Posted: July 19th, 2023

The Cold War, and the U.S. And Asia and Globalization

Cold War and Globalization


What was meant by the Cold War? Before defining the cold war, authors Bentley and Ziegler go into great depth to lay the foundation for the origins of the Cold War. More than sixty million people perished during WWII (965), including twenty million Soviets, fifteen million Chinese, six million Poles, four million Germans, two million Japanese, three hundred thousand Americans and four hundred thousand English. The Holocaust, meantime, resulted in the slaughter of nearly six million Jews of European ancestry.

At the end of WWII, approximately eight million Germans fled their native land to apparently avoid the torture they believed they would receive at the hands of the marauding Soviets, who “pillaged and raped with abandon in Berlin” (966). On top of those eight million people who were displaced, there were an estimated twelve million prisoners of war of both German and Soviet extraction “making their way home,” and in addition were the “survivors of work and death camps and three million refugees from the Balkan lands.” Where would these people wind up? And whose side would they be on, as the new boundaries would play out?

To lay the groundwork for the post-war boundaries that would be drawn, it is important to know that Hitler believed he would win the war because he couldn’t imagine an alliance of America, England, and the communist Soviet Union. But war and politics make “strange bedfellows,” as the saying goes, and Hitler was in error.

Meantime, during the last days of the war, it was clear that Stalin wanted to conquer much of Eastern Europe for his own empire-building scheme, and he did just that. And even though the Yalta conference in February 1945 was a place to keep the glue in place that cemented the allies against the Nazis, Stalin had his way, and there was no way he would be turned away from his passion to install communism in the territories his armies had conquered.

To begin with, the Soviets took the eastern parts of Germany, and the U.S., Britain and France occupied the western sections of Germany. Right there were post-war tensions set up ready to be played out. And when U.S. President Harry Truman issued his “Truman Doctrine” on the 12th of March, 1947, the beginnings of the Cold War were seen very clearly. Truman (967) described what American wanted for the territories it was in control of in Europe as: “…based upon the will of the majority…distinguished by free institutions, representative government, free elections, guarantees of individual liberty, freedom of speech and religion, and freedom from political oppression.”

The “second way of life” Truman described was based on “the will of a minority forcibly imposed upon the majority.” That minority will “relies upon terror and repression, a controlled press and radio, fixed elections, and the suppression of personal freedoms.” So, even though the Soviets worked hand-in-hand with America to crush Hitler, now it was a whole new ballgame in Europe. America sent “vast sums of money to Greece and Turkey,” and the world was “polarized into two armed camps,” those supported by the U.S. And those under control of the communist Soviet Union.

America also sent $13 billion to “reconstruct western Europe” under the Marshall Plan in 1948. In 1949, the U.S. established NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), which in effect, was the military coalition to attempt to stem Soviet aggression in Europe. To offset that alliance, the Soviets established the “Warsaw Pact” – which included a military group of seven communist Eastern European nations – and the cold war was on.

The word “cold” is used (968) as a definition to indicate that there were no bullets fired for the most part; rather, the cold war was “characterized by ideological and propaganda campaigns,” particularly when the Soviets joined the atomic power club (1949) hitherto the exclusive domain of the U.S. (The Cold War did heat up considerably in the period 1950-1953, during the Korean Conflict between the U.S. And communists.)

What would be the reasons for the Soviet Union the U.S. To believe that the other one started the cold war? Once peace was established in Europe and Asia, the “one-time partners [America and the Soviets] increasingly sacrificed cooperation for their own national interests” (975). This is historically logical that they would do that, because the authors point out that it is a long-standing tradition for warring nations to take control of the territories they have conquered. And so, dividing up the “spoils” as it were, after defeating the Nazis, was a natural occurrence for both sides, and after all, “At the heart of the cold war lay an ideological conflict between capitalism and communism” (976).

Finger-pointing as to who started the cold war was not a surprising dynamic when one considers that after the fall of Hitler, Berlin was initially divided up into sectors for administration (cooperative) purposes; but when cooperation between communists and capitalists broke down, both sides retreated to their political and ideological hard lines. The “iron curtain” (as Churchill defined it) forced peoples inside it to adhere to the armies under Moscow’s control, while those outside it were obliged to line up behind the capitalist genre.

How did the cold war affect international relations? One way in which the cold war affected other nations was the deep-rooted ideological conflict between the U.S. And the Soviets – in particular how that conflict played out world-wide. “The cold war became global in scale as the superpowers came into conflict…in Korea and Cuba” (975). Moreover, those two superpowers “competed for allies in Asia, Africa, and Latin America…” And also, “decolonization – the relinquishing of colonial possessions [by powers such as England, France, Holland, Spain and Portugal] – contributed significantly to the global political transformation” after the war. These new free nations were recruited of course by both the U.S. And Soviet Union, and that affected international relations.

Another way in which the cold war affected international relations was in the “arms race” between the two superpowers. “Both sides began to amass enormous arsenals of thermonuclear weapons and develop a multitude of systems for deploying those weapons” (980). This seemingly insane drive for “mutually assured destruction” involved other nations, of course, because non-aligned countries hoped to stay out of the fracas (should there be a war where nuclear weapons were used), and even aligned countries lived in the fear of being blown away by these destructive weapons.

What is meant by globalization? To add the views of other experts – and move away from the Kevin Reilly text for a time – it may be useful to first define the term. When you type in “Globalization” to the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, it brings up “Globalize” – which it defines as “to make global; to make worldwide in scope and application.” Economies have become more and more global over the past few years, mainly due to the fast pace of the growth of technology – in particular the expansion of the Internet, new trade agreements, and faster means of transporting goods.

The consequences of this transformation of the world are many and varied.

According to the Chairman of the “Fed” (the U.S. Federal Reserve Board) Alan Greenspan, because of “lowering of trade barriers, deregulation and increased innovation, cross-border trade” in recent years has been expanding “at a far faster pace” than have gross domestic products (GDPs).

Greenspan, speaking to the Conference on Bank Structure and Competition in May, 2004, said that domestic economies are “increasingly exposed to the rigors of international competition and comparative advantage,” and “in the process, lower prices for some goods and services produced by our trading partners have competitively suppressed domestic price pressures.”

Another factor in the “decline of world economic volatility,” Greenspan continued, is the “pronounced fall in inflation, virtually worldwide” over the past two decades. Globalization as well as innovation, Greenspan explains, “Far more than in earlier decades, appears to explain the events of the past ten years” much more effectively than other concepts put forward to try to explain the economic progress worldwide.

Will a full globalization – where finance and trade are “driven solely by risk-adjusted rates of return and risk is indifferent to distance and national borders” – will not likely be obtained, Greenspan predicts. But, he quickly adds, there is no way to really know how far globalization will take off, because “so much of our recent experience” has little or no precedent to compare with.

Speaking of technology – and the Internet in particular – Greenspan believes that managers can now organize workforces without the “redundancy required in earlier decades,” an idea which ensures some against human error. “Real-time information” (e.g., the Internet) has reduced waste on production lines, has eliminated those silly human mistakes, and hence, reduced errors in “all forms of record-keeping.”

Some consequences of globalization that need to be considered too, are the environmental considerations, the affect on gender relations, and racial issues, and those issues are being discussed – with some great degree of contentiousness in some parts of the globe – and debated constantly.

The terrible problems of Africa, for example, with AIDs running rampant and starvation (famine) and wars taking a huge tool, need to be taken into account when the globalization issues are being faced. An article in Foreign Policy (March-April 2004) points out that “bringing Africa into the fold [of globalization] has been one of the most daunting challenges of the globalization process.”

In Africa, where there already is a level of poverty unseen in other parts of the world, economies were affected by “economic misfortunes worldwide in 2002,” which offered “little relief for the region.” In fact, “financial flows to Africa dried up, in tandem with declining global investment.” And in contrast to a more rapid growth rate in other parts of the world, “Africa saw some technological connections retreat,” the article continues.

Although the number of Internet users grew in Africa, “Internet hosts actually declined in a few key countries such as South Africa, where new security measures [online measures] and government regulations forced many small providers out of business.”

Still, notwithstanding the retreat in online technologies, Africa “continues to be along the world’s top recipients of government aid and worker remittances relative to economic size.” International tourist arrivals in Africa grew at about 3% per year, which helps the economies of those struggling nations.

The Foreign Policy article mentions that “results [of globalization] in previous years challenged the conventional wisdom” on such topics as “income equality, wages, environmental protection, corruption, and political freedom.” How did those results show that? “…On par, the most global nations are also those with the strongest records of equality, the most robust protection for natural resources, the most inclusive political systems, and the lowest [rates of] corruption.”

Some of the fears of those who protest globalization at World Trade Organization meeting around the world have mentioned that workers wages are being cut, and social benefits are being slashed, by some nations heavily into globalization.

The Foreign Policy article rebuts those contentions. “There appears to be little proof that global nations have trimmed social benefits or slashed workers’ wages in an effort to get ahead.” Indeed, most global nations are those “where residents live the longest, healthiest lives,” and alluding to the gender issue, which this paper is committed to addressing, the global nations are where “women enjoy the strongest social, educational, and economic progress,” the article asserts.

Some countries have a lot of work to do though before they join the globalization nations’ record of success; those nations are at the “bottom ten” of the survey conducted by Foreign Policy: Iran, India, Egypt, Indonesia, Venezuela, China, Bangladesh, Turkey, Kenya, and Brazil. Those nations, in fact, accounted for more than 50% of the world’s population in 2002.

In fact, not one country from Africa, East Asia, Latin America, or the Middle East made the “top 20” of the Foreign Policy Globalization Index. A couple of the bottom ten nations – Bangladesh and Indonesia – are so politically instable and suffer from so much political corruption, that they discourage foreign investment, and also, tourism.

What the survey also found was that the non-economic drivers of “global integration,” like telephone technology and travel, “remained remarkably resilient in 2002, while access to the Internet worldwide continued to surge.”

The biggest threats to globalization in 2002 – heightened travel alerts resulting from 9/11 and other terrorist acts subsequent to 9/11, stringent new security measures at airports around the world, a major strike by dock workers “at the busiest port in the U.S.,” a series of massive corporate scandals in places like Europe and the U.S., financial market fallout from Argentina’s freefall – still did not stop globalization from growing in its influence.

The most powerful “accelerator” for the continuing march of globalization, as one might expect, was the World Wide Web. More than “130 new Interact users came online in 2002, bringing the total to more than 620 million.” That represents only 9.9% of the total world population, but the growth rate brought it up from 8.1% the year before.

By at least one estimate, the World Wide Web now contains “a volume of information that is 17 times larger than the print collections of the U.S. Library of Congress,” an amazing statistic, to say the least.


Bentley, Jerry H.; & Zeigler, Herbert F. (2000). Traditions & Encounters: A Global

Perspective on the Past. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Foreign Policy (2004). Measuring globalization: economic reversals, forward momentum. 54-70.

Greenspan, Alan (2004). Creating Marketing Opportunities for People Worldwide.

Global Envision.

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