By Augusto Hernández Campos
The thirtieth anniversary of the end of the Cold War
It reminds us, in the words of Eric Hobsbawm, the end of the 20th century, the century of the World Wars, as well as the end of the largest and most threatening political conflict in history. The Cold War it was a conflict between U.S and the Soviet Union
on the question of world power relations. Thus, the bipolar conflict system centered on the western (First World) and eastern (Second World) blocks was formed. Then the non-aligned block (Third World) arises. Meanwhile, other actors included the European Union, China and Japan. It is called Cold War
because their political conflict did not become armed, because their armies did not directly clash because of the power of the nuclear arsenal. Hostilities were relegated to proxy wars.
After the Second World War, in 1945 Stalin carried out an expansionist policy (initiated in 1939 with the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact) turning the countries of Eastern Europe into vassals, and threatened the sovereignty of Iran, Greece and Turkey. Since Soviet Russia no longer had its traditional counterweights in Europe and Asia (Germany, England and Japan), this Russian expansion was facilitated. Dismissing a Third World War, U.S
responded with the containment theory, the Marshall Plan and creating NATO. George Kennan wrote in “The Sources of Soviet Conduct” that “it is clear that the central element of any policy of U.S to the Soviet Union must be one containment
long-term, firm and vigilant of Russian expansionary tendencies. ” Thus, the containment theory became the basis of the Truman Doctrine and of American foreign policy throughout theCold War
, with the aim of stopping the expansion of communism and the USSR.Soviet leader Nikita Khrushev expressed: “Regarding capitalist states, whether they like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury them!”. The American historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. had stated in “ The Origins of the Cold War “that “it could have been avoided if only the Soviet Union had not been possessed by convictions both of the infallibility of communist discourse and the inevitability of a communist world. These convictions transformed a stalemate between nation states into a religious war
Nikita Khrushchev during his speech at the UN General Assembly on September 23, 1960. (Photo: AFP)
On the brink of nuclear chaos The Cold War
it threatened to escalate to nuclear war during the Berlin airlift crisis and the Cuban missile crisis. After the Cuban crisis, the Cold War spread to the Third World. The conflict United States-USSR experienced a period of peaceful coexistence, therelaxation
, from the end of the 1960s, in which there were rapprochements between the opposing blocs. Thus, for example, Nixon visited Mao, establishing a Sino-American tactical alliance against the USSR for the remainder of the conflict. For all practical purposes, the Soviet Union
it was alone in the face of the coalition of the major industrial powers plus China. The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan ended the relaxation and began the final and decisive phase of the conflict, the so-called Second Cold War. The Reagan Doctrine implied the rollback and an extension of the theory of containment with the conviction that communism could not only be contained but also defeated. The former Secretary of State of U.S Henry Kissinger wrote inDiplomacy: “The Reagan administration must be given credit for the ultimate victory, as the decisive battles that would lead the Soviet Union to defeat in the Cold War were then fought.
”. The American political scientist Zbigniew Brzezinski, in The Great Board,points out the consequence of the end of the Cold War: “The defeat and collapse of the Soviet Union was the last step in the rapid rise of a power on the American continent, the United States, as the only and the first truly global power.
The fall of the Soviet empire In 1991 a new international political system arises and is configured, which is unipolar in the politico-military with U.S
The USSR fell in 1991. (Photo: AFP) For the younger generations, Cold War
it is history, as can be the campaign of Julius Caesar in Gaul or the Trojan War. As an epilogue, the last words of this 44-year global conflict were uttered by the top leaders of
United States and the USSR.On December 25, 1991, Mikhail Gorbachev announced on television the end of the Soviet Union and the handover of its remaining powers to Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s head of state: “I hereby end my activities in the post of President of the USSR. ”. At 7:45 pm the tricolor flag of Russia
it replaced the Soviet flag in the Kremlin, representing the symbolic end of the USSR. That same day, the president ofU.SGeorge HW Bush, recognized the independence of the new post-Soviet states and declared: “The greatest thing that has happened in the world, in my life, in our lives, is this: By God’s grace, America won the Cold War ”. I had finished the Cold War
and the threat of a nuclear war with the end of the Soviet bloc.
Principal Professor of the UNMSM (University of San Marcos). Emeritus Professor of the CAEN (Center for Higher National Studies).