Turbulent Peace: The United States Role in a Dynamic World
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC INST FOR NATIONAL STRATEGIC STUDIES
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The current, if uneasy, harmony that exists among the great powers was fostered by the collapse of communism as a militant ideology, by the emergence of economics as a primary emphasis of governments, by nuclear weapons, which made war exceedingly dangerous, and by the spread of democracy. Democratic great powers favor the tranquility of the post-Cold War era and they are unlikely to seek dramatic change. One development that could change the status quo is European political unity, which would almost inevitably exclude Russia however, such unity is unlikely in the near term. Russia and China, the great powers that are not fully or irrevocably democracies, are the great post-Cold War question marks. Political uncertainty and the continuing vibrancy of nationalism, combined with irredentist claims, mean that the need to rally political support at home can lead to assertive international rhetoric and action. Conflicts within and between peripheral states are the source of most turbulence in todays world. Most of these conflicts have little real importance to the great powers. However, nuclear proliferation among peripheral states is a source of instability the great powers cannot overlook.
- Government and Political Science