Bipolarity is one of the ways in which global power is distributed among the countries of the world. It entails a situation where power is distributed only to two countries/states, which have strong economic, military, and cultural influence over countries of the world (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007). After the Second World War, the USA and the USSR emerged as the world’s strongest states in terms of military and economic superiority. The USA attracted influence over democratic countries of the West, while the USSR attracted influence over many of the communist/socialist countries. Immediately after the Second World War, a conflict emerged between the democratic nations, under the influence of the USA, and the communist nations, under the influence of the USSR. The bipolarity nature of distribution of the world’s power led to emergence of the Cold War. Countries from both sides used propagandas, economic sanction, and sporadic military clashes to attack each other (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
As the cold war continued, the political gap between the USA and the USSR became wider. In 1950, Korea became a proxy battleground for the two superpowers due to its division along the political ideologies. The north supported political ideology of the USSR while the south supported the political ideology of the USA. The Korean War began when the USSR was able to spread its communism influence in the Far East and was able to put China under its enchantment (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007). Its plan was to take over the whole Korea, both the South and North parts. Due to the impact of the war, the South Korean military superiority had reduced from over 40,000 soldiers to around 472 ill-equipped soldiers. The North Korean socialist forces thought they would take over South Korea without much defect from the USA given that its military might in South Korea was weak. In June 1950, the North Korea forces invaded South Korea and managed to capture Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. This is what contributed to the war between the USA and the USSR in Korea as the USA tried to recapture the Southern Korea from the USSR
During the Second World War, the USA and the USSR had some form of diplomatic ties. This is because they had a common enemy: the Nazi Germany. The USA army shared the same battle font with the USSR army as they fought with the Nazi Germany. In fact, since the USA and the USSR fought as allies during the Second World War, it was thought that the two nations would become great allies after the war. However, this never happened. The kind of diplomacy and warfare tactics, which existed before 1945 ended. This happened towards the end of the war, when Truman informed Joseph Stalin that the USA had developed terrifying weapons, which it planned to use against the Japanese. Stalin was terrified for he did not know when and how the USA developed the weaponry. In return, Stalin developed strategies to expand the military might of the USSR by increasing the size of its army. By the end of the Second World War, the USA was armed with sophisticated weapons while the USSR had a vast army. This contributed to distrust between the two sides, and all diplomatic and warfare ties, which existed during the war broke in 1945 (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Before 1945, the USA never used to get concerned with the problems of other nations. It had adopted an isolationist policy concerning foreign matters. Prior to 1945, the USA viewed the problems of other nations, particularly problems involving war between and among nations of the world, as own businesses of those nations, and would avoid getting involved except when its security was directly threatened. However, after 1945, the USA realized that insecurity in other nations of the world destabilized its economic activities. For this reason, the USA changed its foreign policy from isolationist to internationalist. Since then, the USA adopted a foreign policy, whose doctrines entail creation of a more secure, peaceful, and democratic world for the benefit of the Americans and the international community. In many instances, the USA has provided military and economic support to different countries of the world, in efforts to ensure economic and political stability of the world. For instance, in 1989, the USA developed military ties with non-NATO member countries. After the September 11 attacks, the USA has formed more non-NATO allies with countries in the Middle East region. Currently, the USA has allied ties with Egypt, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Kuwait, among other nations. The USA has other allied ties with other nations, which include the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Korea, Japan, and Mexico.
During the period between 1950 and 1960, the American political and economic activities operated under consensus. This consensus entailed a consultative approach to governance (Morris, n.d.). The governing political party would engage in institutionalized consultation with all the economic players in the USA. The government’s priority during that time was to satisfy the economic interests of all major civil society groups. Through the socio-political consensus, the USA was able to achieve full employment and increased production in all economic sectors. However, towards the end of 1960s, the consensus ended. Studies indicate that the rise of adversarial leaders such as Heath and Gaitskell contributed to the end of the American socio-political consensus. In 1969, Heath, a radical, won the elections (Morris, n.d.). This led to restructuring of the social rights and economic framework, which had been established by Beveridge and Keynes during the era of socio-political consensus. The Universalists principles were replaced by redistributive principles. During the era of socio-political consensus, the incumbent governments would voluntarily accept the policies of their predecessors’ governments. However, this took a u-turn when Heath was elected to the government. Health’s government failed to adopt the income and industrial policies, which had been established by the former government. When Wilson took power in 1974, his government also rejected the education and housing policies, which had been established by the former ruling parties. In 1976, provisions for full employment were abandoned on the national budget. The actual break-up of the socio-political consensus of the 1950 was experienced in 1979 when the Conservative Party abandoned the entire consensus, which included conciliation of trade unions, Keynesianism, and a mixed economy (Morris, n.d.).
The origin of Vietnamese Nationalism can be traced to 1919, when Ho Chi, a Vietnamese socialist activist living in France during that time, presented a number of demands during the Versailles Peace Conference (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007). Ho Chi demands included liberation of Vietnamese political prisoners, freedom of speech and representation of Vietnamese in the French parliament, among others. France refused to honor Ho Chi demands. This led to emergence of various communist and nationalist movements in Vietnam. French’s determination to counter the nationalist movements was not successful. Many of the nationalist movements were made of urban-based military groups, which rebelled against the French colonial rule. Even though these movements did not have great military might over French rule in Vietnam, they managed to create numerous enduring organizations. One of these organizations was the Vietnamese Nationalist Party, founded in 1927 (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Apartheid in South Africa started in 1948, shortly after the Second World War. Here, a system of racial segregation was introduced whereby inhabitants of South Africa were divided into four categories: whites, Asians, colored, and natives. Residential areas were segregated where every category of inhabitants had it specific area of residence. Political representation of non-whites was abolished and all non-whites residing in South Africa were deprived their citizenry rights. The history of apartheid in South Africa can be traced to 1880 to the first Anglo-Boer War. During this time, the Boers (South Africa farmers) rebelled against the British rule. The Boers were able to restore their sovereignty. However, in 1899, the second Anglo-Boer War broke-up. The second Boer War was longer than the first war. Britain positioned large number of its troops, which captured women and children in concentration camps. This is when racial segregation of the blacks in South Africa started. However, it became apparent in 1948 when the National Party of South Africa segregated medical facilities, beaches, education, and other public facilities. The blacks would receive inferior services while the whites enjoyed superior public services (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
The Iranian revolution started in 1979. The actions of the then Western-backed Iranian leader, Shah, led to the commencement of the revolutions. Shah depicted strong support of the Western policies and close identification with Western powers, specifically the United States. Shah constantly received aid from the West in terms of military and financial aid. For instance, in 1953, Shah received military assistance from the USA through CIA, which helped him to retain his political position in Iran. Iranian-based religious and secular movements considered him a West’s puppet. Another reason for emergence of the Iranian revolutions was failure by Shah to support the Shi’a religious leaders. This made religious movements based on Islamic faith to rebel against him. In 1976, Shah had replaced the Islamic traditional calendar with the imperial calendar. This evoked aggression from the Islamic-based religious movements. Success of the Iranian revolution was based on self-determination and confidence of the anti-Shah activist, Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini was able to gather support from the Iranians, and was able to convince them to support the Shi’a leaders. For instance, he was able to organize a 40-day street protest, which helped to strengthen anti-Shah feelings for many months (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
In 1991, after the end of the WWI, the Allied powers, the USA, Britain, Italy, and France, headed to France to prepare peace terms. They congregated at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. During the conference, France suggested that German was to be punished for instigating the war. This is what led to formation of the Versailles treaty, which provided for redrawing of national boundaries. Britain and France capture the defeated Ottoman Empire, which was previously under German’s rule, as well as all other German colonies. France and Britain’s action caused changes in the physical boundaries of Middle East region, hence the redrawing of the map of the Middle East. Studies indicate that the redrawing of the Middle East map was not suitable. This is because the action generated violence, political instability and dictatorship in the Middle East region. Since the physical boundaries of the region were changed, many of the Middle East countries have been experiencing political instability (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Stalin’s death marked a critical moment in the history of the USSR. Stalin died on March 5, 1953. After his death, his successors tried to change the world’s image of the USSR. For instance, Stalin’s immediate success, Malenkov, commenced a ‘peace offensive,’ indicating his intentions to slow the arms race between the USSR and the USA. Malenkov released a press statement as soon as he took office, stating that the Soviet foreign policy was to maintain international cooperation with all nations of the world. He stated that the SovietRepublic was willing to support peaceful coexistence and business cooperation between the two political systems: the communism and capitalism. Successors of Malenkov echoed improved relations between the communist countries and the capitalist countries. It is therefore clear that the death of Stalin in 1953 paved way for improvement of the foreign relations between the SovietRepublic, and other countries of the world, including the USA (Brook, 2005).
Perestroika was a communist-based political party, which was established in 1980s by Mikhail Gorbachev, a Soviet leader. The term’ perestroika’ means to restructure. The aim of perestroika political movement was to restructure the economic and political systems of the SovietRepublic in order to promote the effectiveness of socialism (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007). One of the economic policy perestroika was the New Economic Policy, which allowed citizens of the SovietRepublic to own private businesses in the manufacturing, service, and foreign-trade sectors. In the politics, perestroika’s policies included the democratization policy, which introduced election of multi-candidates to local positions. During the mid-1980s, Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the glasnost policy. The term ‘glasnost’ means openness. Glasnost policies were the policies, which Gorbachev believed that they would help end corruption in the SovietRepublic. Such policies included freedom of speech, freedom of the media, and radical change. The main goal of glasnost policies was to enhance transparency in the government, and open communication between the government and the citizens, through increased public debates (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
After the WWII, the USA adjusted its foreign policy towards other countries of the world. As earlier mentioned, before 1945, the USA avoided getting concerned with issues of other countries, specifically those that involved war. However, after 1945, the USA adjusted its foreign policy, to include economic and military cooperation with its allied nations of the world. This approach to foreign relations is what made the American foreign policy to coincide with the European unity. Through the American foreign policy, the USA has been supportive of European integration. Furthermore, the aim of the European Union is to ensure unity among all its member nations of the world. Since America adopted its foreign policy of cooperating with other nations of the world, it has been accessing funds from the European Union to support economic and political integration of nations outside Europe as well as encouraging them to join the European Union, hence contributing to greater European unity (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Among all the member states of the European Union, the United States of America, Brazil, Russia, China, and India can be said to be the current superpowers in the European Union. A nation is deemed a superpower in the European Union if it has the ability to exert economic, political, and military influence over other member states. This ability is measured by economic growth, availability of large markets, military growth, and ability to influence international policies. The United States of America is the largest superpower in the European Union. This is because its GDP over the last five decades has been growing at an increasing rate. It has also managed to maintain global military superiority as well as influence policy formulation in international affairs. However, due the current economic crisis, the USA is likely to lose its leading position as the economic superpower in the European Union to countries such as China and Brazil (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
The Chinese Nationalist Movement was based on diverse ideologies, which included Marxism, American progressivism, the Chinese traditional thinking, and the Russian thought. The movement also included ideologies of the ultra-imperialism. Often, the Chinese Nationalist movement portrayed conflicting manifestations. Some of these manifestations include the Communist Party of China, Fascist blue shirts, and three principles of the people, among others. Nevertheless, the Chinese Nationalist Party mainly supports centralization of the Chinese government. The aim of the movement is to ensure formation of a government structure, which will ensure formation of strong relationship between China and foreign powers, and among all the Chinese people (majority, minority, and overseas Chinese) (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Illyich Lenin, the Soviet leader, and Mao Zedong, the Chinese leader, were leaders of revolutions in their respective nations. Both leaders played significant roles in revolutionizing the lives of residents in their nations through the ideologies of Karl Marx (Marxism). However, their approach to revolution was different. Studies indicate that Mao’s approach towards revolution was rural-based. Mao believed that revolution would not take place without the poor peasants. In addition, he believed that denying the peasants a role in the revolution process was like denying revolution. He allowed the peasants to take the leading positions during the revolution. However, he allowed the urban intellectuals to participate in the revolution through allocating them a few leadership positions (Ram, 1998). On the other hand, Lenin took a capitalist approach to revolution. According to Lenin, capitalism was a precondition for socialism (Ram, 1998). He therefore gave attention to the urban ‘bourgeoisie’ during the early phases of revolution. Lenin termed peasants as mere allies to the revolution. However, after the urban bourgeoisie failed to bring revolution as desired by Lenin, he turned to the peasants, hoping that they would help him achieve his political goals. Nevertheless, Lenin still held his belief that urban workers were the central force to revolution in Russia (Ram, 1998).
Deng Xiaoping was one of the Chinese leaders, who played a great role in economic and cultural revolution in China. His leadership between 1976 and 1992 was very important to China. This is because, when he emerged, immediately after the death of Mao Zedong, the economy of China was suffering a downturn. Deng introduced economic reforms aimed at developing the agriculture, defense, industry, and technology sectors (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007). He replaced the commune system established by Mao with the Household Responsibility System. Under this system, every household was to give an account to the government of what it chose to produce. In additionally, all households were allowed to keep surplus produce for private use. Moreover, Deng introduced political reforms, where all political systems observed the rule of law as opposed to rule based on personal ideologies. After his retirement, he encouraged old leaders to allow the young and energetic leaders to take leadership positions (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
Many regional organizations, which are present in the world today, were established over fifty years ago, after the end of WWII. Such organizations include NATO, OPEC, EU, and WTO. These organizations were formed to ensure economic and political recovery of the nations of the world after destruction of many of the world’s economic and political systems by the world wars. However, in the current world, the role of these organizations is becoming insignificant, specifically due to the effect of globalization. Therefore, these organizations should be replaced with new organization, which has the capacity to foresee economic and political development of the countries of the world under the currently globalized environment.
Over the years, the UN has been playing a critical role of organizing relief efforts across different nations of the world during emergencies. The UN has also been in the forefront in safeguarding the human rights. Through the UN charter, every human being in the world today enjoys various rights and freedoms. For these reasons, the UN stands to overcome possible abolition as compared to other organizations, which were established after WWII. However, the UN should increase its role in ensuring social, political, and economic equality and justice in the world. Currently, many individuals are suffering political, social, and economic injustices as well as inequalities, without receiving much assistance from the UN. Therefore, it should increase its participation in ensuring global justice and equality (Richard, Walter, & Janice, 2007).
According to various researchers and political scientists, it is likely that the world will experience another world war. Treder (2007) observes that even though the world has been experiencing long decades of peace and reduced violence, certain factors are likely to instigate a third world war. Such factors include global climatic conditions and new technologies. Treder (2007) states that more deadly, cheaper, and easily accessible and portable weapons will characterize the future of warfare. Due to rapid advancement in technologies, regional powers will emerge, causing destabilization of the current world’s superpower. Collapse of ecosystems, increased global droughts, crop failure, and increased killer storms, all because of disruption of global climate, will cause tensions among the countries of the world, resulting to regional and international uprisings (Treder, 2007).