Session 5 - Chapter 4,8,11
From the cold War to the World
The end of the Cold War
The cold war wound down in 1989.
Byproduct of the Second World War that left the international order divided
between two great superpowers
o Both with formidable Capabilities (The USA & The USSR)
o Representing rival social systems (Capitalist & Socialist)
o Withdrawal from Eastern Europe and then shifted into the Third
Should be regarded less of a war and more of a managed rivalry.
o The shared aim of the two superpowers was not so much to destroy
the other, but to maintain the peace by containing the ambitions of the
The USA in a world without Balance
Barely been used before 1989, but not came to be employed more regularly
to define an apparently new system of international relations where,
according to one reading, markets would come to matter more than states
Boundaries, and frontiers rendered increasingly porous, by the sheer volume
of cross-border activity
Emergence of a new ‘unipolar’ system – USA
Events began to unfold
o USA stunning victory over Iraq & collapse of USSR in 1991
By the turn of the century, the USA had been transformed from a mere
superpower, to a ‘hyper power’ (French Minister, Hubert Vedrine)
US Hegemony would last well into the 21 century because it enjoyed special
advantage in nearly every sphere.
Exercise of US power under conditions of unipolarity.
What was the purpose of the US power? Other than to spread democracy and
The USA during the 1990s remained a superpower without a mission Session 5 - Chapter 4,8,11
Europe: A work in progress
Dirigistes who favored greater state involvement in the management of a
specifically European social model, and free marketers – led by the British – who
argued that under conditions of global competition such a protected system was
simply not sustainable and that thoroughgoing economic reform was essential.
Europe benefited as much from the cold war as the USA
Europeans were divided over a series of key issues, most notably the degree of
European integration, economic strategy and the foreign policy aspirations of the
Russia: from Yeltsin to Putin and Medvedev
One of the many problems facing the West after the cold war was how to define its
relationship with post-communist Russia, a country confronting several degrees of
stress after 1991 as it began to travel the road that would one day move it from
what it has once been – a super power with a planned economy and a formal
Marxist Ideology – to what it might one day become – democratic, liberal and
Speedy adoption of Western – style privatization, Russia experienced
something close to a 1930’s style depression, with industrial production
plummeting, living standards falling and whole regions once devoted to cold
war military production experience free fall.
President Boris Yeltsin’s foreign policy was not standing up for Russia’s
Shifts inside Russia produced much confusion in the West
Russia was not the same geographical entity as the USSR. Economic reform
meanwhile had made it dependent on Western markets.
War between Russia and Georgia in 2008
East Asia: primed for rivalry?
Where as Europe managed to form a new liberal security community during the
cold war, East Asia did not.
The result of the formation of the EU and the creation of NATO
In 1993 East Asia was still ripe for new rivalries
The USA played a crucial role by opening its market to East Asian goods
while providing the region with critical security on the cheap.
Whatever the cause or combination of causes, the simple fact remains that
East Asia by the end of the 20 century had become the third power house in
the global economy, accounting for nearly 25% of world GDP.
Conflicts in the past in East Asia were beginning to be overridden in the
1990s by a growth in regional trade and investment. The process of EAST
ASIAN economic integration (ASEAN) Session 5 - Chapter 4,8,11
Third reason is Japan. Adopted its peace constitution in the 1950s and
renounced nuclear weapons. Japan strong holder of the NPT. Spread
international aid and investment and fostered better relations in the regions.
‘Rising China’ – Viewing as a benign instrument of development rather than
One of the great ironies of international history may be that china as a rising
capitalist power playing by the rules of the market, may turn out to be more
of a problem for the West than China the communist power in those far-off
days when it denounced the imperialists across the ocean and called upon
Asians to drive the Yankees out of the region.
The war on Terror: from 9/11 to Iraq
The events compelled the USA to act in a far more assertive fashion abroad.
One of the reasons for the attack on the USA in the first place was that it had
not been assertive enough in the 1990s
The events of 9/11 had changed the original formula where by the USA
turned a blind eye to autocratic regimes that existed in the region in
exchange for cheap oil and stability
The war on Iraq – Factors to explain the war,
o Ideological influence exercised by the ‘neo-cons’
o USA’s close relationship with Israel
o Desire to control Iraq’s oil
So-called ‘war of choice’ was a strategic blunder that neither delivered stable
democracy to Iraq nor inspired others in the region to undertake serious
o PERSONAL NOTE – There are only two conflicts?
A conflict between those who on the one side supported
democracy, pluralism, individualism and a separation between
state and church
Those on the other hand who preached intolerance and
supported theocracy, while calling for armed struggle and jihad
against the unbeliever, the Zionists and their supporters in the
o PERSONAL NOTE - Islam doesn’t call out for this at all. It is in itself a
religion of peace, which only states defense if someone is going to
invade your home. Which is reasonable! If someone is going to come
and hurt you, while you’re in your home. You have the complete right
to ensure that no one hurts your family. This is practiced in the USA,
so why are Muslims labeled terrorists when they’re only trying to
protect their families?
The World Economic Crisis
Two things happened that appeared to change world politics forever. Session 5 - Chapter 4,8,11
1. Internal to the USA and involved in the critical transition from one president
who had been defined by 9/11 to a new leader who sought to change the
terms of the debate about the USA’s role in the world
2. Directly linked to another great event in world politics – the near meltdown
of the world’s financial system in 2007 and 2008.
Elected in 2008 in the midst of the deepest financial crisis in the USA since
Foreign policy aimed to correct many of the errors committed by the Bush
administration – notably in the middle East
Comprehensive approach to World affairs raised US standing but by itself
could not solve the many challenges facing the USA
The economic crisis had left the USA in a weakened international position
Marxist Theories of International
Introduction: The continuing relevance of Marxism
1 – What was termed ‘actually existing socialism’ was plainly not the communist
utopia that many dreamed of and that Marx had apparently promised.
2 – Marx’s social theory retains formidable analytical purchase on the world we
Compared to realism and liberalism, Marxist thought presents a rather unfamiliar
view of international relations.
Marxist theories are discomfiting, for they argue that the effects of global capitalism
are to ensure that the powerful and wealthy continue to propsper at the expense of
the powerless and the poor.
Marxist theorists argue that the relative prosperity of the few is dependent on the
destitution of the many. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole, is therefore, at the
same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality at the
opposite pole.” Session 5 - Chapter 4,8,11
The Essential elements of Marxist theories of world politics
History had taught the working classes the duty to master for themselves the
mysteries of international politics
The social world should be analyzed as a totality
The central dynamic that Marx identifies is tension between the means of
production and the relations of production that together form the economic base of
a given society.
Means of production
o As means of production develop, previous relations of production
become outmoded and indeed become fetters restricting the most
effective utilization of the productive capacity.
o Leads to a process of social change where by relations of production
are transformed in order to better accommodate the new
configuration of means.
o Change in the economy base ultimately lead to change in the ‘legal and
o Society is systematically prone to class conflict.
o History of class struggle
o Conflict between bourgeoisie and proletariat
o Expected an understanding of the dynamics of capitalist society to
overthrow the prevailing order and replace it with a communist
society, a society in which wage labor and private property are