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To what extent was the Cold War global in nature - Essay Example

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The Cold War is undoubtedly a global phenomenon. It is an intricate hodgepodge of control and competition defined by unrelenting ideologies, strategies, and struggles across the globe. Hence, there are several specific factors to point to the global nature of the Cold War…
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To what extent was the Cold War global in nature
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Download file to see previous pages First is the issue of spheres of influence. Spheres of influence have usually offered a tactic of control against immense power struggles by, establishing a defence ring of geographic territories around the lands of superpowers (Feste 1992). Certainly, throughout the Cold War the great powers formulated ideals concerning spheres of influence that were somewhat vital. In the initial stages of fierce Cold War struggle, the fight between the Soviet Union and the United States ensued over concerns of the external and internal direction of European countries, which is quite localized in nature. Yet, the regime supported by each of the great power appeared to create “a credible philosophical and organisational substitute for the old order of European politics” (Feste 1992, 15). The struggle hence becomes globalised. When the aforementioned part of the struggle weakened due to the military standoff and the recovery of Europe, the emphasis of the conflict moved to the developing or colonial nations. At this point, dissimilar from the European condition, the struggle between the Soviet Union and the United States seldom involved political or military domination (Westad 2005). More importantly, it involved the demands of the particular political and social paradigms introduced by the Soviet Union and the United States to the emerging countries. This struggle between the great powers had a major global impact on political reforms in developing and underdeveloped countries. Among other things, it increased the emphasis on social change, on economic progress, and nation building, which the Soviet Union and the United States recognised as the core rationale for these nations in their affairs with either of the great powers (Feste 1992). The global nature of the Cold War, in relation to this great power conflict, is precisely described by Paul Seabury (as cited in Feste 1992,16): Classical great-power competition had stressed principally the respective force capabilities of states: their command of military power; their ability to build, sustain and manipulate alliances; the reach of their economic and commercial influence. Yet, Soviet-American competition added to this a further element: since both systems claimed to be based upon and legitimated by certain universally valid socioeconomic principles, so their respective performances were then to be judged by supposedly universal norms. The touchstone of performance was thus not merely to be seen in direct matters of power and effective influence when both systems impinged on each other, but in the operational vitality of the principles themselves, both within and outside their respective national and hegemonic realms. Hence the strength of American supremacy stemmed from specific normative ideals not simply assessed in terms of domestic influence and authority. Furthermore, ideology was indispensable as well for the Soviet Union to preserve its position globally, which necessitated support for radical campaigns (Westad 2005). The Cold War had created a particular cluster of organised, global interconnections that held an impression of order and formed a new world balance (Westad 2005). These circumstances depended on a unified group of principles that offered a justification for the interferences of the great powers throughout the Cold War period. Aside from the sphere of influence factor, strategic geographical positioning and ideology made the Cold War a global affair. William Bundy (1989) describes the global nature of the Cold War in terms of ‘balance of power’, arguing that it is difficult to overstate the level of the global supremacy by the Soviet Union and the United States in the initial decades of the post-war period. In terms of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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