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How Gorbachev's regime come to an end, collapsing the Soviet Union - Research Paper Example

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Soviet Union collapse.
As there were brewing tensions within the nationalities, who demanded independence from the Soviet State, and the intelligentsia, who demanded governmental reform, Gorbachev's policy of letting the people speak ultimately led to the demise of the Union, argues some commentators…
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How Gorbachevs regime come to an end, collapsing the Soviet Union
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Download file to see previous pages There are a variety of reasons why the Soviet Union collapsed, bringing the era of Communism with it. Wohlworth (1994-1995) states that the fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War is a complex event that has no easy answers. He also states that the theories which have been put forth to explain the end of the Cold War have been weak, and that it is necessary to disaggregate the end of the Cold War to get to a theory which might be plausible. He states that there were three keys to understanding what happened with the Soviet Union at the end of the Gorbachev era. The first key is that the “decision-makers' assessments of power are what matters” (Wohlworth, 1994-1995, p. 97). In particular, Wohlworth states that power is complex and it can be thought of either in terms of capabilities or influence. Capabilities are reassessed according to new and different information about non-material elements of capability, even when there is only a slight change in the material measures. He also states that expectations inform policy, as all policies are future oriented. Therefore, a decision to reform, go to war, or retrench is contingent upon an assessment of what the future may hold. For instance, a nation may look and see that it is in decline. If this decline is reversible, then the nation may decide against a risky decision, such as warfare, and opt instead of a less-risky course of action, such as reform or retrenchment. The second key, according to Wohlworth (1994-1995), is that if the nation in the decline is a challenger, as opposed to a hegemon, that nation is more likely to retrench and reform instead of opting for war. This would help explain the end of the Soviet Union, as it was not a declining hegemon, but, rather, a declining challenger. The Soviet Union, while chafing against the American-dominated system of global influence, knew that it was not the predominant influence in the world. Therefore, as the Soviet Union was aware of its status on the world stage – that it was not the dominant influence in the world, but, rather, a challenger, it did not want to go to war to preserve the status quo of its country. This theory is in contrast of an early theory of hegemonic war, put forth by Thucydides, that war may occur when there is a dynamic challenger and a moribund hegemon. In Thucydides' theory, the Soviet Union would have to have been dynamic, which means that it was in the process of transitioning to a hegemon, and the United States would have to be a moribund, which would mean that it was on the decline. While Wohlworth acknowledges that, at one point, the Soviet Union was a dynamic challenger, in the 1950s and 1960s, by the time the Soviet Union collapsed, it was a moribund challenger. In contrast, at this same point, the United States was a dynamic defender and hegemon. Therefore, the Soviet Union could not, rationally, have chosen to go to war to protect itself, because it saw the end ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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