The End of the Cold War

Term Paper
Xu Peiyao

To what extent does the period 1989-2000 bear out the
assertion that the end of the Cold War represented a victory
for the United States?
The fall of iron curtain in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, in a
sense, indeed represented a victory for the U.S. given its overwhelming political, ideological,
cultural and economic dominance in an unipolar, unbalanced world. However, such power is
limited considering the outright rejection or skepticism of its political and ideological
concepts at home and abroad. Moreover, the demise of Soviet Union gave chance to the the
emergence of new centers of power that are both willing and able to challenge and
undermine U.S. dominant influence The essay will try to argue that the U.S. did win the Cold
War but not entirely; on the contrary the end of Cold War has created new rivals and
arguably a more challenging world order for the U.S.
To start with, the word “victory” must be understood in the global context. For many
decades, the Cold War had been seen in the light of a zero sum game; hence one side’s loss
apparently meant the victory of the other power. Nevertheless, the exceptional power of the
United States and an increasingly frustrated Russia were all framed by a third theme: the
political, military, religious and economic fragmentation of the global system. Hence, the
essay will focus on how the predominance of the U.S. alters given the complication of the
world order and the multiplication of international actors that ensued from the end of the
Cold War.
First and foremost, the end of the Cold War meant the abandonment of communism and
hence validated the superiority and legitimacy of the contrasting ideology- liberal capitalism,
the system of government that the U.S. stands for, representing a ideological and political
victory of the U.S. The collapse of USSR not only meant the demise of a superpower but
also all that it stood for- Communism,...