Dr. Effie Pedaliu

Effie G. H. Pedaliu - Fellow - LSE IDEAS - London School of Economics | LinkedIn

Cold War Historian (Research Fellow at LSE IDEAS; Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Political Economy, KCL)

”The words ‘Cold War’ are bandied around carelessly to describe relations between the US and China. It betrays an intellectually lazy approach to finding an apt term to describe a new type of rivalry between two global rivals in a multipolar international system where economic and social interactions between the two are significant. The current system is devoid of many of the characteristics of the Cold War. States are not destined to fight wars. Decision makers decide to embark on them.

The Cold War between the US and the USSR was a discrete period of history whose legacy is still relevant today. It divided Europe and then it spread throughout the world. Bipolarity stymied meaningful economic, political, cultural interactions between the superpowers and their blocs. Periods of détente were short-lived and their collapse led to more hostility. Cold War antagonism shaped not only the international system but also the domestic and economic development of states – even whole regions – in ways that are still evident. It was during this period that nuclear weapons were developed and nuclear arsenals built. Deterrence and avoidance of frontal war led to “proxy wars” that have embedded instability in many areas of the world. The ‘rules based order’ was constructed during the Cold War as were all the organisations that facilitate global cooperation. Today’s human rights and security institutions have their roots in that period. European Integration gained a new impetus and matured enough at this time so that the EEC was able to evolve into the EU, develop into a major international actor in the post Cold War period that would undertake to heal the Cold War rift on the Continent.

Understanding how and why the Cold War began, was prosecuted and ended and with what repercussions is an exciting topic to study especially for those who wish to understand how the world they live in came about and how contemporary international politics emerged.”



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