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Which is the more satisfactory explanation of peace between the USSR and the USA during the Cold War: bipolarity or nuclear deterrence?

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Introduction

Which is the more satisfactory explanation of peace between the USSR and the USA during the Cold War: bipolarity or nuclear deterrence? Introduction The Cold War was 'fought' between the United States of America and the Soviet Union over a six decade period from the 1940s - 1990s. The war remained 'cold' due to a number of factors. One of the main factors was that of bipolarity. However this is not a factor which stands alone. Bipolarity was reinforced by nuclear deterrence which kept the peace between the two superpowers over the Cold War period. Bipolarity Bipolarity is a system whereby two individual or groups of states compete against each other for power and supremacy. The two main antagonists in the Cold War were the United States of America and the Soviet Union. They competed against each other on a multitude of things including economic systems, political systems, and military strategies. However this competition never escalated into direct war between the two due to the tight bipolarity which existed between the United States and the Soviet Union. They were inextricably linked together. Kenneth Waltz suggested that multipolar systems are less stable than bipolar systems. ...read more.

Middle

The period before the d�tente seemed to be hopeful in the search for peace. There was a policy of coexistence which was adopted by Khrushchev. From 1953 onwards he persued a policy of peaceful coexistence with capitalism and the United States. However his policy was somewhat contradictory with attempts to seek the increase the Soviet Union's power in places where the opportunity presented itself. These areas included Hungary, Cuba, Egypt and Berlin. The d�tente which proceeded the period of coexistence was a period of co-operation between the superpowers. Leonid Brezhnev explained that the d�tente meant the "transition to normal, smooth relations among states."1 He also went on to say that there should be a willingness to resolve "differences and disputes not by force, threats or sabre rattling, but by peaceful means at the negotiating table"2 This positive rhetoric symbolised the period with the United States and the Soviet Union having some degree of trust between them. Henry Kissinger also wished to see an environment whereby "competition (led) to co-operation."3 Nuclear Deterrence Nuclear deterrence played a major part in the Cold War as it reinforced the bipolar structure. Deterrence can be explained by being able to persuade a potential enemy to abandon it's attempt to increase it's power "by making it appear to him ...read more.

Conclusion

Both saw defeat as a non starter s therefore neither was willing to initiate proceedings. The United States did have the chance to destroy the Soviet Union with it's nuclear arsenal before 1949. However they chose not to which could be viewed as restraint on their behalf. The more satisfactory explanation of peace between the USSR and the USA during the Cold War is bipolarity. However this is not taken by itself. Nuclear deterrence reinforced the theory behind bipolarity. Bipolarity was the main factor because the two superpowers matched each others strength and military capabilities. The d�tente which occurred was a period where there was co-operation between the two and strengthened the case for bipolarity. Nuclear deterrence backs up the claim that bipolarity is the more satisfactory explanation since each superpower had some sort of balance in their arsenals. Each was afraid to take part in a nuclear war since total annihilation is inevitable. Bipolarity is the more satisfactory explanation overall in the context of peace between the two superpowers during the Cold War. 1 L. Brezhnev, Moscow News (21 January 1979) 2 L. Brezhnev, Moscow News (21 January 1979) 3 H. Kissinger (1968) 4 T. C. Schelling, The Strategy Of Conflict ?? ?? ?? ?? WP9 Hazel Smith Gino Fernandes 6 ...read more.

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