The Cold War, and the U.S. And Asia and Globalization
What was meant by the Cold War? Before defining the cold war, authors Bentley and Ziegler go into great depth to lay the foundation for the origins of the Cold War. More than sixty million people perished during WWII (965), including twenty million Soviets, fifteen million Chinese, six million Poles, four million Germans, two million Japanese, three hundred thousand Americans and four hundred thousand English. The Holocaust, meantime, resulted in the slaughter of nearly six million Jews of European ancestry.
At the end of WWII, approximately eight million Germans fled their native land to apparently avoid the torture they believed they would receive at the hands of the marauding Soviets, who "pillaged and raped with abandon in Berlin" (966). On top of those eight million people who were displaced, there were an estimated twelve million prisoners of war of both German and Soviet extraction "making their way home," and in addition were the "survivors of work and death camps and three million refugees from the Balkan lands." Where would these people wind up? And whose side would they be on, as the new boundaries would play out?
To lay the groundwork for the post-war boundaries that would be drawn, it is important to know that Hitler believed he would win the war because he couldn't imagine an alliance of America, England, and the communist Soviet Union. But war and politics make "strange bedfellows," as the saying goes, and Hitler was in error.
Meantime, during the last days of the war, it was clear that Stalin wanted to conquer much of Eastern Europe for his own empire-building scheme, and he did just that. And even though the Yalta conference in February 1945 was a place to keep the glue in place that cemented the allies against the Nazis, Stalin had his way, and there was no way he would be turned away from his passion to install communism in the territories his armies had conquered.
To begin with, the Soviets took the eastern parts of Germany, and the U.S., Britain and France occupied the western sections of Germany. Right there were post-war tensions set up ready to be played out. And when U.S. President Harry Truman issued his "Truman Doctrine" on the 12th of March, 1947, the beginnings of the Cold War were seen very clearly. Truman (967) described what American wanted for the territories it was in control of in Europe as: "...based upon the will of the majority...distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression."
The "second way of life" Truman described was based on "the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority." That minority will "relies upon terror and repression, a controlled press and radio, fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms." So, even though the Soviets worked hand-in-hand with America to crush Hitler, now it was a whole new ballgame in Europe. America sent "vast sums of money to Greece and Turkey," and the world was "polarized into two armed camps," those supported by the U.S. And those under control of the communist Soviet Union.
America also sent $13 billion to "reconstruct western Europe" under the Marshall Plan in 1948. In 1949, the U.S. established NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which in effect, was the military coalition to attempt to stem Soviet aggression in Europe. To offset that alliance, the Soviets established the "Warsaw Pact" - which included a military group of seven communist Eastern European nations - and the cold war was on.
The word "cold" is used (968) as a definition to indicate that there were no bullets fired for the most part; rather, the cold war was "characterized by ideological and propaganda campaigns," particularly when the Soviets joined the atomic power club (1949) hitherto the exclusive domain of the U.S. (The Cold War did heat up considerably in the period 1950-1953, during the Korean Conflict between the U.S. And communists.)
What would be the reasons for the Soviet Union the U.S. To believe that the other one started the cold war? Once peace was established in Europe and Asia, the "one-time partners [America and the Soviets] increasingly sacrificed cooperation for their own national interests" (975). This is historically logical that they would do that, because the authors point out that it is a long-standing tradition for warring nations to take control of the territories they have conquered. And so, dividing up the "spoils" as it were, after defeating the Nazis, was a natural occurrence for both sides, and after all, "At the heart of the cold war lay an ideological conflict between capitalism and communism" (976).
Finger-pointing as to who started the cold war was not a surprising dynamic when one considers that after the fall of Hitler, Berlin was initially divided up into sectors for administration (cooperative) purposes; but when cooperation between communists and capitalists broke down, both sides retreated to their political and ideological hard lines. The "iron curtain" (as Churchill defined it) forced peoples inside it to adhere to the armies under Moscow's control, while those outside it were obliged to line up behind the capitalist genre.
How did the cold war affect international relations? One way in which the cold war affected other nations was the deep-rooted ideological conflict between the U.S. And the Soviets - in particular how that conflict played out world-wide. "The cold war became global in scale as the superpowers came into conflict...in Korea and Cuba" (975). Moreover, those two superpowers "competed for allies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America..." And also, "decolonization - the relinquishing of colonial possessions [by powers such as England, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal] - contributed significantly to the global political transformation" after the war. These new free nations were recruited of course by both the U.S. And Soviet Union, and that affected international relations.
Another way in which the cold war affected international relations was in the "arms race" between the two superpowers. "Both sides began to amass enormous arsenals of thermonuclear weapons and develop a multitude of systems for deploying those weapons" (980). This seemingly insane drive for "mutually assured destruction" involved other nations, of course, because non-aligned countries hoped to stay out of the fracas (should there be a war where nuclear weapons were used), and even aligned countries lived in the fear of being blown away by these destructive weapons.
What is meant by globalization? To add the views of other experts - and move away from the Kevin Reilly text for a time - it may be useful to first define the term. When you type in "Globalization" to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, it brings up "Globalize" - which it defines as "to make global; to make worldwide in scope and application." Economies have become more and more global over the past few years, mainly due to the fast pace of the growth of technology - in particular the expansion of the Internet, new trade agreements, and faster means of transporting goods.
The consequences of this transformation of the world are many and varied.
According to the Chairman of the "Fed" (the U.S. Federal Reserve Board) Alan Greenspan, because of "lowering of trade barriers, deregulation and increased innovation, cross-border trade" in recent years has been expanding "at a far faster pace" than have gross domestic products (GDPs).
Greenspan, speaking to the Conference on Bank Structure and Competition in May, 2004, said that domestic economies are "increasingly exposed to the rigors of international competition and comparative advantage," and "in the process, lower prices for some goods and services produced by our trading partners have competitively suppressed domestic price pressures."
Another factor in the "decline of world economic volatility," Greenspan continued, is the "pronounced fall in inflation, virtually worldwide" over the past two decades. Globalization as well as innovation, Greenspan explains, "Far more than in earlier decades, appears to explain the events of the past ten years" much more effectively than other concepts put forward to try to explain the economic progress worldwide.
Will a full globalization - where finance and trade are "driven solely by risk-adjusted rates of return and risk is indifferent to distance and national borders" - will not likely be obtained, Greenspan predicts. But, he quickly adds, there is no way to really know how far globalization will take off, because "so much of our recent experience" has little or no precedent to compare with.
Speaking of technology - and the Internet in particular - Greenspan believes that managers can now organize workforces without the "redundancy required in earlier decades," an idea which ensures some against human error. "Real-time information" (e.g., the Internet) has reduced waste on production lines, has eliminated those silly human mistakes, and hence, reduced errors in "all forms of record-keeping."
Some consequences of globalization that need to be considered too, are the environmental considerations, the affect on gender relations,…