to distance themselves from Russia. For many, joining the European Union was more attractive than NATO, which they hoped would be replaced by a new pan-European security architecture.

Poland and the Czech Republic led the push to expand NATO only after the dithering of the European Union and the under-resourcing and marginalization of the OSCE.s forerunner, the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, made clear that alternatives were not on offer.


Stalin's body lies in state


After Stalin died, a new, more moderate group of Soviet leaders came to power. These new leaders allowed their satellite countries a taste of independence, as long as they remained firmly Communist and allied with the Soviet Union. During the 1950s and 1960s, however, growing protest movements in Eastern Europe threatened the Soviet Union’s grip over the region.

Increasing tensions with Communist China also diverted Soviet attention and forces. Joseph Stalin died on March 5, 1953. Shortly after his death, a loyal member of the Communist party named Nikita Khrushchev became the dominant Soviet leader.

The shrewd, tough Khrushchev publicly denounced Stalin for jailing and killing loyal Soviet citizens. His speech signaled the beginning of a policy called destalinization, or purging the country of Stalin’s memory. Workers destroyed monuments of the former dictator and reburied his body outside the Kremlin wall. Khrushchev also called for “peaceful competition” with the capitalist states.

This new Soviet outlook did not change life in the satellite countries, however. Their resentment occasionally example, the Hungarian army joined with protesters to overthrow Hungary’s Soviet-controlled government. Storming through the capital, Budapest, angry mobs waved Hungarian flags with the Communist hammerand- sickle emblem cut out. “From the youngest child to the oldest man,” one protester declared, “no one wants communism.” A popular and liberal Hungarian Communist leader named Imre Nagy (IHM•ray nahj) formed a new government.

Nagy promised free elections and demanded that Soviet troops leave Hungary. In response, in early November, Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest. They were backed by infantry units. Thousands of Hungarian freedom fighters armed themselves with pistols and bottles. The Soviets overpowered them, however. The invaders replaced the Hungarian government with pro- Soviet leaders and eventually executed Nagy.


Berlin blockade


One of the earliest indicators that the once-WWII allies are now enemies was the Berlin blockade. After the war, Germany was divided into 4 zones, all occupied by former allies. Berlin was a shared zone. Stalin, hoping to annex Berlin under full Soviet control without initiating violence bluffed his former allies by enforcing a blockade. The Allies' reaction was the biggest airlift in history known as the "Berlin Airlift".

For eleven straight months, allied aircraft supplied the beleaguered population from the air, bluffing Stalin to shoot down the planes and cause a "hot" war. He never did and eventually gave up. While tension was high in Europe during the entire length of the Cold War, it has also produced an ironic twist. For more than 50 years of constant threat for a possible war, the continent of Europe also enjoyed the longest stretch of peace and stability. The Cold War, although more easily felt in Europe, permeated life throughout the world, affecting society and culture in general.

The Cold War existed between the 1940s to the 1990s. It was a conflict between the United States and the USSR together with their respective allies. The powers at war engaged in boosting their respective defense systems that led to massive spending of their national resources. The Cold War existed between the 1940s to the 1990s.

It was a conflict between the United States and the USSR together with their respective allies. The powers at war engaged in boosting their respective defense systems that led to massive spending of their national resources. The Cold War was firmly expressed through propaganda, military coalitions, weapons development, espionage, industrial advances as well as technological development. Such activities successfully heightened further competition and tension between the warring parties.

The cold war led to numerous proxy wars, and new developments in both nuclear and conventional arms. Hence, because of the Cold War, numerous countries in the world today possess nuclear weapons that pose a great threat to world existence.

The Cold War also led to significant effects in neighboring countries as well as those far away. Such international crises as the Korean War, the Berlin Blockade, the Vietnam War, the Berlin crisis, and Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 were a direct manifestation of the cold war. Quite a number of countries experienced massive losses in wealth and life at such times.

Yet another adverse effect of the war was the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 that widely drew fears of an impending Third World War. In addition, in November 1983, a ten-day NATO command exercise that spanned a major part of Western Europe simulated a time of conflict escalation, with heightened nuclear alerts, which finally culminated in a well-coordinated nuclear release.

At the end of the Cold War in the 1990s, several counties including the Soviet Union suffered monumental economic stagnation as a direct result of investment in the war. The effects of the war are far reaching and they contributed to the final collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, leaving the US as a sole superpower.


Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn


The Communist party strictly enforced laws to limit such basic human rights as freedom of speech and worship. Government censors carefully controlled what writers could publish. And Brezhnev clamped down on those who dared to protest his government’s policies.

For example, the secret police arrested many dissidents, including Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the 1970 Nobel Prize for literature. They then expelled him from the Soviet Union.

Brezhnev made it clear that he would not tolerate dissent in Eastern Europe either. His policy was put to the test in early 1968. At that time, Czech Communist leader Alexander Dubcek (DOOB•chehk) loosened controls on censorship to offer his country socialism with “a human face.”

This period of reform, when Czechoslovakia’s capital bloomed with new ideas, became known as Prague Spring. Prague Spring, however, did not survive the summer. On August 20, armed forces from the Warsaw Pact nations invaded Czechoslovakia.


President Harry S. Truman


In this tense international atmosphere, US President Harry S. Truman broke with the policy of his predecessor Franklin D. Roosevelt and redefined the country’s foreign policy guidelines. On 12 March 1947, in a speech to the US Congress, the President presented his doctrine of containment, which aimed to provide financial and military aid to the countries threatened by Soviet expansion.

Clearly aimed at stopping the spread of Communism, the Truman Doctrine positioned the United States as the defender of a free world in the face of Soviet aggression. An aid package of around 400 million dollars was granted to Greece and Turkey.

This new doctrine provided a legitimate basis for the United States’ activism during the Cold War. Applying the doctrine of containment, the Americans encouraged Turkey to resist Soviet claims to rights over naval bases in the Bosphorus. They also secured the withdrawal of Russian troops from Iran. In the meantime, since March 1947, efforts to crack down on Soviet espionage had been coordinated and the United States set up its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

These changes to external policy marked a real turnaround in the history of the United States, which had previously remained on the sidelines of European disputes. For the US, isolationism was no longer an option. 2. The Marshall Plan and the establishment of the OEEC At the same time, the US Secretary of State, George C. Marshall, was concerned at the economic difficulties in Europe.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, intra-European trade was hindered by a lack of foreign exchange and the absence of an international economic authority capable of effectively organising worldwide trade. The United States, whose interests lay in promoting such trade in order to increase its own exports, decided to help the European economy via a large-scale structural recovery programme.



Perhaps most important of all, if the Cold War had ended shortly after Stalin’s death, the United States almost certainly would have been spared its debacle in Vietnam, and the Soviet Union would likely have avoided its enervating war in Afghanistan. Many of the roughly 1 million Vietnamese and 1.5 million Afghans who died in these wars would have survived, and so would the 58,000 Americans and 14,450 Soviet soldiers.

Some 1.5 million Cambodians who were slaughtered by Pol Pot’s regime in 1977–1978, in the wake of the Vietnam War, would also have been spared.30 Similarly, if the Cold War had ended in 1953, a long series of civil wars in Africa and Central America from the 1960s through the 1980s that were fuelled by the Cold War—wars that cumulatively killed millions of people and destroyed large swaths of territory— would likely have been settled more easily and with far less bloodshed.

The major Arab-Israeli wars in 1967 and 1973, as well as lesser conflicts in the Middle East such as the Yemeni civil war in the 1960s, the War of Attrition in 1969–1970, and the Lebanese civil war in the mid-1970s, might have been averted or kept at lower levels of intensity if the Cold War had ended in 1953. The Soviet Union, as part of its Cold War rivalry with the United States, fueled these conflicts by transferring vast quantities of weapons and providing direct military support to the Arab states opposing Israel.


Iron Curtain


In the era after World War II, the Soviets occupied most of Eastern Europe. They occupied Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. East Germany was also controlled by the Soviet Union. Stalin had promised to allow free elections in these countries, but he broke this promise. In addition to his failure to hold free elections, Stalin also cut off communication, trade, and travel between these satellite countries and other western countries.

During this time period, the term Iron Curtain was coined by Winston Churchill. Churchill said that an Iron Curtain of dictatorship had descended on Eastern Europe. Many world leaders were concerned about the Soviet dictatorship that had arisen. President Truman decided to enact a policy of containment regarding communism. In other words, Truman wanted to prevent communism from spreading. He wanted to prevent the spread of communism without using military force. George Marshall, the US Secretary of State came up with a plan. It was called the Marshall Plan.

This plan called for the United States to provide billions of dollars in aid to European countries in order to speed the recovery of countries that suffered losses during World War II. Truman felt that an economic recovery in Europe would enable Europeans to have the strength to resist communism and the energy to maintain democratic governments. There was much distrust and rivalry between communist countries and democratic countries after World War II. This led to the era known as the Cold War.

The Cold War was not an actual war. There were some conflicts as both sides fought for control, but these conflicts were more political, as opposed to being physical battles. In order to prevent this struggle from turning into a real war, the United Nations was formed by more than fifty countries in 1945. In 1949, the United States, France, and Great Britain formed an alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO. NATO was the result of the democratic nations’ fear of Soviet aggression.

The members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization all agreed to treat an attack against any one of their countries as an attack against all of them. Up until 1949, the US was the only country with the technology and knowledge to use a nuclear weapon.

This changed in September of 1949. In September, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. There were now two countries with nuclear weapons capabilities. This began the arms race, wherein both countries sought to build more weapons and better weapons than their counterpart.

Since the United States had recently dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the world had witnessed the devastation of nuclear warfare. As a result, it became increasingly important that countries attempt to solve their differences peacefully. The memory of the destruction caused by World War II and the atomic bombs most likely prevented the Cold War from turning into a true war.



Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. East Germany was also controlled by the Soviet Union. Stalin had promised to allow free elections in these countries, but he broke this promise. In addition to his failure to hold free elections, Stalin also cut off communication, trade, and travel between these satellite countries and other western countries.

During this time period, the term Iron Curtain was coined by Winston Churchill. Churchill said that an Iron Curtain of dictatorship had descended on Eastern Europe. Many world leaders were concerned about the Soviet dictatorship that had arisen. President Truman decided to enact a policy of containment regarding communism. In other words, Truman wanted to prevent communism from spreading. He wanted to prevent the spread of communism without using military force. George Marshall, the US Secretary of State came up with a plan.

It was called the Marshall Plan. This plan called for the United States to provide billions of dollars in aid to European countries in order to speed the recovery of countries that suffered losses during World War II. Truman felt that an economic recovery in Europe would enable Europeans to have the strength to resist communism and the energy to maintain democratic governments. There was much distrust and rivalry between communist countries and democratic countries after World War II. This led to the era known as the Cold War. The Cold War was not an actual war.

There were some conflicts as both sides fought for control, but these conflicts were more political, as opposed to being physical battles. In order to prevent this struggle from turning into a real war, the United Nations was formed by more than fifty countries in 1945.

In 1949, the United States, France, and Great Britain formed an alliance called the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, also known as NATO. NATO was the result of the democratic nations’ fear of Soviet aggression. The members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization all agreed to treat an attack against any one of their countries as an attack against all of them.

Up until 1949, the US was the only country with the technology and knowledge to use a nuclear weapon. This changed in September of 1949. In September, the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb. There were now two countries with nuclear weapons capabilities. This began the arms race, wherein both countries sought to build more weapons and better weapons than their counterpart.


Nuclear explotion


On a number of occasions since the invention of nuclear weapons, false alarms have occurred, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war within minutes. Early in the morning on November 9th 1979, four American command centres received signals of a full scale Soviet nuclear attack on its way.

Within six minutes, massive preparations were made to counter the attack with US nuclear weapons, before someone realized this was a false alarm caused by the accidental running of an exercise tape about a Soviet nuclear attack through the US surveillance system.

The telephone ”hot line” established in 1963 between the US and the Soviet Union to prevent nuclear war by mistake or miscalculation was not used during these six minutes of panic. In 1995, Russia was close to ordering a nuclear weapon launch. The Russian warning system received signals about a rocket being fired near the Norwegian coast.

Russian military officers interpreted it as a submarine-launched US nuclear missile targeted at Moscow. President Yeltsin, during these few tense minutes, opened his nuclear suitcase containing the codes for launching Russian nuclear weapons. Some five minutes later, the missile - a Norwegian research missile - turned in another direction and the alarm was called off. 35 states, including Russia, had informed about the Norwegian research missile, but the information had apparently not reached the people operating the warning system.

In addition to the technical problems that may cause false alarms, there is always the human factor. Just like the control systems of nuclear power plants, the nuclear weapons warning systems have to be monitored around the clock.

Many accidents happen during the night, as a result of people being tired and bored.4 Mistakes happen easily. We get on the wrong bus, dial the wrong number or forget to call our mom on her birthday. But when the mistake is about dialing the wrong digits in the navigation system of an aircraft or shutting off the wrong monitor of a surveillance system – that is when the consequences can become catastrophic.

A retired Soviet marine officer who worked for many years as the commander of a nuclear-equipped submarine tells his story: “During our long periods cruising deep in the ocean, often for several weeks, I rarely got more than a few hours of sleep per night.

For several days I stayed on the bridge, keeping awake with coffee and vodka. There were times when I was so tired, I found it difficult to see which lights were green and which were red on the instrument panel. And, yes, during this period I and my crew had the capability to launch our missiles with more than a hundred nuclear charges.”



When Joseph Stalin died on 5 March 1953, Cold War tensions were at their worst. Meaningful diplomatic negotiations between the communist and capitalist adversaries had long since ceased, and the nuclear arms race was entering a new and more dangerous phase with the development of thermonuclear weapons. An atmosphere of hysteria and suspicion gripped the world’s two superpowers.

In Moscow, the aging despot had spent his last days laying the groundwork for another murderous purge while, in Washington, Senator Joseph McCarthy continued his elusive pursuit of the spectre of communism. Soviet-American relations were further poisoned by Moscow’s “hate-America” campaign.

This visceral propaganda campaign including charges that Washington had been conducting “bacteriological warfare” in Korea—where a brutal and bloody war was grinding into an agonizing stalemate. General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s victory in the 1952 election, moreover, brought to power a new administration promising to “win the Cold War,” leading Soviet intelligence officials to conclude that World War III was a real possibility.


Berlin wall destroyed


As countries of the Eastern Bloc emerged to claim independence and democracy, a new post-Cold War era was heralded. It was a heady time, full of optimism and possibility. George Bush spoke of a .new world order.. Some analysts wrote of the .end of history.; others claimed the triumph of democracy over totalitarianism.

It was hoped that with removal of the paranoia and waste of the bipolar stand-off, it might be possible to implement collective security initiatives, such as those identified in the Brandt and Brundtland Commissions of the 1980s. Although the Soviet Union and Warsaw Treaty Organization (or Warsaw Pact) dissolved, the feared division into several new nuclear-weapon states was averted.1 Whole classes of nuclear weapons were removed and others taken off alert.

The decades of East-West nuclear confrontation appeared to give way to East-West cooperation, exemplified by arms control treaties and the Russian Federation.s participation in new security arrangements such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the economic consultations exemplified by the G-8. In less than a decade, however, much of the optimism has been lost.

The Russian Federation and some of its former Soviet neighbours are in economic and political turmoil. Asian tiger economies are collapsing, causing political upheavals across the region and threatening the assumptions and even stability of western financial institutions.

The .grand coalition. of forces against Iraq.s invasion of Kuwait, of which George Bush was so proud, has given way to the long, drawn out war of nerves and attrition between UNSCOM and Saddam Hussein, fragmenting the early post-Cold War Security Council partnership and casting a long shadow over western security thinking throughout the 1990s.

The implementation of some arms control agreements has been paralysed by ratification delays and disputes over resources, while further opportunities to reduce and control arms have been squandered. The achievement after so many years of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was widely viewed as a success, thereby strengthening the international norm against nuclear proliferation; but barely eighteen months after it was signed, India and then Pakistan conducted several nuclear explosions, giving rise to serious concerns about the overall health and credibility of the non-proliferation regime.

Descriptively we are still in the first decade of the post-Cold War era, but conceptually the security preoccupations are already very different from the possibilities envisaged in the first few years after the Berlin Wall was brought down. In analysing what went wrong, I give priority to the implications for arms control policy debates and the choices for the United States, which, as the post-Cold War hegemonic power, had the greatest resources and opportunities to influence the future.



America swore that it was as far as communism would get, the Russians had other ideas, the scene was set for a show-down which was to be acted out in the zones of Berlin. By 1947, the Western powers had merged their zones of occupation, ended denazification, released prisoners of war, began a programme of central German government and relaxed economic restrictions on German economies.

These reforms angered Stalin who viewed it as weak and granting an opportunity for the Nazis to rise again. The issue of currency reform was in many ways the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Allies had decided to introduce a new currency to end black trading and instigate an economic revival - it worked - production rose by fifty per cent in six months. The Russians responded by introducing a new currency in their zone, thus further widening the division. Subsequently, they blockaded Berlin on 24 June 1945.

The Allies organised a massive air-lift to get supplies to their beleaguered zones in Berlin. Stalin realising he had failed agreed to reopen road and rail links in May 1949. However, the Cold War was to spread far from the European arena. Japan had annexed Korea in 1910, following the Second World War, the Americans and the Soviets agreed that they should occupy Korea.

The demarcation line between the Communist North, under Kim Il Sung an the South under the right-wing President Syngman Rhee was the thirty-eight parallel. Both leaders desired to see the country united under their respective systems.


cold war era propaganda


The defeat of Nazi and Japanese war machines during the Second World War left two dominant powers in a duel. Each of them had different form of government as well as economy. The capitalist form of government of the US was in direct rivalry with the communist government of the USSR. Both ideologies would never stand face to face with each other let alone unite. The fact that communist ideals were reactions from capitalistic policies only deteriorated the situation.

The fall of the Third Reich also meant that Russia had a free reign in Europe, while at the same time, the allies controlled all the areas west of Russia's borders. The eventual split of Europe led to the formation of the Iron Curtain in Germany. The West was afraid of further Russian ideological and physical expansion as well as invasion. This prompted the implementation of the Truman Doctrine which promised monetary aid and military assistance to any country which would resist communism.

By the start of the 60's, Europe was divided into two power blocs and became a potential battleground again for World War III and nuclear war. The influence of the Cold War eventually spread throughout the globe to include smaller nations, creating the greatest division the world has known.

The mutual distrust of two superpowers was pervasive. Russia wanted to transform nations into communist states while America was sowing seeds of democracy even at the door of USSR. Both sides have their own fears--the US was afraid of the Soviet invasion of Europe, while Russia contemplated of being the target for thousands of nuclear warheads of the US.



The cold war dominated the international system for nearly 45 years, and exerted a significant influence over the nature and scope of the many military and political conflicts that occurred during those years. In retrospect, the cold war was the major theatre for the West’s struggle against communist ideas and about regime change in, and the democratisation of, the communist bloc.

The cold war was fought very much on the assumption that ‘if your are not with us, you are against us’, an assumption that figured more prominently in American society than in its Western European counterparts. While the Soviet leadership in its final years accepted it would be impossible to create a non-Islamic Afghanistan, Mikhail Gorbachev nonetheless believed that a pro-US/Pakistan regime in Afghanistan would be ‘totally unacceptable’ both to India and to the USSR.

Thus, the main tenet of the cold war can be seen as the East–West competition in ideas, arms and spheres of influence. Propaganda activities, information gathering and spying were part and parcel of winning the hearts and minds of allies and potential allies.

The cold war became, to varying degrees, an integral part of the domestic politics of many countries, such as in the form of McCarthyism in the USA during the 1950s or anti-nuclear movements in Europe in the early 1980s. The Western alliance was supposed to have been united during cold war crises, but Europe was seen by the USA as likely to succumb to pitfalls like ‘Finlandisation’, as America’s European allies were often keen to reduce cold war tensions by means of détente, cultural exchanges, or negotiations.


Cold war poster


 At the core of the cold war was the mutually perceived fear of a possible surprise attack by the other side, a fear which was fed by mutual misconceptions, and a lack of understanding of each other. This meant that each side tended to depict the other in the worst possible light, which in turn created a situation whereby both sides misread each other’s intentions and overestimated each other’s capabilities.

The possession of nearly 50,000 nuclear weapons by the two superpowers made the confrontation deadly, while the East–West ideological competition added to the dynamic to expand, and intensify, the cold war worldwide. In the event of a nuclear attack on the USA, its key decision-makers were to be quickly moved to a secret bunker in the heart of the Carolina mountains.

At the beginning of his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower was taken to this emergency White House through a long tunnel, occasionally interrupted by huge security gates. When he finally reached the bunker, he looked back, and told his national security adviser, Dillon Anderson, that: ‘Good God; I did not realise we were this scared.’ After the death of Stalin in 1953, NATO believed that the prospect of a third world war was unlikely except by accident or miscalculation.

Nevertheless there was still a great degree of uncertainty in the West surrounding Soviet military intentions. One scholar states that ‘On a medical analogy, the West by the 1980s had become well informed about Soviet anatomy and physiology; but the windows to the antagonist’s mind remained largely opaque.’ Similarly the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc were aware that NATO’s strategy was defensive, but this did not dispel the fear that NATO’s strategy could be a ‘cover up for a possible surprise nuclear strike’.

This also explained why the Kremlin’s suspicions of a NATO pre-emptive attack increased in the aftermath of the November 1983 Able Archer exercise. The cold war was not like the conventional wars that had been fought between the great powers before 1945, but nonetheless it was a global contest and a sort of war.

The cold war shared many of the characteristics of modern warfare – ideological differences, large numbers of weapons, war plans, operational manuals, covert operations, psychological warfare, proxy and often bloody battles in the Third World, the formation of alliances, economic and trade pressures and the control of society – but the cold war thankfully did not end in the apocalyptic phase of the third world war by nuclear destruction.


With the collapse of the Soviet Union


At the beginning of the 21st century, the United States faces threats of terrorism, antagonism in the Muslim world and suspicions of its motives throughout much of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many of the roots of such problems lie in U.S. actions and policies of the last half-century — in the unintended consequences of the Cold War. Conventional wisdom holds that the United States won the Cold War.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, international communism ceased to be a threat, and the United States became the “world’s only superpower.” But accompanying that “wisdom” is an uncertainty about the global future and, in the United States, questions as to why a nation so powerful and “good” has such difficulty in wielding its worldwide influence.

In light of current challenges to U.S. interests, could it be that the presumed success in the Cold War was a Pyrrhic victory? Did the unintended consequences of our anti-Soviet efforts contribute to problems Washington faces today?

The confrontation with the Soviet Union was fought actively, not on the plains of Europe, but in the arena of Asian and African states emerging from colonialism and in Latin American countries resisting oligarchs. The greater part of my own diplomatic career and that of many of my Foreign Service colleagues was spent in these regions.

American policies pursued much that was positive in these areas in supporting economic development, human rights, conflict resolution and multilateral cooperation.

Nevertheless, in regions important to American interests, the United States was more often perceived as an interventionist instrument of  colonialism than as a democratic liberator.

This view was not helped by perceptions of U.S. involvement in regional issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the Indian-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir, however positive Washington’s motives. In regions where emotions are rooted in history and memories are long, the effects of such a view continue. In the immediate post-World War II period, communist parties in Western Europe, backed by a nuclear and ambitious Soviet Union, did represent both a political and military threat. The Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe had a profound effect on public opinion in the United States. No administration could have failed to respond.


Brink of nuclear war 1983


On a number of occasions since the invention of nuclear weapons, false alarms have occurred, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear war within minutes. Early in the morning on November 9th 1979, four American command centres received signals of a full scale Soviet nuclear attack on its way. Within six minutes, massive preparations were made to counter the attack with US nuclear weapons, before someone realized this was a false alarm caused by the accidental running of an exercise tape about a Soviet nuclear attack through the US surveillance system.

The telephone ”hot line” established in 1963 between the US and the Soviet Union to prevent nuclear war by mistake or miscalculation was not used during these six minutes of panic. In 1995, Russia was close to ordering a nuclear weapon launch.

The Russian warning system received signals about a rocket being fired near the Norwegian coast. Russian military officers interpreted it as a submarine-launched US nuclear missile targeted at Moscow. President Yeltsin, during these few tense minutes, opened his nuclear suitcase containing the codes for launching Russian nuclear weapons.

Some five minutes later, the missile - a Norwegian research missile - turned in another direction and the alarm was called off. 35 states, including Russia, had informed about the Norwegian research missile, but the information had apparently not reached the people operating the warning system.



In addition to the technical problems that may cause false alarms, there is always the human factor. Just like the control systems of nuclear power plants, the nuclear weapons warning systems have to be monitored around the clock. Many accidents happen during the night, as a result of people being tired and bored.4 Mistakes happen easily.

We get on the wrong bus, dial the wrong number or forget to call our mom on her birthday. But when the mistake is about dialing the wrong digits in the navigation system of an aircraft or shutting off the wrong monitor of a surveillance system – that is when the consequences can become catastrophic.

A retired Soviet marine officer who worked for many years as the commander of a nuclear-equipped submarine tells his story: “During our long periods cruising deep in the ocean, often for several weeks, I rarely got more than a few hours of sleep per night.

For several days I stayed on the bridge, keeping awake with coffee and vodka. There were times when I was so tired, I found it difficult to see which lights were green and which were red on the instrument panel. And, yes, during this period I and my crew had the capability to launch our missiles with more than a hundred nuclear charges.”


Nuclear war propaganda posters


When Joseph Stalin died on 5 March 1953, Cold War tensions were at their worst. Meaningful diplomatic negotiations between the communist and capitalist adversaries had long since ceased, and the nuclear arms race was entering a new and more dangerous phase with the development of thermonuclear weapons. An atmosphere of hysteria and suspicion gripped the world’s two superpowers.

In Moscow, the aging despot had spent his last days laying the groundwork for another murderous purge while, in Washington, Senator Joseph McCarthy continued his elusive pursuit of the spectre of communism. Soviet-American relations were further poisoned by Moscow’s “hate-America” campaign.

This visceral propaganda campaign including charges that Washington had been conducting “bacteriological warfare” in Korea—where a brutal and bloody war was grinding into an agonizing stalemate. GeneralDwight D. Eisenhower’s victory in the 1952 election, moreover, brought to power a new administration promising to “win the Cold War,” leading Soviet intelligence officials to conclude that World War III was a real possibility

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Totalitarianism


As countries of the Eastern Bloc emerged to claim independence and democracy, a new post-Cold War era was heralded. It was a heady time, full of optimism and possibility. George Bush spoke of a .new world order.. Some analysts wrote of the .end of history.; others claimed the triumph of democracy over totalitarianism.

It was hoped that with removal of the paranoia and waste of the bipolar stand-off, it might be possible to implement collective security initiatives, such as those identified in the Brandt and Brundtland Commissions of the 1980s. Although the Soviet Union and Warsaw Treaty Organization (or Warsaw Pact) dissolved, the feared division into several new nuclear-weapon states was averted.1 Whole classes of nuclear weapons were removed and others taken off alert.

The decades of East-West nuclear confrontation appeared to give way to East-West cooperation, exemplified by arms control treaties and the Russian Federation.s participation in new security arrangements such as the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the economic consultations exemplified by the G-8. In less than a decade, however, much of the optimism has been lost.

The Russian Federation and some of its former Soviet neighbours are in economic and political turmoil. Asian tiger economies are collapsing, causing political upheavals across the region and threatening the assumptions and even stability of western financial institutions.

The grand coalition. of forces against Iraq.s invasion of Kuwait, of which George Bush was so proud, has given way to the long, drawn out war of nerves and attrition between UNSCOM and Saddam Hussein, fragmenting the early post-Cold War Security Council partnership and casting a long shadow over western security thinking throughout the 1990s.

The implementation of some arms control agreements has been paralysed by ratification delays and disputes over resources, while further opportunities to reduce and control arms have been squandered. The achievement after so many years of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was widely viewed as a success, thereby strengthening the international norm against nuclear proliferation; but barely eighteen months after it was signed, India and then Pakistan conducted several nuclear explosions, giving rise to serious concerns about the overall health and credibility of the non-proliferation regime.

Descriptively we are still in the first decade of the post-Cold War era, but conceptually the security preoccupations are already very different from the possibilities envisaged in the first few years after the Berlin Wall was brought down. In analysing what went wrong, I give priority to the implications for arms control policy debates and the choices for the United States, which, as the post-Cold War hegemonic power, had the greatest resources and opportunities to influence the future.


Reagan and Gorbachev


America swore that it was as far as communism would get, the Russians had other ideas, the scene was set for a show-down which was to be acted out in the zones of Berlin. By 1947, the Western powers had merged their zones of occupation, ended denazification, released prisoners of war, began a programme of central German government and relaxed economic restrictions on German economies. These reforms angered Stalin who viewed it as weak and granting an opportunity for the Nazis to rise again. The issue of currency reform was in many ways the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Allies had decided to introduce a new currency to end black trading and instigate an economic revival - it worked - production rose by fifty per cent in six months. The Russians responded by introducing a new currency in their zone, thus further widening the division. Subsequently, they blockaded Berlin on 24 June 1945.

The Allies organised a massive air-lift to get supplies to their beleaguered zones in Berlin. Stalin realising he had failed agreed to reopen road and rail links in May 1949. However, the Cold War was to spread far from the European arena. Japan had annexed Korea in 1910, following the Second World War, the Americans and the Soviets agreed that they should occupy Korea.

The demarcation line between the Communist North, under Kim Il Sung an the South under the right-wing President Syngman Rhee was the thirty-eight parallel. Both leaders desired to see the country united under their respective systems.


Truman Doctrine


The defeat of Nazi and Japanese war machines during the Second World War left two dominant powers in a duel. Each of them had different form of government as well as economy. The capitalist form of government of the US was in direct rivalry with the communist government of the USSR. Both ideologies would never stand face to face with each other let alone unite.

The fact that communist ideals were reactions from capitalistic policies only deteriorated the situation. The fall of the Third Reich also meant that Russia had a free reign in Europe, while at the same time, the allies controlled all the areas west of Russia's borders. The eventual split of Europe led to the formation of the Iron Curtain in Germany.

The West was afraid of further Russian ideological and physical expansion as well as invasion.

This prompted the implementation of the Truman Doctrine which promised monetary aid and military assistance to any country which would resist communism. By the start of the 60's, Europe was divided into two power blocs and became a potential battleground again for World War III and nuclear war. The influence of the Cold War eventually spread throughout the globe to include smaller nations, creating the greatest division the world has known.

The mutual distrust of two superpowers was pervasive. Russia wanted to transform nations into communist states while America was sowing seeds of democracy even at the door of USSR. Both sides have their own fears--the US was afraid of the Soviet invasion of Europe, while Russia contemplated of being the target for thousands of nuclear warheads of the US.



The cold war dominated the international system for nearly 45 years, and exerted a significant influence over the nature and scope of the many military and political conflicts that occurred during those years. In retrospect, the cold war was the major theatre for the West’s struggle against communist ideas and about regime change in, and the democratisation of, the communist bloc.

The cold war was fought very much on the assumption that ‘if your are not with us, you are against us’, an assumption that figured more prominently in American society than in its Western European counterparts.

While the Soviet leadership in its fi nal years accepted it would be impossible to create a non-Islamic Afghanistan, Mikhail Gorbachev nonetheless believed that a pro-US/Pakistan regime in Afghanistan would be ‘totally unacceptable’ both to India and to the USSR.

Thus, the main tenet of the cold war can be seen as the East–West competition in ideas, arms and spheres of influence. Propaganda activities, information gathering and spying were part and parcel of winning the hearts and minds of allies and potential allies.

The cold war became, to varying degrees, an integral part of the domestic politics of many countries, such as in the form of McCarthyism in the USA during the 1950s or anti-nuclear movements in Europe in the early 1980s. The Western alliance was supposed to have been united during cold war crises, but Europe was seen by the USA as likely to succumb to pitfalls like ‘Finlandisation’, as America’s European allies were often keen to reduce cold war tensions by means of détente, cultural exchanges, or negotiations.


The possession of nearly 50,000 nuclear weapons by the two superpowers


At the core of the cold war was the mutually perceived fear of a possible surprise attack by the other side, a fear which was fed by mutual misconceptions, and a lack of understanding of each other. This meant that each side tended to depict the other in the worst possible light, which in turn created a situation whereby both sides misread each others intentions and overestimated each other’s capabilities.

The possession of nearly 50,000 nuclear weapons by the two superpowers made the confrontation deadly, while the East–West ideological competition added to the dynamic to expand, and intensify, the cold war worldwide. In the event of a nuclear attack on the USA, its key decision-makers were to be quickly moved to a secret bunker in the heart of the Carolina mountains.

At the beginning of his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower was taken to this emergency White House through a long tunnel, occasionally interrupted by huge security gates. When he fi nally reached the bunker, he looked back, and told his national security adviser, Dillon Anderson, that: ‘Good God; I did not realise we were this scared.’ After the death of Stalin in 1953, NATO believed that the prospect of a third world war was unlikely except by accident or miscalculation. Nevertheless there was still a great degree of uncertainty in the West surrounding Soviet military intentions.

One scholar states that ‘On a medical analogy, the West by the 1980s had become well informed about Soviet anatomy and physiology; but the windows to the antagonist’s mind remained largely opaque.’7 Similarly the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc were aware that NATO’s strategy was defensive, but this did not dispel the fear that NATO’s strategy could be a ‘cover up for a possible surprise nuclear strike’.8 This also explained why the Kremlin’s suspicions of a NATO pre-emptive attack increased in the aftermath of the November 1983 Able Archer exercise.

The cold war was not like the conventional wars that had been fought between the great powers before 1945, but nonetheless it was a global contest and a sort of war. The cold war shared many of the characteristics of modern warfare – ideological differences, large numbers of weapons, war plans, operational manuals, covert operations, psychological warfare, proxy and often bloody battles in the Third World, the formation of alliances, economic and trade pressures and the control of society – but the cold war thankfully did not end in the apocalyptic phase of the third world war by nuclear destruction.


Muslim world


At the beginning of the 21st century, the United States faces threats of terrorism, antagonism in the Muslim world and suspicions of its motives throughout much of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Many of the roots of such problems lie in U.S. actions and policies of the last half-century — in the unintended consequences of the Cold War.

Conventional wisdom holds that the United States won the Cold War. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, international communism ceased to be a threat, and the United States became the “world’s only superpower.” But accompanying that “wisdom” is an uncertainty about the global future and, in the United States, questions as to why a nation so powerful and “good” has such difficulty in wielding its worldwide influence. In light of current challenges to U.S. interests, could it be that the presumed success in the Cold War was a Pyrrhic victory? Did the unintended consequences of our anti-Soviet efforts contribute to problems Washington faces today?

The confrontation with the Soviet Union was fought actively, not on the plains of Europe, but in the arena of Asian and African states emerging from colonialism and in Latin American countries resisting oligarchs. The greater part of my own diplomatic career and that of many of my Foreign Service colleagues was spent in these regions.

American policies pursued much that was positive in these areas in supporting economic development, human rights, conflict resolution and multilateral cooperation. Nevertheless, in regions important to American interests, the United States was more often perceived as an interventionist instrument of neo-colonialism than as a democratic liberator.

This view was not helped by perceptions of U.S. involvement in regional issues such as the Israeli-Palestinian dispute and the Indian-Pakistani tensions over Kashmir, however positive Washington’s motives. In regions where emotions are rooted in history and memories are long, the effects of such a view continue. In the immediate post-World War II period, communist parties in Western Europe, backed by a nuclear and ambitious Soviet Union, did represent both a political and military threat. The Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe had a profound effect on public opinion in the United States. No administration could have failed to respond.


Soviet Union collapsed on December 31, 1991

An era ended when the Soviet Union collapsed on December 31, 1991. The confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union defined the Cold War period, while the collapse of Europe framed that confrontation. After World War II, the Soviet and American armies occupied Europe. Both towered over the remnants of Europe's forces.

The collapse of the European imperial system, the emergence of new states and a struggle between the Soviets and Americans for domination and influence also defined the confrontation. There were, of course, many other aspects and phases of the confrontation, but in the end, the Cold War was a struggle built on Europe's decline. Many shifts in the international system accompanied the end of the Cold War. In fact, 1991 was an extraordinary and defining year.

The Japanese economic miracle ended. China after Tiananmen Square inherited Japan's place as a rapidly growing, export-based economy, one defined by the continued pre-eminence of the Chinese Communist Party. The Maastricht Treaty was formulated, creating the structure of the subsequent European Union. A vast coalition dominated by the United States reversed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Three things defined the post-Cold War world. The first was US power.

The second was the rise of China as the centre of global industrial growth based on low wages. The third was the re-emergence of Europe as a massive, integrated economic power. Meanwhile, Russia, the main remnant of the Soviet Union, reeled while Japan shifted to a dramatically different economic mode. The post-Cold War world had two phases. The first lasted from December 31, 1991 until September 11, 2001. The second lasted from 9/11 until now.

cold war cartoon

The initial phase of the post-Cold War world was built on two assumptions. The first assumption was that the United States was the dominant political and military power but that such power was less significant than before, since economics was the new focus. The second phase still revolved around the three Great Powers " the United States, China and Europe " but involved a major shift in the world view of the United States, which then assumed that pre-eminence included the power to reshape the Islamic world through military action while China and Europe single-mindedly focused on economic matters.

The three pillars of the international system In this new era, Europe is reeling economically and is divided politically. The idea of Europe codified in Maastricht no longer defines Europe. Like the Japanese economic miracle before it, the Chinese economic miracle is drawing to a close and Beijing is beginning to examine its military options. The United States is withdrawing from Afghanistan and reconsidering the relationship between global pre-eminence and global omnipotence.

Nothing is as it was in 1991. Europe primarily defined itself as an economic power, with sovereignty largely retained by its members but shaped by the rule of the European Union. Europe tried to have it all: economic integration and individual states. But now this untenable idea has reached its end and Europe is fragmenting. One region, including Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, has low unemployment. The other region on the periphery has high or extraordinarily high unemployment. Germany wants to retain the European Union to protect German trade interests and because Berlin properly fears the political consequences of a fragmented Europe.

But as the creditor of last resort, Germany also wants to control the economic behaviour of the EU nation-states. Berlin does not want to let off the European states by simply bailing them out. If it bails them out, it must control their budgets. But the member states do not want to cede sovereignty to a German-dominated EU apparatus in exchange for a bailout. In the indebted peripheral region, Cyprus has been treated with particular economic savagery as part of the bailout process. Certainly, the Cypriots acted irresponsibly. But that label applies to all of the EU members, including Germany, who created an economic plant so vast that it could not begin to consume what it produces " making the country utterly dependent on the willingness of others to buy German goods.

There are thus many kinds of irresponsibility. How the European Union treats irresponsibility depends upon the power of the nation in question. Cyprus, small and marginal, has been crushed while larger nations receive more favourable treatment despite their own irresponsibility. It has been said by many Europeans that Cyprus should never have been admitted to the European Union. That might be true, but it was admitted €" during the time of European hubris when it was felt that mere EU membership would redeem any nation. Now, Europe can no longer afford pride, and it is every nation for itself. Cyprus set the precedent that the weak will be crushed.

It serves as a lesson to other weakening nations, a lesson that over time will transform the European idea of integration and sovereignty. The price of integration for the weak is high, and all of Europe is weak in some way. In such an environment, sovereignty becomes sanctuary. It is interesting to watch Hungary ignore the European Union as Budapest reconstructs its political system to be more sovereign " and more authoritarian " in the wider storm raging around it. Authoritarian nationalism is an old European cure-all, one that is re-emerging, since no one wants to be the next Cyprus.


cold war rockets

I have already said much about China, having argued for several years that China's economy couldn't possibly continue to expand at the same rate. Leaving aside all the specific arguments, extraordinarily rapid growth in an export-oriented economy requires economic health among its customers. It is nice to imagine expanded domestic demand, but in a country as impoverished as China, increasing demand requires revolutionizing life in the interior. China has tried this many times.

It has never worked, and in any case China certainly couldn't make it work in the time needed. Instead, Beijing is maintaining growth by slashing profit margins on exports. What growth exists is neither what it used to be nor anywhere near as profitable. That sort of growth in Japan undermined financial viability as money was lent to companies to continue exporting and employing people " money that would never be repaid. It is interesting to recall the extravagant claims about the future of Japan in the 1980s. Awestruck by growth rates, Westerners did not see the hollowing out of the financial system as growth rates were sustained by cutting prices and profits. Japan's miracle seemed to be eternal.

It wasn't, and neither is China's. And China has a problem that Japan didn't: a billion impoverished people. Japan exists, but behaves differently than it did before; the same is happening to China. Both Europe and China thought about the world in the post-Cold War period similarly. Each believed that geopolitical questions and even questions of domestic politics could be suppressed and sometimes even ignored. They believed this because they both thought they had entered a period of permanent prosperity.

In fact 1991-2008 was a period of extraordinary prosperity, one that both Europe and China simply assumed would never end and one whose prosperity would moot geopolitics and politics. Periods of prosperity, of course, always alternate with periods of austerity, and now history has caught up with Europe and China. Europe, which had wanted union and sovereignty, is confronting the political realities of EU unwillingness to make the fundamental and difficult decisions on what union really meant.

For its part, China wanted to have a free market and a communist regime in a region it would dominate economically. Its economic climax has left it with the question of whether the regime can survive in an uncontrolled economy, and what its regional power would look like if it weren't prosperous.

Asian affairs.

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