end of the cold war and the rise of a global society 1

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End of the Cold War and the Rise of a Global Society

Ponder the world in 1961:

John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address in January 1961 called the Cold War “a long twilight struggle.” Until even 1988 few experts believed the Soviet Bloc of Eastern Europe much less the USSR would collapse, yet by the start of 1992 both entities were, as Marxist would say, “in the dustbin of history.”

Why did the Cold War erupt so quickly after the end of World War II and then end so suddenly with the fall of the USSR by the end of 1991?

Why did the Berlin Airlift of 1948 help blunt a Soviet advance in Western Europe?

Why did the 1949 triumph of Communism in China seem to make Communism a world-wide threat?

Why did the USA join with the USSR in demanding that Great Britain and France vacate the Suez Canal after they had occupied it in the fall of 1956?

Why did the rise of Fidel Castro as leader of a Communist Cuba happen?

Why was 1960 the year of “decolonization” around the world?

Why did the USA send over 500,000 troops to South Vietnam by the end of 1965? Why did the “Free World” not stop Communism here as was the case in South Korea?

Why did so many nations in Africa seem to go “Communist” in the late 1970s and 1980s?

Yet why was the death of Mao in late 1976 such a turning point in world history?

How did Mikhail Gorbachev help vindicate President Reagan’s view of the USSR as an “evil empire”?

Why was Boris Yeltsin, after staring down the attempted coup against Gorbachev, unable to transform the new Russian Federation into a Western-style capitalist democracy?

Why did Deng Xiaoping opt economic but not political liberalization?

Did this note lead to the 21st century being the Pacific Century?

What is the argument concerning both the rise of the Pacific as the central locus of the world economy and how this will lead to a global civilization?

How has the transformation of Japan during and after the American occupation resulted in this nation becoming the spark for the development of the Asian economy?

Why is Japan no longer as central for Asian development?

What made the “Little Tigers” surrounding Japan such lively economies after 1970?

Have South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong followed the same path to economic development or been able to create their own particular “niches” in the Asian and world economy?

Why did India, a much larger and more sprawling nation than the more compact Pakistan achieve greater political dynamism and economic growth after both nations emerged from the British Empire in 1947?

What were the strengths and limitations of Deng Xio-Ping’s economically oriented transformation of China after 1980?

Why has China been able to become the second largest economy in the world?

When we began this course the Silk Road was the most important trading route across any continent. Why does China wish to update this “road” today?

Discussion Questions:

One) Why did the USA “win” the Cold War so suddenly at the end of the 1980s?

Two) Has China fully rejected its communist ideology since the 1970s? Or is it trying to achieve communist ideals through capitalist methods?

Three: Despite the recent turn to populism and nationalism around the world, has the vast increase in the global middle class since 2000 ensured that the political turbulence since the Great Recession will be a passing problem as the world achieves the goals of peace and happiness that almost all religious and secular ideologies have worked towards?


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