The Last Decade of the Cold War: From Conflict Escalation to Conflict Transformation (Cold War History)

The Last Decade of the Cold War: From Conflict Escalation to Conflict Transformation (Cold War History)

Language: English

Pages: 460

ISBN: 0714685399

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The 1980s was a period of almost unprecedented rivalry and tension between the two main actors in the East-West conflict, the United States and the Soviet Union. Why and how that conflict first escalated and thereafter, in an amazingly swift process, was reversed and brought to its peaceful conclusion at the end of the decade is the topic of this volume.

With individual contributions by eighteen well-known scholars of international relations and history from various countries, the book addresses the role of the United States, the former Soviet Union, and the countries of western and eastern Europe in that remarkable last decade of the Cold War, and discusses how particular events as well as underlying political, ideological, social, and economic factors may have contributed to the remarkable transformation that took place.

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Germany had joined NATO instead, and, ironically, Churchill had finally let Anthony Eden take over as prime minister, was a four-power summit held in Geneva. It created the ‘spirit of Geneva’, but led to few substantial results.10 It is difficult to believe that an earlier summit would have meant much change in the temperature of the Cold War, much less represented an end to the conflict itself. It was rather unclear what Churchill expected a summit would lead to. His relative optimism about the

the status quo, and also wanted to promote certain basic principles that were to apply to the wider European area. Thus was born the idea of advancing the movement of people, ideas and information through the CSCE. The Europeans did not really expect any major results from the Soviets. The Nixon administration thought the advancement of ideas and information acceptable, but was against promoting human rights through the CSCE. Not even Congress was interested in this. Since the Soviet leaders were

Years; Akhromeev and Kornienko, Glazami; and Vorotnikov, A bylo eto tak) and the twin decisions to demand hard currency for energy exports to the East European allies while reducing interference in their domestic policy choices (see the accounts in Ryzhkov, Perestroika; and Shakhnazarov, Tsena svobody). 47 Rhetoric aside, Gorbachev made no effort to increase outlays for consumer welfare in this period. See Sergei Germanovich Sinel’nikov (-Murylev), Biudzhetnyi krisis v rossii, 1985– 1995 gody

overall. In the realm of arms control, SDI directly threatened the goal of nuclear disarmament. By the traditional logic of nuclear deterrence, the Soviet Union needed to maintain a force of nuclear weapons adequate to absorb a US nuclear attack and still be able to threaten retaliation. The deployment by the United States of a defensive ‘shield’, however rudimentary, would increase the requirements for Soviet offensive nuclear forces. Reducing Soviet nuclear forces in the face of the SDI

offensive nuclear sword. Undoubtedly Gorbachev did not relish the prospect of spending billions of rubles competing with the United States to build strategic defences, especially given his commitment to improving the consumer economy. Playing up the Star Wars threat to Soviet economic reform had its drawbacks, however, because some leading officials refused to accept the argument. Gorbachev’s defence minister Dmitrii Iazov, for example, railed against the US attempt ‘to attain military

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