For more or less half a century, the Cold War conflict shaped international relations and to a large degree influenced the history of individual nations. The Cold War was a global conflict, but specifically it mostly involved the European nations. The cold war period took place in Central Europe.
The war had long been expected and therefore for several years Europeans on either side of the Iron Curtain were ready for a potential apocalyptic conflict, or either ready to prevent one from happening. These preparations and preventative measures, until now inadequately recognized degree, influenced their histories.
International Relations in the Cold War Period (1945-1989)
By far, the most momentous feature of the cold war period is its distinct international relations structure. The Second World War had completely ruined the multi power structure and substituted it with a new structure that was more complex, but presented a threat exceptional in the human history.
The relations that had long been there in the multi-polar system in Europe had started to “decay” before the Second World War ultimately devastated it. After the Second World War, there still existed some differences between the European nations on the way forward to settlement and these disparities were the ones that brought to the fore and set the context for global divergence (Nye 159).
More disparity was evident between United States and the Soviet Union who tried as much as possible not to portray their differences in public because these could turn out to be an end to the human race. Both the nations were well armed with vast nuclear arsenal capable of winding up human civilization.
The two super powers tried as much as possible to nurture back the relationship that was there, and they did this by encouraging an international cooperation between nations. It was also during the same period that the United Nations developed steadily and engaged issues of soft negotiation like poverty, disease and cultural cooperation between nations.
The efforts from both the super power nations and from various scholars was to ensure dominance of policy formulation on international relations, a tendency that would promote power politics through the operation of the multilateral partnerships. This may be said to be an outstanding, but quite noteworthy feature of the international relations in the cold war era. The cold war international relations started to disentangle during the 1970s and 1980s (Nye 123).
International Relations of the 21st Century
The international relations of the 21st century are manifested by ideological conflict evolution into economic and political competition.
Innovative ideologies have materialized to swap the traditional ideology of Marxism and Capitalism. In light of the above, it has also resulted to a relationship between the Asian nations where there is a possibility of playing a role in the economic, political, and cultural context.
The same trend has come into sight in Asia regardless of the economic crisis that had been cut short because of the dominance of Asia coming into birth to replace Western domination in the region. As an outcome, Asian countries have a significant position in world politics and economy (Nye 185).
However, there is a significant change in the contemporary world, as opposed to the cold war period where nations also nurtured relations that had equal powers. Currently, globalization is very dynamic; International relations are not determined by how strong a nation is, but instead the cooperation between nations.
Globalization, in the first place is rendering centralization concept an irrelevant, in which the cold era war was built. There is an increase in the political integration between nations, from Africa to Europe.
Economic interdependent between nations have also been enhanced and the growing global nature of the multinational cooperation has greatly undermined the ability of the states to have an entire control over its domestic economy and economic relations. Social integration is also a great force that has put forth some pressure on the conventional conception of the state.
The state can no longer hide under the veil in pursuit of cultural ‘purity’. Furthermore, the international relations have also enhanced questioning of the member states in case of any emergence of the sociological problems that may be posed by a weakened state (Vogel 235).
Nye, Joseph. Understanding International Conflicts: An Introduction to Theory and History. 3rd ed. Chicago: University Press, 2000. Print.
Nye, Joseph. Power and Interdependence in the Information Age in Understanding International Conflicts. Chicago: Cengage, 2000. Print.
Vogel, Ezra F. Living with China: U.S.-China Relations in the Twenty-First Century. California: University Press, 1997. Print.