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Essay: Post Cold War World Order:

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  • Subject area(s): Literature essays
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  • Published: December 7, 2018*
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  • Words: 1,004 (approx)
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1. Howard Jones’ book Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations from 1945.

Howard Jones in chapters 7-10 of his book Crucible of Power: A History of Foreign Relations from 1945, considers the change in foreign policy from Jimmy Carter to the policy of containment by Ronald Reagan and the missionary diplomacy of George W. Bush. Jones contends that the development of the new world order began during the Cold War, most significantly with Carter’s attempt in creating a humanitarian-based foreign policy. This failure to create a moral-based foreign policy was due, ultimately, to the worldwide consensus of non-intervention, but also the diminished prestige of America in world politics. Jones’ book proves useful in a study of the new world order following the post Cold War, as its chronological analysis of US foreign policy amidst global crises shows the unique development of the international structure.

2. John Gaddis’ book The United States and the End of the Cold War: Implications, Reconsiderations, Provocations (1994)

Historian John Gaddis takes a political scientist approach to a study of the Cold War and its impact on the international system in his highly regarded, seminal book The United States and the End of the Cold War. Gaddis explores three central theories surrounding the development of the ‘long peace’, using a combination of all three to come to the conclusion that the world is under dual hegemonic management supported by nuclear peace and bipolarity. Gaddis further contends that U.S hegemony is not the basis for the post-Cold War international stability, that the threat of nuclear warfare by great powers has become incomprehensible. Gaddis’ authoritative perspective will be useful in the study of post-Cold War world order, as it discusses key events and actors that led to the emergence of current international order, as well as comparing theories on the developing future structure of our world.

3. Patrick Stewart’s chapter titled: ‘The Evolving Structure of World Politics, 1911-2011’

Patrick Stewart writes a chapter in International Relations Since The End of the Cold War: New and Old Dimensions, edited by Geir Lundestad. Stewart argues that the structure of World politics following the Cold War dramatically changed. He contends that although the US emerged as the sole Great Power, with no competing powers to balance the power theory, US omnipotence and hegemony did not form or rather it did not last for very long. Stewart explains this as a result of shifting norms in world structure, specifically the emphasis on government sovereignty and limiting intervention from external powers. This chapter will be inherently useful in a study of the Cold War, as it guides an understanding of why the abrupt end to the Cold War, in comparison to the previous World Wars, had such a profound impact on the structure of international relations. Furthermore, Stewart provides a compelling argument; although US military and economic power after the Cold War was substantial, their commitment to liberalistic management diminished their superiority, allowing their order and influence to be challenged.

4. Stuart Brown’s book The Future of US Global Power: Delusions of Decline

Brown’s book The Future of US Global Power provides a competing perspective to the traditional view of post-Cold War world order. Brown challenges the theory that US global power has increasingly declined since the Cold War, instead proposing that America still enjoys a sufficient amount of global influence, that they remain hegemonic. Brown identifies this influence as a result of economic prosperity, broad-scale industrial superiority and their leadership in the provision of global public goods. This alternative perspective will be a useful source in gaining a broader understanding of the world order and its evolution from the Cold War into current day political order. Furthermore, Brown gives a unique analysis and interpretation of today’s power balance amidst current political concerns.

5. Ronald Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate, West Berlin, ‘Remarks on East-West Relations’, (1987)

President Ronald Reagan’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin is a powerfully symbolic speech given toward the end of the Cold War, as Mikhail Gorbachev’s radical, capitalist leadership of the Soviet Union began its demise. Reagan describes the wall as a physical barrier to freedom and unity and a symbolic barrier to political equality and liberalism. Reagan depicts the West as a set of prosperous, free and interconnected nations and the East as a failed, technologically backward and communist society; a society that is denied basic rights. Reagan concludes that freedom brings peace, prosperity and unity, challenging Gorbachev to “tear down this wall!” for the sake of worldly liberalization. This unique primary oral source is useful as it provides an insider perspective on U.S foreign policy goals and Reagan’s vision of the post war global structure; one that includes both East and West despite inherent differences.

6. Hugh White’s opinion article in The Age ‘Post Cold-War power politics back with a vengeance’

Hugh White’s article in the Melbourne newspaper The Age argues that the new ‘rules-based world order ’, which provided an alleged stability and peace under US governance, has come to an end. White describes the idealised order; where all states accept American dominance and their international leadership and also work harmoniously with the US for the ‘common-good’. This model, however, was disrupted by the unexpected power and unwillingness to cooperate from ‘weaker’ states and the eventual decline of global consensus in accepting US hegemony. White’s article is justifiably useful in a study of the post Cold War era as it looks at both the aims of the new world order and also its lasting significance from a modern, political perspective. White’s powerfully persuasive writing convinces one that US hegemony is now actively challenged and with it, the recently formed international order, returning instead to an era of power politics.


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