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Essay Paper on The Cold War

…The end of the Cold War came with shocking rapidity. It was not intended by any of the three main players: the leadership of the CPSU, the American administration or the government of the FRG. The US government continued to believe in the long haul. The governments of West and East Germany continued to operate the system of coexistence negotiated in the early 1970s. The leadership of the CPSU also believed in the long haul. Yet some members of the Politburo were convinced that the Soviet Union needed to restructure its economy in order to guarantee its survival as a superpower.

In November 1988 George Bush was elected to succeed Ronald Reagan as President. In its first few months the Bush administration was passive as it considered its options. Some of his foreign-policy team, led by the Deputy National Security Adviser, Robert Gates, counselled caution. In February 1988, when he had been deputy director of the CIA, Gates had argued that: ‘while changes under way offer opportunities for the United States and for a relaxation of tensions, Gorbachev intends improved Soviet economic performance, greater political vitality at home, and more dynamic diplomacy to make the USSR a more competitive and stronger adversary in the years to come.’ In office, he maintained that Gorbachev was an aberration. He would be succeeded by an old-style leader and the United States would need to prepare for a new Cold War. At times he managed to convince his immediate superior, Brent Scowcroft, that Gorbachev’s foreign policy was still based on peredyshka, i.e., gaining a breathing space to reconstruct Soviet power. As late as February 1990 the national security team were suspicious. Their Soviet specialist, Condoleeza Rice told a meeting: ‘We keep telling them to knock it off, but the Soviets are still putting military equipment into the Third World. So why, given all this, should we help them?’ In September 1989 this line was articulated by Deputy The Bush administration chose the Moscow road, an essentially negative policy. In January 1988 Kissinger had suggested that the United States should negotiate with the Soviet Union on the basis that if the Soviets eschewed the use of force in Eastern Europe, the United States would not exploit indigenous political and economic developments or threaten Soviet security interests there. In particular, there would be no attempt to entice countries, and especially East Germany, to leave the Warsaw Pact. Bush allowed Kissinger to expound these ideas to Gorbachev in January 1989.

Bush made an interesting statement: ‘It’s tempting to say, “Wouldn’t it be great if the Soviet Empire broke up?” But that’s not really practical or smart is it?’ In July 1989, when Bush visited Poland, he told his audiences that cooperation with the Soviet Union should continue. ‘We’re not here to make you choose between East and West . . . we’re not here to poke a stick in the eye of Mr Gorbachev; just the opposite — to encourage the very kind of reforms that he is championing and more reforms.’ As a result of Bush’s caution he was overtaken by events in Eastern Europe and muscled aside as the arbiter of the Cold War by Helmut Kohl. There is little doubt that the Cold War came to an end as the result of Soviet economic failure. This failure led in turn to a failure of nerve amongst the Soviet governing élite. Mikhail Gorbachev believed that the USSR could no longer engage the Western alliance in competition at all levels whilst attempting to restructure its own economy. He attempted to redefine this problem by insisting on the Soviet Union’s superpower status on the diplomatic level. Although he won considerable admiration in the West, neither the Reagan nor the Bush administrations in the United States or, in the end, the Kohl government in West Germany, were willing to indulge this fantasy.

Geroge Bush personified the beginning of a new epoch in world power. End of Cold war became a logical end to the Evil Empire. Cold War threatened not only security of the two countries but the entire world…


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