The Legacy of the Cold War

Subject: American History
Type: Expository Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 571
Topics: Cold War, Communism, Political Science
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Impacts of the Cold War in the Contemporary Society

The Cold War ceased, but its legacy continues to influence world affairs to date. To begin with, the Cold War left America as the worldwide superpower. Also, the Cold war prompted the communists’ countries to establish strong military power at the expense of the economy of their civilians. According to Bunce (1991), the communist countries were highly focused on matching the West in the military might. However, the state of their economy was still weak to produce such strong military power and at the same time, provide sufficient quality consumer goods. Due to this strain in balancing the economy, their economies grew considerably weak, and to date, most of the ex-communist countries’ economies remain weak, somewhat due to the effects of the Cold War.

The Cold War also led to a massive proliferation of nuclear weapons. Presently, the United States and the then nations aligned to the Soviet Union still hold substantial nuclear weapons arsenal. At the helm of the war, the two antagonized superpowers resorted to mass production of nuclear weapons and other lethal weapons to destroy one another. Reportedly, those arsenals still exist till today leaving a heavy burden on the taxpayers and also posing concerns of terrorism, as those weapons may get into the hands of ever-increasing fanatics who pose havoc to the world (Crockatt, 2009).

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Due to the propaganda on the nature of the Cold War, many countries found themselves in proxy wars, more so in countries of Southeast Asia. Because of these wars, so many people lost their lives, thus, causing a deep-rooted hatred coupled with bitter feelings in many places across the globe even in the present day, indicating the impact of the Cold War.

On the positive side, the Cold War also brought technologies that have and continue to benefit the society. For instance, new technologies for nuclear power and energy emerged. Besides, radiation has been extensively used in enhancing medical treatment and health. The nuclear and radiation technology has also been essential in scientific research, industrial production, environmental remediation, and in the development of technology. For instance, the atomic energy has been transformed into many beneficial uses including the production of electricity (Kramer, 2017). In essence, the profitable nuclear-reactor operation and creation have continued with some recognizable increase in global energy production.

The Characteristic or Ideology that most Influences the Current Post-Cold War Era

The prominent attribute of the Cold War that influences the present post-Cold War era is the great diffuseness of power and command. Following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the American government has re-evaluated its global commitments. Moreover, other global power hubs and influence such as the Asian-Pacific and European Union have emerged and turned to be important. Unlike the previous era that was marred by the East-West international issues, today, the regional issues are given more weight by many states. Both big and small countries are responsible for dealing with and controlling issues and probable feuds in their neighbor countries. Moreover, there is the likelihood of greater complexity and uncertainty. As the structure of the Cold War and the alliance system collapsed, the free world grew complicated (Nau, 2011). The contagious issues about inclusion and exclusion emerged as organizations and coalitions looked for new mission, thus, leading to the rise of global actors. Consequently, fresh feuds and problems arose on the global agenda.

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  1. Bunce, V. (June 1991) The Soviet Union Under Gorbachev: Ending Stalinism and Ending the Cold War. International Journal: Canada’s Journal of Global Policy Analysis 46(2). 220-241.
  2. Crockatt, R. (2009). Local consequences of the global Cold War. Cold War History, 9(4), 542-543.
  3. Kramer, D. (2017). Cleanup of Cold War nuclear waste drags on. Physics Today, 70(7), 28-31.
  4. Nau, H. (2011). Ideas have consequences: The Cold War and today. International Politics, 48(4-5), 460-481.
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