Luke Thrumble

Luke Thrumble (@Luke_Thrumble) / X

PhD Candidate in History of British Foreign Policy (University of Nottingham)

”More than any other historical subject, the Cold War sets the stage for the state of international relations today. Whether it’s Russian revanchism on the rise, the Chinese ascent to global power status, perennial calamity in the Middle East, or the erosion of Western-style democracy around the world, the contours of the Cold War loom high in the rear-view mirror. In particular, we should pay attention to the way the conflict ended: with a victory for the West, undoubtedly, but a victory which has turned out to be far less total, and far less global, than many had anticipated in 1991. The fall of the Iron Curtain was rightly hailed all around the Western world, but a victory for democracy in Berlin was twinned with a defeat in Beijing, and it is there that we can catch a glimpse of something else on the horizon. The fall of the Berlin Wall and the massacre of protesters at Tiananmen Square in 1989 marked the beginning of a new divergence between East and West which has persisted into the present day, and one which shall long endure. Though the victory of the market over the Soviet-style command economy was key consequence of the Cold War, the battle between liberal democracy and authoritarianism remains to be decided, and consequently a good knowledge of ideological conflict in the twentieth century will serve us well in the twenty-first.”



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