The end of World War II marked the beginning of the cold war. This war was between world’s super power nations: the United States and its allied nations against the Soviet Union and its allies on the other side. This war took place between 1946 and 1991.
According to Ted and Reim cold war was not a physical battle, but a prolonged state of competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in terms of weapon sophistication, technology advancement, economic stability and political influence (19). The aim of this article is to depict what transpired during the cold war and several factors about the Cold war.
These factors include difference in ideologies between the two nations. The United States and the Soviet Union had two opposing types of government. Klaus and Lane states that the United States government supported multiparty system, democracy, capitalism, personal freedom and free elections but the Soviet Union was opposed to this system of governance. The country practiced dictatorial and communist system (17).
Economically, the United States supported international free trade but the Soviet Union was opposed to it and barred free international trade. The United States and the Soviet Union had power rivalry. Both nations were fighting to dominate the other after decline of Europe. Also, there relationship had deteriorated during World War II after the United States supplied weapon to Russian opponents. Additionally, the United States had turned down Russia’s request to help in stabilizing the economy after the Second World War.
Klaus and Lane state that this war came to be known as the cold war because the two sides: the Soviet Union and the United States never engaged in a physical fight. This led to use of others nations as battle fields by these super powers to prove there supremacy (1). For instance, “during Vietnam War the Soviet Union supported North Vietnam while the United States supported South Vietnam” (Klaus and Lane 139).
Klaus and Lane argue that the United States is seen as the winner of cold war, because the Soviet Union finally agreed terms of the United States which led to signing of START I treaty between George H. W. Bush and Gorbachov (185). According to this treaty, the Soviet Union agreed not to interfere with affairs of Eastern Europe.
It also agreed to “establish contact with other countries and invited external investors to invest in the Soviet Union, a move they had opposed before” (Ted and Reim 128). The United States managed to defeat the Soviet Union through imposing economic sanctions. The United States destabilized the country’s oil market by “requesting Arabia to increase the oil production to cater for world’s oil demand” (Ted and Reim 124).
This led to deterioration of the Soviet Union economy forcing them to introduce restructuring reforms. These reforms allowed external investors to invest in the Soviet Union. In order to revive their devastated economy, “Soviet Union agreed to sign intermediate range nuclear force treaty with the United States to regulate nuclear weapon” (Klaus and Lane 192).
From the cold war we learn, that any form of war has a negative impact on the economy growth. Both the Soviet Union and the United States spent a large portion of their revenue to support the cold war through funding projects to invent new sophisticated weapons, paying a large number of soldiers fighting in the war and channeling other resources towards the war.
Unity among nations is crucial to the growth of the nation’s economy, because it prevents trade malpractice and sanctions from competitor nations. Democratic government is better as opposed to autocratic government. It is important to allow people freedom, multiparty system and free trade at local, national and international level. Also, it is essential to introduce and support international security, trade and political policies to prevent occurrence of another war.
Lessons emerging from cold war have contributed to consultative decision making by countries on matters concerning international security, economy, trade and politics. In addition, these lessons are one of key factors which have led to formation of international union to create and enact policies on international security, politics, and trade.
Wastage of funds on military operation in foreign country is one lesson which has not been taken in to account by modern American foreign policy. The United States up to date sends the soldiers to fight in different nations. If these military operations are not well planned, they can adversely affect its economy as witnessed in the Soviet Union.
In addition, the United States has been developing nuclear technology and expanding its military capacity. Risks associated with these mistakes include: high chances of triggering another war, economic turmoil, lose of life and jobs and global division across interest lines.
War on terror is a characteristic by product of cold war because the militia who perpetrate terror attacks are funded and supported by individuals, nations and groups with common interest against the United States.
Additionally, fight against terror attacks seems to be between the United States and its supporters against terror groups who are backed up by some nations. From the lessons of the cold war, victims of terror attacks can opt to negotiate with the terror groups to solve this problem. Also, they can use military attacks, economic and financial sanctions to destabilize these terror groups network.
In conclusion, the cold war was between the United States and the Soviet Union. Although it was not physically fought on their soil, the two nations were adversely affected especially in terms of economy. The Soviet Union was much devastated by aftermath of the war and opted to sign treaties with the United States which led to the end of the cold war in 1991.
Klaus, Larres and Anne Lane. The cold war: Essential reading. Massachusetts: Blackwell publishers Inc, 2001. Print.
Ted, Gottfried and Melanie Reim. The cold war. New Milford: The Millbrook Inc, 2003. Print.