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  • CONTEMPORARY ISSUES ININTERNATIONAL POLITICS

    VI SEMESTER

    CORE COURSE

    BA POLITICAL SCIENCE

    (2011 Admission)

    UNIVERSITY OF CALICUTSCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATION

    Calicut university P.O, Malappuram Kerala, India 673 635.

    258

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    UNIVERSITY OF CALICUTSCHOOL OF DISTANCE EDUCATIONSTUDY MATERIAL

    Core Course

    BA POLITICAL SCIENCE

    VI Semester

    CONTEMPORARY ISSUES IN INTERNATIONAL POLITICS

    Prepared by: Dr. Rose Mary,Asst. Professor,Department of Political Science,Providence College, Calicut.

    Scrutinized by: Dr. G. Sadanandan (Co-ordinator) ,Associate Professor ,PG Department of Political Science,Sree Kerala Varma College,Thrissur

    Layout: Computer Section, SDE

    Reserved

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    Contents Page No.

    MODULE I 5

    MODULE II 16

    MODULE III 31

    MODULE IV 64

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    MODULE 1

    Cold War

    The Cold War began because of a clash between two world superpowers,the United States of America and the USSR. These two countries were in a battlefor superiority but this battle never once led to a 'hot' war as the United Statesand the USSR never actually fired at each other. The main reason there was suchan initial clash between these superpowers is that each country had completelydifferent ideologies. The USSR functioned in a Communist fashion and theUnited States operated with Capitalism. The Containment Policy came aboutbecause of these different ideologies and played a major role in the conflictbetween these two superpowers. Both of these countries were competing blow forblow and both of the countries strengthened their development in technology andweaponry with the space race and arms race. All of these events led to thedevelopment of a Cold War between these two powers because each countrywanted to be the superior and there was no want to compromise. They were bothso adamant to the fact that their side was greater than the other and thisthought led to the start of the Cold War.

    The primary reason that the Cold War began was the differing ideologiesbetween the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States had a solidgrasp on Capitalism and planned on other countries converting to the sameeconomic policy that they were under. The United States' belief was thatindividuals should be paid based upon their own individual production while theCommunists believed that everyone should be equal no matter what their outputis. This differing in economic policies is the most important reason the Cold Wargot out of control and became such a concern. This can be attributed to HarryTruman's 'Containment Policy'. This policy, one of the most important policies inthe United States' history, was the plan to keep Communism 'contained' in justthe country of the Soviet Union. The United States has continued to carry outthis policy for years and is still in effect to this date. In the short run, itsucceeded in containing Communism from spreading out from the Soviet Union,as no other countries were influenced to embark on communism in their owngiven country.

    With the development of new technology for both the United States and theUSSR, the space race became much more important. The USSR needed to showmore strength in their battle for superiority against the United States, and inOctober of 1957 they accomplished that by launching the Sputnik I satellite. Thisleft the United States feeling inadequate compared to the Soviet Union. Tocombat this, the United States sent their own satellite into space a year later. Inwhat ended up being a battle that the United States won in 1969, this was afterthe Cold War, when they put a man on the moon, until then it was an ongoingneck and neck race for superiority.

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    After the United States ended up winning the Cold War and the SovietUnion collapsed, the United States became the only world superpower and still istoday. The United States became a much hated nation in the eyes of manycountries because of this. Even though another superpower is building in thecountry of China, it seems that the world is turning away from the superpowersthat it once had. Although the Soviet Union did collapse, it is still building andemerging as a decent country. The United States, on the other hand, has becomewithout a doubt, the world's most powerful and dominating country. Even withthe economic crisis that the United States is in right now, it could be said thatthe United States will be the only superpower in existence for another decade;China is almost to the point of a superpower. The Cold War proved to be one ofthe most important issues in the recent history. The two largest superpowers ofits time went into a war without fighting, yet only one country survived.

    International Politics in the Post Cold War Period

    In the '80s President Ronald Reagan of the US dubbed the Soviet Union asan evil empire and predicted that it would be consigned to the ash heap ofhistory. He announced a major weapons buildup and the SDI (Strategic DefenseInitiative) also dubbed Star Wars. The Soviet Union was too economicallyenfeebled to reply in kind. In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became the leader of theSoviet Union. He adopted a conciliatory attitude towards the Americans andmany arms reduction pacts were signed. In 1989 there was a Soviet withdrawalfrom Afghanistan and in 1990 the Soviets agreed to the reunification of Germany.Movements against communist governments in Eastern Europe followed this. TheSoviet Union collapsed in 1991 marking the end of the Cold War.

    When the Cold War came to an end in 1989 with the dismantling of theBerlin Wall, when the countries of Eastern Europe regained independence, andwhen finally the Soviet Union disintegrated, there was widespread feelingthroughout the world that at long last universal peace had descended on Earth.The fear of a war in which weapons of mass destruction would be used hadvanished. The end of the Cold War in the early 1990s has had a dual impact oninternational relations. On the one hand, the Soviet military withdrawal fromEastern Europe and the Third World brought an end to the Cold War, alloweddemocratization to proceed in many states previously ruled by Marxistdictatorships, and led to significant progress in resolving several Third Worldconflicts that had become prolonged during the Cold War. The reduction in East-West tension also resulted in a great decrease in inter-state conflicts, some ofwhich occurred due to the superpower ideological rivalry during the Cold War.

    When the Cold War ended, the United States emerged as the onlysuperpower and this involved great responsibilities as far as world peace wasconcerned. No other country was in a similar position to deal with dangers toworld peace not only its own security. But even a superpower is not omnipotent;there are limits to its capacity to do its international duty. It cannot and shouldnot go it alone, but ought to act as a leader in international action by persuasionas much as by pressure, if necessary. The Cold War had not put an end to the

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    proliferation of nuclear weapons and other means of mass destruction. But it hadcertainly slowed it down. This is no longer true today; there is not just the dangerthat a few more countries would achieve these weapons. The real threat is thatthe acquisition of these weapons by a few will generate a general rush to followthem, because their neighbors will feel exposed and threatened.

    There have been few volunteers to act as world policemenit is admittedlynot an attractive job, unpaid, with little gratitude to be earned. Possibly, butscanning the world scene there is not much reason for excessive optimism.Russia has not yet accepted its new status in the world; there is resentment, notunnaturally, as the result of the loss of empire. There is a strong inclination tomake all kind of outside factors responsible, and some are dreaming to restorethe old power and glory. With the end of the Cold War, new centers of power haveemerged, above all China and India. They have made spectacular economicprogress, deemed almost unthinkable even a decade ago. But so far thesecountries have shown no desire to play a role in world politics commensuratewith their economic strength. They are regional great powers and, in due time,will undoubtedly become more than that. But this could be many years off, and,in the meantime, they have shown no eagerness to shoulder responsibilities inkeeping world order.

    For a while, after the end of the Cold War, it appeared as if Europe couldplay such a role alongside, if not always in unison, with the United States. Therewere some observers of the political scene who claimed that the 21st centurywould be the century of Europe, mainly because the European model had beenso attractive and would be copied by the rest of the world. This was the idea ofEurope as a civilian and moral superpower. There is Africa, with its millions ofvictims in horrible civil wars, which the international community failed toprevent. Above all, there is the Middle East with its many tensions and terrorism,national and international. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon in the annals ofmankind; it is as old as the hills. It has appeared in many forms and guises,nationalism-separatist, inspired by the extreme left and the radical right. Butcontemporar

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