DMPQ- Explain why the Cold War came to an end, and show how this affected international relations.

End of cold war

When Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the reins of power in the Soviet Union in 1985, no one predicted the revolution he would bring. A dedicated reformer, Gorbachev introduced the policies of glasnost and perestroika to the USSR. Gorbachev hoped these changes would be enough to spark the sluggish Soviet economy. Freedom, however, is addictive.

Throughout the 1980s, the Soviet Union fought an increasingly frustrating war in Afghanistan. At the same time, the Soviet economy faced the continuously escalating costs of the arms race. Dissent at home grew while the stagnant economy faltered under the combined burden. Attempted reforms at home left the Soviet Union unwilling to rebuff challenges to its control in Eastern Europe. During 1989 and 1990, the Berlin Wall came down, borders opened, and free elections ousted Communist regimes everywhere in eastern Europe. In late 1991 the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its component republics. With stunning speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end.

Affects on International relations

The last decade of the 20th century was marked with dizzying change for the United States. With the Soviet Union out of the picture, American diplomats sought to create a “NEW WORLD ORDER” based on democracy, free-market capitalism and the Western lifestyle.

The collapse of the Cold War in Yugoslavia allowed centuries of hatred between rival ethnic groups to bubble to the surface. The term “ETHNIC CLEANSING” was applied to the process of removing an entire nationality out of a particular territory by threats, violence, or genocide. The United States contributed blue-helmet peacekeeping troops to Bosnia to end ethnic cleansing and committed air support to Kosovar Albanians who faced the same fate.

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