The End of the Cold War

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The End of the Cold War: 

The End of the Cold War

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The 3 main dimensions of the Cold War: Ideological Communism vs. capitalism, revolutionary processes Geopolitical The Soviet Union’s emergence after WWII as the strongest power in Eurasia Military The arms race What changed by the 1980s:

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IDEOLOGY Capitalism boomed The information revolution Globalization New dynamism of the market system Decline of the Global Left Deepening crisis of state socialism: growing attractiveness of liberal ideas (markets and democracy) Western social democracy successful and stalled The end of decolonization The rise of the New Right; Thatcher and Reagan Free markets as the universal solution Militant anticommunism Global counteroffensive against the Left The rise of ethnic and religious nationalism

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GEOPOLITICS The Soviet Union’s global influence was declining China shifted to a semi-alliance with the US Western Europe was booming, confident, integrating In the Middle East, the US worked both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict; the USSR was marginalized In the Third World, USSR was losing allies, becoming irrelevant Afghanistan became the turning point in Soviet fortunes in the Third World

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THE ARMS RACE The economic burden: the Soviet economy increasingly unable to bear it Political futility of the arms race: Do arms buy security? Is major war thinkable? Nuclear weapons as a global threat The momentum of arms control: mutual vulnerability and mutual interest in survival The rise of new antimilitarism

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By the mid-1980s, political conditions in the Soviet Union matured enough to produce a major shift in favour of all-round systemic reforms. GORBACHEV To enable the Soviet system to adapt to new world realities through political and economic reforms, the Soviet Union needed to get out of the Cold War “New Thinking” in foreign policy was closely integrated with the policies of “perestroika” (restructuring) of the entire Soviet system – a revolution from above

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