An Overview of East-West Relations

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The demand for new editions of the book bears witness to the continuing strength of Cold War orthodoxy about US policy, often dressed up as post-revisionism or linked to Soviet and Eastern bloc archives.

Bibliographic Information

The book has, however, always contained flashes of useful and interesting interpretations, which brighten up the more traditional and sometimes highly dubious assumptions that still dominate this latest edition. Thus ,while some of the initial concepts and coverage have clear and valid attractions, by linking a number of global regions and phenomena, which are not always tackled in a work of this kind, reservations remain.

There is a significant concentration on East-West relations in the period up to the early s pages out of the first for under twenty years , as compared to the same amount for the period covering the next fifty years. Unfortunately the post-revisionist Cold War focus, initially on Europe, still creates the feel that the geographic extensions involved in decolonisation, and issues of non-European and non-North American importance never assume an equal role in the analysis.

East-West Economic Relations in the Changing Global Environment

This is despite the addition of a largely new chapter on the Rise of East Asia Chap. Some of the strengths and weaknesses from the earlier editions are extended and developed into the period from The use of online resources, especially the World Development Report, is particularly important and provides a different tool for general assessments of economic and social developments. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute is used in a similar way for a valuable history of the arms race. The reluctance to distinguish between the separate, if connected, hot war and Cold War requirements was a feature of the first edition and remains so.

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One result is that the myth that NATO was formed because of the immediate Soviet military threat, as opposed to the ideological threat inherent in the influence of Soviet communism, is also maintained. Interestingly the Lisbon force goals of are still portrayed as embodying the reality of defending Western Europe with conventional forces.

Actually the ninety-two divisions deemed necessary would, if they were raised, also have involved the destruction of any prospect of a stable peacetime economy.


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There is also no overall attempt to examine the ways in which military strategy was connected to, or disconnected from, foreign policy; nor to define propaganda, covert operations, or psychological warfare as important components of the early Cold War. Furthermore, in this edition, there is no sign of any influence from newer historians on both sides of the Atlantic, who have been writing with a focus on the US and without the language skills to access the new sources being revealed behind the former Iron Curtain for example: Kenneth Osgood, Scott Lucas, Greg Mitrovich, Jonathan Haslam; and on the topic of decolonisation: Steve Ashton, Sarah Stockwell, Larry Butler, Ronald Hyam, Tony Stockwell.

The sense of a small amount of new wine in old bottles is reinforced by the short bibliographies, now included at the end of each chapter rather than in bibliographical sections at the end of the book. However, in a world where interdependence has increased and the interests of various countries are so thoroughly intertwined, even a great power is limited in its ability to handle various problems on its own. It can be said, there fore, that the need for bilateral and multilateral cooperation and dialogue is a logical consequence of the contemporary international community. The situation involves the danger of giving rise to tension and friction in international relations if any one group should, through collective action, stubbornly pursue its self-interests in disregard of those of others, or demand an immediate and radical change in the existing state of affairs.

Charles Morrison of East-West Center discusses US-China relations

For this very reason, all countries must, more than ever, promote cooperation in the spirit of fairness and compromise in the international community. A new and more complicated network of relations in the international community is emerging as a result of the growing tendency for nations to pursue national interests by going beyond the framework of the groups to which they traditionally belong.

Under these circumstances, a more flexible attitude and a broader viewpoint than ever before are needed in external relations, as are even greater efforts to maintain international stability. Progress in the development of nuclear weapons and the means of their delivery has, in particular, brought about fundamental changes to the concept of security. Today, not a single country can assure its own security, in the conventional sense of the word, in the event of a total, nuclear war. Neither the United States nor the Soviet Union can be considered an exception.

The United States and the Soviet Union, however, each have the capability to carry out large-scale retaliation and to destroy the enemy even after suffering a nuclear attack. This is usually called the "second-strike" capability, and nuclear-powered submarines armed with nuclear missiles constitute one of the effective elements of such capability.

This fact makes it difficult for nuclear war or a conventional war which could lead to nuclear war to break out between the United States and the Soviet Union or between the East and the West, which include allies of the respective superpowers. This effect is referred to as " nuclear deterrence. However, nuclear deterrence is neither absolute nor immutable. There is the danger that the unilateral buildup of a nuclear capability will de-stabilize the balance resulting from mutual deterrence; and the possibility of accidental war cannot be eliminated completely.

Furthermore, advances in nuclear technology involve the danger of nuclear proliferation.

East-West relations

It is expected that the number of countries possessing nuclear technology will gradually increase due in part to progress in science and technology, the need to secure sources of energy, and also the rise of nationalism in various countries. Should a large number of countries come to possess nuclear weapons, whatever their capacities, international relations will become unstable, thereby posing a serious threat to the peace and stability of the world.

Thus, how to carry out effective nuclear control, particularly how to promote nuclear disarmament while paying heed to the balance of military power and deterrence among countries, is a problem of major significance to which today's international community must address itself.


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Particularly, after the start of the s, the United States and the Soviet Union have begun negotiations with a view to avoiding military confrontation and the outbreak of nuclear war, and have concluded various agreements with the objective of improving their bilateral relations. In Europe as well, various agreements have been reached between the East and the West, including the treaty between the Federal Republic of Germany and the U.

In Asia, the progress made in U. Based upon the economic approach of laissez-faire , this perspective tends to underplay the direct link between economics and politics, that is to say, between the economic power and the political power of a nation. Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF. Skip to main content.

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