Tuesday
December 7 2021
7:43 AM
banner-icon1 banner-icon2 banner-icon3

WORLD NEWS

Cold War

UN chief warns China, US to avoid Cold War


Story by EDITH M. LEDERER

Story   Source

Published on September 20, 2021 5:47 AM
 
 
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Warning of a potential new Cold War, the head of the United Nations implored China and the United States to repair their "completely dysfunctional" relationship before problems between the two large and deeply influential countries spill over even further into the rest of the planet.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres spoke to The Associated Press this weekend ahead of this week's annual United Nations gathering of world leaders — a convening blemished by COVID, climate concerns and contentiousness across the planet.

Guterres said the world's two major economic powers should be cooperating on climate and negotiating more robustly on trade and technology even given persisting political fissures about human rights, economics, online security and sovereignty in the South China Sea.

"Unfortunately, today we only have confrontation ," Guterres said Saturday in the AP interview.

"We need to re-establish a functional relationship between the two powers," he said, calling that "essential to address the problems of vaccination, the problems of climate change and many other global challenges that cannot be solved without constructive relations within the international community and mainly among the superpowers."

Two years ago, Guterres warned global leaders of the risk of the world splitting in two, with the United States and China creating rival internets, currency, trade, financial rules "and their own zero-sum geopolitical and military strategies."

He reiterated that warning in the AP interview, adding that...

BACKGROUND

Cold War

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union and their respective allies, the Western Bloc and the Eastern Bloc, which began following World War II. Historians do not fully agree on its starting and ending points, but the period is generally considered to span the 1947 Truman Doctrine to the 1991 Dissolution of the Soviet Union . The term cold war is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two superpowers, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict was based around the ideological and geopolitical struggle for global influence by these two superpowers, following their temporary alliance and victory against Nazi Germany in 1945. Aside from the nuclear arsenal development and conventional military deployment, the struggle for dominance was expressed via indirect means such as psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, far-reaching embargoes, rivalry at sports events and technological competitions such as the Space Race.

The Western Bloc was led by the United States as well as the other First World nations of the Western Bloc that were generally liberal democratic but tied to a network of the authoritarian states, most of which were their former colonies. The Eastern Bloc was led by the Soviet Union and its Communist Party, which had an influence across the Second World. The US government supported right-wing governments and uprisings across the world, while the Soviet government funded communist parties and revolutions around the world. As nearly all the colonial states achieved independence in the period 1945–1960, they became Third World battlefields in the Cold War.

The first phase of the Cold War began shortly after the end of the Second World War in 1945. The United States and its allies created the NATO military alliance in 1949 in the apprehension of a Soviet attack and termed their global policy against Soviet influence containment. The Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in 1955 in response to NATO. Major crises of this phase included the 1948–49 Berlin Blockade, the 1927–1949 Chinese Civil War, the 1950–1953 Korean War, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the 1956 Suez Crisis, the Berlin Crisis of 1961 and the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The US and the USSR competed for influence in Latin America, the Middle East, and the decolonizing states of Africa and Asia.

Following the Cuban Missile Crisis, a new phase began that saw the Sino-Soviet split between China and the Soviet Union complicate relations within the Communist sphere, while France, a Western Bloc state, began to demand greater autonomy of action. The USSR invaded Czechoslovakia to suppress the 1968 Prague Spring, while the US experienced internal turmoil from the civil rights movement and opposition to the Vietnam War. In the 1960s–70s, an international peace movement took root among citizens around the world. Movements against nuclear arms testing and for nuclear disarmament took place, with large anti-war protests. By the 1970s, both sides had started making allowances for peace and security, ushering in a period of détente that saw the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the US opening relations with the People's Republic of China as a strategic counterweight to the USSR. A number of self-proclaimed Marxist regimes were formed in the second half of the 1970s in the Third World, including Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cambodia, Afghanistan and Nicaragua.

Détente collapsed at the end of the decade with the beginning of the Soviet–Afghan War in 1979. The early 1980s was another period of elevated tension. The United States increased diplomatic, military, and economic pressures on the Soviet Union, at a time when it was already suffering from economic stagnation. In the mid-1980s, the new Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of glasnost and perestroika and ended Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. Pressures for national sovereignty grew stronger in Eastern Europe, and Gorbachev refused to militarily support their governments any longer.

In 1989, the fall of the Iron Curtain after the Pan-European Picnic and a peaceful wave of revolutions overthrew almost all communist governments of the Eastern Bloc. The Communist Party of the Soviet Union itself lost control in the Soviet Union and was banned following an abortive coup attempt in August 1991. This in turn led to the formal dissolution of the USSR in December 1991, the declaration of independence of its constituent republics and the collapse of communist governments across much of Africa and Asia. The United States was left as the world's only superpower.

The Cold War and its events have left a significant legacy. It is often referred to in popular culture, especially with themes of espionage and the threat of nuclear warfare.

Soviet War in Afghanistan

In April 1978, the communist People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan seized power in Afghanistan in the Saur Revolution. Within months, opponents of the communist government launched an uprising in eastern Afghanistan that quickly expanded into a civil war waged by guerrilla mujahideen against government forces countrywide. The Islamic Unity of Afghanistan Mujahideen insurgents received military training and weapons in neighboring Pakistan and China, while the Soviet Union sent thousands of military advisers to support the PDPA government. Meanwhile, increasing friction between the competing factions of the PDPA—the dominant Khalq and the more moderate Parcham—resulted in the dismissal of Parchami cabinet members and the arrest of Parchami military officers under the pretext of a Parchami coup. By mid-1979, the United States had started a covert program to assist the mujahideen.

In September 1979, Khalqist President Nur Muhammad Taraki was assassinated in a coup within the PDPA orchestrated by fellow Khalq member Hafizullah Amin, who assumed the presidency. Distrusted by the Soviets, Amin was assassinated by Soviet special forces during Operation Storm-333 in December 1979. A Soviet-organized government, led by Parcham's Babrak Karmal but inclusive of both factions, filled the vacuum. Soviet troops were deployed to stabilize Afghanistan under Karmal in more substantial numbers, although the Soviet government did not expect to do most of the fighting in Afghanistan. As a result, however, the Soviets were now directly involved in what had been a domestic war in Afghanistan.

Carter responded to the Soviet intervention by withdrawing the SALT II treaty from ratification, imposing embargoes on grain and technology shipments to the USSR, and demanding a significant increase in military spending, and further announced that the United States would boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He described the Soviet incursion as 'the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War'.

Sino-American rapprochement

As a result of the Sino-Soviet split, tensions along the Chinese–Soviet border reached their peak in 1969, and United States President Richard Nixon decided to use the conflict to shift the balance of power towards the West in the Cold War. The Chinese had sought improved relations with the Americans in order to gain an advantage over the Soviets as well. In February 1972, Nixon achieved a stunning rapprochement with China, traveling to Beijing and meeting with Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai. At this time, the USSR achieved rough nuclear parity with the United States; meanwhile, the Vietnam War both weakened America's influence in the Third World and cooled relations with Western Europe.

Although indirect conflict between Cold War powers continued through the late 1960s and early 1970s, tensions were beginning to ease.

Soviet dissolution

In the USSR itself, glasnost weakened the ideological bonds that held the Soviet Union together, and by February 1990, with the dissolution of the USSR looming, the Communist Party was forced to surrender its 73-year-old monopoly on state power. At the same time the union's component republics declared their autonomy from Moscow, with the Baltic states withdrawing from the union entirely. Gorbachev used force to keep the Baltics from breaking away. The USSR was fatally weakened by a failed coup in August 1991. A growing number of Soviet republics, particularly Russia, threatened to secede from the USSR. The Commonwealth of Independent States, created on 21 December 1991, was a successor entity to the Soviet Union. The USSR was declared officially dissolved on 26 December 1991.

US President George H.W. Bush expressed his emotions: 'The biggest thing that has happened in the world in my life, in our lives, is this: By the grace of God, America won the Cold War.'

In this article, The Oregon Herald uses excerpts from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. and under CC-BY-SA license. This same material is granted use by anyone under the same license and the same license requirements. Any images from Wikipedia.com are licensed under the fair use and or public domain licensee.
The use of Wikipedia text or images is soley the decision and action by The Oregon Herald News. The original source of this story has nothing to do with the decision to use Wikipedia text or images.