Part introductory text

Download 425.1 Kb.
Size425.1 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8


The world of nowadays is a global community of nations, all of which coexist in some measure of political and economic interdependence. By means of rapid communication systems -- radio, television, and computers much of what happens in one place is quickly known almost every­where else. The speed of transportation in modern air­craft also makes it possible for people to get around the globe in hours instead of days or weeks. The modern world community was not, however, created by communications and transportation alone. The present global situation is new to history and owes its origins to a variety of factors that include the great conflict of World War II, the postwar breakdown of colonial em­pires, the long rivalry between the former Soviet Union and the United States, and the fast-growing economic interrelationships of all nations, large and small. Ever since there have been organized political entities variously called states, kingdoms, nations, and countries, there have been relations between them based on eco­nomics (trade) and on politics (war, territorial expansion, and colonization). International relations today encompass the foreign policies of about 200 nation-states and the regional blocs in which some are associ­ated.

By the 1990s the world had become a community of about 200 independent nations, a situation that had never existed before. Some of these nations were huge: Russia, China, Canada, and the United States, while oth­ers were as small as Monaco on the Mediterranean coast. The old empires were history, but a new factor arose to offset them: hegemony, or dominant spheres of influ­ence.
Most of Europe was destroyed both physically and economically by World War II. Even Great Britain, among the victors, was on the brink of financial ruin.

Japan was also devastated. The old colonial societies had not yet begun to throw off their imperial shackles. Only the two superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, were left to aid in rebuilding the world economy.

The World Community, 1945-90

Unfortunately for the world community, the two super­powers emerged from the war in a state of mutual dis­trust and hostility. Each was wary of the other's intents. The United States was concerned that the Soviet Union would expand its influence by incorporating Eastern Europe into its political system, and this is, in fact, what happened. The presence of the Soviet Army in Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Romania, East Germany, and Bulgaria resulted in these nations' becoming Soviet sat­ellites: They fell within the Soviet sphere of influence. The Soviet Union itself, however, was left in rains by the war. That country was fearful that the United States, which at the time was the only nation possessing atomic weapons, would attempt to destroy the Soviet system. Out of this situation of mutual superpower hostility there developed the Cold War, with each of the two nations seeking to enlarge its sphere of influence around the world by forming alliances, offering foreign aid, selling massive quantities of arms, and undermining the gov­ernments of smaller nations. The Cold War never became a hot war between the superpowers, probably only because of the awesome threat of nuclear weapons. American anxieties over Soviet power were greatly in­creased by the success of the Communist revolution in China. After Mao Zedong (Mao Tse-lung) and his followers came to power in 1949, evincing great hostility toward the United States, there was a general fear that the might of international Communism would be impos­sible to contain.

The Cold War, while perhaps the dominant feature of international relations in the late 20th century, was by no means the only important development. All over the world, former colonies were gaining independence. A new world structure was emerging, because these new nations were demanding a role in international politics and were slowly becoming integrated into a growing world economy. Revolutions, some homegrown and some fomented from the outside, were going оn in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America. And perhaps most unsettling of all, the United States lost its monopoly on nuclear weapons; the Soviet Union, the United King­dom, France, China, India, and perhaps others joined the international "atomic club."

The world that emerged in the 1950s had to be described in new terms. It turned out that the community of nations could be divided into four fairly distinct groups, or "worlds." The first world consisted of the United States and its allies, primarily Western Europe and Japan. The second world denoted the Soviet Union and its satellites in Eastern Europe. The third world, actually referred to as "the Third World," consisted of Asian and African nations emerging from colonial status, along with some underdeveloped Latin American states. More specifically, the term has come to mean nonindustrial or developing countries in general. Last, it appeared that there was a fourth world, a group of desperately poor, undeveloped nations that showed few signs of economic life. Notable among this group of countries are Haiti, Somalia, and Mozambique.

The Third World. The number of poverty-stricken and underdeveloped nations was great in the 1950s. Many were just emerging from colonialism. Others had been badly governed for decades. Since I960 the number of worst-case economies has diminished. Africa remains, for the most part, underdeveloped, Latin America, however, has had some dramatic changes as dictatorships gave way to democracies. Mexico proved to be one of the economic miracles of the late 1980s. Brazil, Chile, and Argentina, after decades of misrule, began making significant prog­ress after 1985. In the Far East, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia all showed great signs of economic development by the early 1990s. Even China, long considered the largest Third World society, experienced striking economic growth in its southern regions. The Arab states of the Middle East prospered if they had petroleum reserves. India, the world's second most populous nation, still struggled to free itself from government paternalism, ancient tradi­tions, excessive regulations, and the socialist legacy of its immediate postcolonial years.

Third World leaders in the early Cold War decades real­ized that, acting independently, they could have little impact in international relations. To remedy this, they organized. In April 1955 at Bandung, Indonesia, delegates from 29 countries met in a conference organized by Indonesia, India, Burma (now Myanmar), Pakistan, and Cey­lon (now Sri Lanka). These delegates formed an associa­tion of nations not aligned with either of the two super­powers, although they tended to identify more with the Soviet Union and China than with the democracies. This policy of nonalignment, or neutralism, was strength­ened and advanced by President Tito of Yugoslavia. In September 1961 he hosted a conference of nonaligned nations in Belgrade. The conference, convened by India's Jawaharlal Nehru, Egypt's Carnal Abdel Nasser, and Tito, denounced colonialism, demanded an end to armed action against dependent peoples, endorsed the Algerians in their war for independence from France, and called for a pol­icy of perpetual neutralism between the great powers. As Cold War tensions eased in the 1980s, the nonaligned movement began fading. Many member countries were undergoing economic transformation and wanted to strengthen ties to the industrialized regions the United States, Japan, and Western Europe.
The industrial North. With the exceptions of Australia and New Zealand, the prosperous regions of the globe are in the Northern Hemisphere. The industrial leaders are the United States, Western Europe, and Japan. At the end of World War II, the United States stood alone in industrial might. All of Europe and Japan had been devastated by the war. The Soviet Union was an economic shambles. To rebuild the West and Japan, the United States launched a massive foreign aid program called the Marshall Plan, named after George C. Marshall, who proposed the plan in 1947. During the four-year life of the plan, Western Europe was provided with more than 17 billion dollars in aid for economic reconstruction. Japan was also assisted in rebuilding.

The result of these efforts was an era of unprecedented affluence in the industrialized societies. After the war-torn nations got back on their feet, however, the efforts also produced an era of economic rivalry. As long as the pros­perity lasted, the rivalry was little noticed. But when the oil-producing countries of the Middle East instituted marked increases in prices during the 1970s the economic scene darkened. A worldwide recession, coupled with perpetual inflation, set in.

By the early 1980s the solidarity of the industrial West had weakened as each nation was trying to maintain economic stability amid unfavorable conditions. What did keep them together was their distrust of the Soviet Union. The Eastern bloc nations, led by the Soviet Union, also faced the task of rebuilding after the war. The process took longer because they chose not to be recipients of Marshall Plan funds. And they had always been poorer and less industrialized than the nations of Western Europe.
Worlds in turmoil. The conclusion of World War II ended the drive by Germany, Italy, and Japan for world domi­nation; but the seed of smaller conflicts had already been planted. Even as Japan was evacuating Southeast Asia, Vietnam, under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh, was plan­ning to get rid of French colonialism for good. Vietnam's effort resulted in a long war, a conflict that ended in 1975 with a Communist victory. Instead of rebuilding the re­gion, however, the victors went on to fight among them­selves and to leave Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos in desolation (see Vietnam War).

The Vietnam War was only one of several conflicts that erupted out of the Cold War. Soviet and American power confronted each other in several places, especially in Europe and Korea. The settlement in Europe after World War II not only divided the continent into two hostile factions; it also divided Germany into two countries and Berlin into two cities, This was a source of strife in 1948, when the Soviets instituted a blockade of West Berlin, geographically in the heart of Soviet-occupied territory. West Berlin was rescued dramatically by an airlift of goods and services, and the failed blockade was aban­doned in mid-1949. The hostilities, though, endured until 1989 (see Berlin, Germany; Korean War.) Numerous other Cold-War trouble spots continued to disturb the peace of the world. One of the most notable was in Cuba, where forces led by Fidel Castro staged successful revolution in the late 1950s. Cuba then became a Soviet dependency and hoped to engulf the whole of Latin America in revolution. In the early 1980s much of Central America was torn by conflict, with guerrillas supplied by the Soviet Union and Cuba fighting soldiers armed and trained by the United States. The Cuban threat was at one time aimed directly at the United States. In 1962 it was learned that the Soviet Un­ion had placed in Cuba guided missiles aimed at the United States. This brought on a crisis that was resolved

only when the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, ordered the removal of the missiles.

Not all of the global trouble spots owed their origin to the Cold War, though most of them were affected by it. The most persistent area of conflict since the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 has been the Middle East. There has been relentless hostility, and several wars were fought between the Arab states and Israel.

The wars were all won by Israel, deepening Arab hostili­ties toward both Israel and its major ally, the United States. The Cold War injected itself into the Middle East, when the Soviet Union started supplying some Arab states with weapons; Syria and Iraq were notable examples. Other Muslim nations Saudi Arabia and Jordan among them tried to maintain neutrality in the Cold War. In some cases they openly welcomed aid from the United -States and Western Europe.
New World Order

With a suddenness that no one could have predicted, the Cold War ended in 1990. The most striking symbol of its end was the opening of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 and its subsequent destruction. The end of the Cold War was made possible by the demise of Communism first in Eastern Europe, then in the Soviet Union itself. This amazing event surprised the world, but it had been in the 'making for a long time. The process began on March 6, 1953, the day after the death of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin. The totalitarian state he had ruled for about 30 years was suddenly in the hands of men who were relieved at his departure and unwilling to rule with his style of brutality. In addition, by the end of the dec­ade relations with China had worsened significantly. There was a genuine break between the two countries in the early 1960s. The myth of international Communism was shattered. While maintaining a sure hold over East­ern Europe, the Soviet Union attempted to gain better relationships with the West, particularly the United States. Both superpowers realized the futility of edging toward nuclear war. The internal condition of the Communist societies worsened economically. The persistent shortages of consumer goods, even food, frustrated the citizens of these coun­tries. By the early 1980s it was apparent to the rulers of the Soviet Union that real reform was needed if their country was going to survive. Then, in 1985, a new type of Soviet leader became president of the country: Mik­hail Gorbachev. He recognized the serious economic situation and desired to reform it, while intending to perpetuate control by the Communist party. His plan did not work. Once he allowed freedom of speech, a policy called glasnost, he suddenly watched the whole society reject Communism and demand democracy. Gorbachev also made it clear to the leaders of Eastern European Communist states that Soviet troops would no longer be available to keep them in power. This policy triggered the rapid collapse of Communist regimes in all of Eastern Europe. It began in Poland, spread to Hungary and Czechoslovakia, then spread to East Germany. With the breaching of the Berlin Wall, there was to be no turning back. The rest of the countries of Eastern Europe abandoned Communism within a few months. By Octo­ber 1990 Germany was reunited.

The Cold War was suddenly over. The Warsaw Pact was dissolved. And by the end of 1991 the Soviet Union itself had ceased to exist, breaking apart into its constitu­ent, and bow independent, republics. There remained in „ the world only one superpower, the United States. The end of the Cold War and of Communism did not signal the end of international strife. Old problems re­mained, but they no longer flourished under cover of East-West competition. In the Middle East, for example, the weakness of the Soviet Union after 1989 meant that such warlike states as Iraq and Syria could no longer rely on it for weapons and support. Thus, when Iraq invaded tiny Kuwait in August 1990, it found itself opposed by a whole United Nations (UN) coalition of armed forces including those of Syria. The end of the Cold War had given the United Nations a new lease on life. For the first time in decades the UN was able to take concerted action against a common foe, and it won. The success of the offensive against Iraq rearranged conditions in the Middle East. The United States found itself with new allies and few enemies. This prestige enabled President George Bush and his secretary of state, James Baker, to persuade Israel and its Arab enemies to sit down at the negotiating table to work out a means of living together. The peace talks began in September 1991.

In Southern Europe the collapse of Communism had bred civil war in Yugoslavia. The small nation had been ruled by Tito from 1943 until 1980. His death weakened the bonds that held the six provinces together. Old ethnic hatreds resurfaced. When Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence in mid-1990, the mostly Serbian Yugoslav army invaded, plunging the country into civil war. The war worsened when Bosnia and Herzegovina seceded in 1991. Although the independence of these republics was recognized by the European Communities

(now European Union) and the United States, the fight­ing continued.

In the Far East, the Chinese government rejected democ­racy in June 1989, when it crushed the youth demonstration in Beijing's Tiananmen Square a rebellion that was seen worldwide on television. Yet, in spite of the regime's harshness toward the rebels, it permitted eco­nomic reforms to continue. By 1993 the southern sector of China had one of the fastest growing and most pros­perous economies in the world. Outsiders, mainly in the United States, complained about China's human-rights violations, but they were unwilling to break off relation­ships or impose sanctions on the world's most populous nation.
The Conduct of International Relations Each nation has three foreign-policy goals: physical security the freedom from outside attack and internal revolution; political security the freedom to run its own affairs without outside interference; and economic stabil­ity and development the freedom to trade in world markets and to satisfy its own population’s demands for goods and services.

Nations had always traditionally dealt with each other on a one-to-one basis or in strategic alliances in pursuing these goals. But in the complicated arena of the modern global community, it is more common to work through organizations. To meet the needs of international coop­eration, a vast number of organizations of all types have been created.

Organizations. The most comprehensive international organization was founded in 1945 (he Untied Nations and its many affiliates. Regional associations include the Or­ganization of American States (1948), the Organization of African Unity (1963), the League of Arab States (1945), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (1967). All of these organizations deal with the whole range of politi­cal and economic issues in their areas. The Cold War spawned a number of regional mutual-defense alliances, the best known are the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), formed in 1949, and the Warsaw Pact, signed in 1955. NATO was a military alliance formed to defend Western Europe from the Soviet Union; the Warsaw Pact was the Soviet counter-alliance, ANZUS a security treaty between Australia, New Zealand, and the United States was signed in 1951, The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization was formed in 1954 and dis­banded in 1977.

Many international and regional organizations have evolved to deal with the financial needs of the global community. There are too many to be able to list them all, but some of the leading ones include the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the Caribbean Community, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the African Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.

Foreign policy. All the complex devices and attitudes that a nation develops to use in its interactions with other nations make up its foreign policy. Policy formulation is the responsibility of specific government agencies the United Stales Department of State or the British Foreign Office, for example.

In the United States the direction of foreign policy is the task of the president, though in many matters he must have the approval of the United States Senate, Other agencies also contribute to formulation of policy. Among them are the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, and the Central Intelligence Agency. Since foreign policy in the late 20th century can be quite complex, other agencies may also contribute information. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, for instance, keep abreast of economic conditions in most countries and play a major role in offering foreign aid.

Each national government operates worldwide through its embassies and consulates. An embassy is the highest official representation one nation maintains in another. Normal diplomacy is conducted by ambassadors and their subordinates. Consulates deal primarily with commercial issues and the protection of the economic inter­ests of their nationals. A consul is not a diplomat and therefore cannot take up duties until the host nation grants permission. A nation has only one embassy in a given country, but it may have several consulates.

Task 1. Give the Russian equivalents of the following:

  1. to coexist in some measure of political and economic interdependence

  2. to owe one’s origins to a variety of factors

  3. to be wary of sb’s intents

  4. relentless hostility

  5. to fall within one’s sphere of influence

  6. awesome threat of nuclear weapons

  7. to contain the might of international communism

  8. to foment revolutions from the outside

  9. to have little impact in international relations

  10. an era of unprecedented affluence

  11. economic shambles

  12. to shatter the myth of international communism

  13. the demise of communism

  14. to reject communism

  15. persistent shortages of consumer goods

Task 2. Give the English equivalents of the following:

  1. в считанные часы облететь земной шар

  2. быть на грани финансового краха

  3. взаимное недоверие и враждебность

  4. расширять сферу влияния

  5. сесть за стол переговоров

  6. начать крупномасштабную программу помощи зарубежным странам

  7. экономическая разруха

  8. окончательно избавиться от колониализма

  9. навсегда сохранить руководящую роль коммунистической партии

  10. распад колониальной системы

  11. ввергнуть страну в пучину гражданской войны

  12. воспрянуть духом

  13. действовать сообща против общего противника

  14. удовлетворять потребности населения в товарах и услугах

  15. вызвать к жизни ряд оборонительных альянсов

Task 3. Match the words with their definitions:

  • the effect or influence that an event, situation etc has on someone or something

  • the governing of a country in a manner suggesting a father’s relationship with his children

  • a scene of great disorder; mess

  • one who receives something

  • a group in an organization working in a common cause against the main body

  • a period of reduced business activity; slump

  • to stir up (trouble); to incite

  • to balance or compensate

Task 4. Arrange the words in antonymous pairs:

  1. regional, cold war, poverty, modern, to place (missiles), to approve

  2. affluence, to denounce, ancient, global, to remove, hot war

Task 5. Arrange the words into synonymous pairs:

  1. nonalignment, to denounce, to endorse, to incite, death, confusion, constant, for ever, to place (missiles), concerted (actions), collapse

  2. to condemn, for good, neutralism, turmoil, to deploy, perpetual, joint, to support, to foment, demise, breakdown

Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8

The database is protected by copyright © 2020
send message

    Main page