Post-Cold War Period Causes of Conflict Essay

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Post-Cold War Period Causes of Conflict

The end of the Cold War meant that the ideological conflict of dominance between East (Soviet Union and Eastern Europe) and West (USA and Western Europe) was over. Contrary to the expectations that world would be much safer in the post-Cold War, United States and Soviet Union were faced with new security issues that they did not know how to deal with.

The objective of this essay is to show that with all these changes that occurred with the end of the Cold War, causes of the conflict indeed altered from the classic ones. First the end of the Cold War and the changes in the world order that followed will be outlined. Secondly, the increase in wars within
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Snow (1991, p.44) states that "[i]n 'simpler' days during Cold War, possession of nuclear weapons was thought to provide the possessors with the special power, that could be translated into usable influence in the international system". This means that some conflicts were kept under control because the world was ruled by bipolar system (USA and Soviet Union). However, conflicts were not absent during this period, but the parties in a conflict would often seek assistance from one of the superpowers and hence strengthen the conception of a bipolar world (e.g. the Vietnam War). With the end of the Cold War this system transformed into a multipolar system where new conflicts emerged. As Mearsheimer states, key elements in the Long Peace was bipolarity, an equal balance of military power and nuclear weapons. (Mearsheimer 1990,"Why We Will Soon Miss The Cold War"). This factor was now no longer present, although some scholars argue that this era is characterised by unipolarism (i.e. US hegemony), rather than multipolarism.

From wars between states to wars withinstates

The vast majority of conflicts before and during the Cold War were between states. In the post-Cold War period the number of interstate wars decreased, and new threats occurred, such as ethnic conflicts, rise of nationalism, global threats to the environment and terrorism. These were dominant factors that

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