a safer world than the bipolar world of the Cold War?
May 30, 2007
American President George Bush senior had argued that the end of the Cold War would bring changes of biblical proportions. He declared a new world order where diverse nations would be drawn together in a common cause. They would achieve the universal aspirations of mankind. Bush’s Secretary of State, James Baker, welcomed an era full of promise, an era of rare transformation in world history. His successor in the Clinton administration was left with heroic possibilities. Warren Christopher declared they stood on the brink of shaping a new world of extraordinary hope and opportunity.1 They were all wrong.
The Cold War was a period of conflict, tension, and competition between the United States and the Soviet Union and their allies from the mid 1940s until the early 1990s. It included the Korean War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Vietnam War which were all crises that threatened to escalate into a world war but never did. A state of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) existed during the Cold War assuring neither power would engage in a hot war; the outcome was destruction on both sides. The Cold War ended in the late 1980s and the Soviet Union was dissolved in 1991 leaving the United States as the sole remaining superpower. The Post-Cold War era has the United States spearheading globalization with an aggressive foreign policy. The most notable and world changing event in the new era was 9/11 and the destruction of the World Trade Centre. This has lead to a climactic clash of civilizations between Islam and the West. There is a sharp increase in terrorism and anti-Americanism globally due to the war in Iraq. Nuclear proliferation is also on the rise with countries like North Korea and Iran quickly proliferating. The result is a far more dangerous world in the Post-Cold War era.
What makes the Post-Cold War era different from Cold War era? The biggest difference is the change in global politics. The Cold War was an era of bipolarity, or two opposing superpowers who balance each other. The rivalry led to advancements in technology in order to gain an advantage over the competition. With the fall of the Soviet Union, global politics were radically changed. The world was now led by a single hegemon, the United States. A hegemon or unipolar superpower is a country that is virtually unopposed globally by any other single nation. Simply put, the United States is “number one.” No other nation can equal America’s hard power, which is economic and military strength. Other direct legacies of the Cold War include technology such as the intercontinental nuclear weapon as well as the internet. The end of the Cold War ushered in a new era of danger and responsibility for the United States.
American hegemony in the Post-Cold War era creates a more perilous world than the bipolar world of the Cold War due to a clash between western civilizations and other civilizations, unipolar globalization, and nuclear proliferation worsened by global terrorism.
In his 1993 Foreign Affairs article, Samuel P. Huntington theorized that since the ideological struggles were over, the new age of warfare would involve cultural conflict. Huntington himself has admitted that at a superficial level, Western civilization has permeated most of the world. The Western civilization may be the one universal civilization that fits all men.2 The Cold War was far more dangerous in this respect due to the conflict between Western and Russian ideals that literally covered the globe. The end of the Cold War marked the victory for this ideal and the end of a dangerous global conflict. Examples in history have shown a clash of civilizations simply is not going to happen and culture will not be the main source of conflict. While some civilizations in the past were expansive, like the Western and Islamic civilizations, many with the capability to conquer other civilizations and start dangerous conflicts did not. The Ming Chinese sent naval expeditions as far as the East African coast with no interest in conquest. China, Egypt, and Mesopotamia were all civilizations that did not invade other civilizations.3 Given current global conditions, why would any civilization attack another?
Innate hostility between civilizations being the source for conflict may also be untrue. During World War II, Russians were welcomed as allies against the Germans and the Japanese were welcomed as allies against the other Westerners. Despite their differences in culture, different cultures were able to fight together.4 The Cold War also held a greater potential for dangerous conflict due to the indirect involvement of either superpower in every country’s affairs. In the Post-Cold War world, conflict is ideally solved by the UN which represents every civilization in the world. Cultural or religious differences simply are not as important as national interest. Countries are more concerned about what is best for their citizens, not what is best for their civilization.5
Conflicts have almost always occurred at the borders between civilizations. The Islamic civilization fighting the Hindu, Western, and Russian civilizations is an example of this type of conflict. While it can be seen as a clash of civilizations, these intercivilizational conflicts are no different then the great power conflicts. France fought multiple wars with its European rivals while allying itself to the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans in turn invaded other Islamic states. None of these conflicts had anything to do with culture; great powers were simply expanding their influence and acquiring more power. With the United States being the sole superpower, the Cold War was far more dangerous. The United States can now exert its influence virtually unopposed. A clash of civilizations may not be occurring.6
Huntington predicted that “The centuries-old military interaction between the West and Islam is unlikely to decline. It could become more virulent.”7 He was right. September 11, 2001 marked not only the beginning of a new conflict, but the continuation of an old hatred. The Western and Islamic civilizations are clashing. What made this attack so important is that it was the first intercivilizational encounter between Islamic and Western forces occurring outside the Islamic Civilization. The use of a new low-tech tactic in the United States has created a great amount of fear and more importantly, danger. There is no competent defence against another similar terrorist tactic, leaving a high potential for a second attack. The danger also lies in the inability of supposed superior Western forces to effectively strike against the attacker.8 Americans are turning away from their government’s war in Iraq. Despite President Bush’s insistence that terrorism is the work of a tiny handful of extremists, the citizens of America more and more are coming to believe that Islam really is inherently hostile to democracy and the West.9 In order to understand what the clash of civilizations is, it is important to understand what a civilization constitutes.
According to Huntington, a civilization is a cultural entity. Villages in Southern and Northern Italy, while different, share the same culture. Italy and Germany also have some differences, but again share the same culture. Europe and North America represent the largest parts of this civilization. They do not, however, share the same culture as an Arab country or Asian country. China and Iraq are members of different civilizations. What make these different civilizations so dangerous are the innate differences. Everything from religion to acceptable etiquette differs from civilization to civilization. While the Cold War involved just a difference in political ideals, the clash of civilizations involves a difference in unchangeable qualities. A Russian can become democratic, but an Asian cannot become a North American. In an increasingly smaller world, civilization identity is becoming more important. The more people define themselves in ethnic and religious terms, the more they will see an “us” versus “them” between themselves and different people. Inevitably, this clash is occurring on both a small and large scale. The smaller scale clash is occurring on fault lines, or the borders between civilizations, while the larger scale clash is occurring between countries of the different civilizations.10
The idea that a clash of civilizations is not occurring is absurd. The Western culture being the universal culture for all people is untrue. The West is convinced that their culture will universally fit all, and that their superiority gives them the obligation to spread their culture throughout the world. Now that they are no longer held back by the Soviet Union, the West is exerting its influence globally in an attempt to spread democracy, a Western ideal. What makes this even more dangerous is the Islamic civilization. Islamic peoples are convinced that their culture is superior. The obvious result of Western and Islamic interaction can be seen in the Iraq War.11 Given the long history of violence between the Western and Islamic civilization, any historic examples of civilizations that may not have approached each other aggressively is completely irrelevant. Another example includes Archie Roosevelt’s comment, “Much of Russian history concerns the struggle between Slavs and the Turkish peoples on their borders, which dates back to the foundation of the Russian state more than a thousand years ago.”
Although civilizations were able to work together, as seen in the Second World War, innate hostilities exist and are the source for many conflicts. One of the most violent and lengthy conflicts is between Israel and the Islamic civilization. Since its creation, Israel has been drenched in blood due to the vast religious differences.12 Since the end of the Cold War, violence against Muslims in European countries, such as Italy, France, and Germany, has increased dramatically.13 These are just small examples of the clash that is occurring due to the ancient hatred felt by Western Christianity and Islam. There has also been a reawakening of Orthodox Christian-Islamic hostilities since the end of the Cold War. Examples of Post-Cold War conflicts that have occurred include Bosnia and Sarajevo, violence between Serbs and Albanians, the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, conflict between Ossetians and Ingush, the slaughter of both Armenians and Azeris, and the tense relations between Muslims and Russians in central Asia.14 The Hindu-Islamic clash is re-intensifying not only with the rivalry between India and Pakistan, but also with violent acts such as the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in December 1992. These conflicts also disprove the idea that cultural conflicts are actually great power conflicts. While some conflicts between civilizations occur because of material gain, it is obvious the vast majority of these conflicts have more to do with inherit differences and nothing to do with material gain.
Since the end of the Cold War, numerous fault-line wars have already begun. Civil wars are raging in the Philippines, East Timor, Tibet, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Chechnya, Yugoslavia, and Sudan. By 1996 alone, the casualties in these conflicts had reached as much as two-and-a-half million. The conflicts involved every Eurasian civilization, the most common conflict being Christian versus Muslim.15 What makes Islamic violence particularly dangerous in the Post-Cold War era is the emergence of the internet which gives the terrorists the ability to spread their philosophies and techniques to other Muslims, such as the broad circle of those who are supportive or protective of terrorists and the larger number of Muslims who share many of the terrorists' religious perceptions.16 More importantly, the terrorist insurgency is growing even larger due to the hatred generated within the population of 1.3 billion Muslims as the United States continues to inflict widespread violence.17
Much of the growing hatred is again the fault of religious and therefore cultural differences. While Christianity has been uniquely placed further away from culture than any other religion, Islam is still considered a strong, integral part of the Islamic civilization. As a result, it must be respected in the new world order. Unfortunately, the United States simply cannot enforce any American ideals since it would contradict the Islamic culture. Put in purely religious terms, Islam and Christianity cannot coexist. Under Sharia law, Christian missionary work is forbidden and those that turn away from Islam are sentenced to death. What makes this particular situation especially dangerous is the fact that most Christians are poor blacks living in Africa.18 Widespread religious conflict that may have been kept in check during the Cold War is inevitable.
Given the war in Iraq, the United States has already realized that in order to defeat the insurgency, they must win on the battlefield and win the war over the minds of the Islamic people. The West must engage in all-out war. Not since World War II has such a reality been necessary. The loss of life will be far greater than that seen during the Cold War, leaving this era as more dangerous.
Although it is not often spoken of, globalization in the Cold War era was very dangerous. The strategic balance between the United States and the Soviet Union was very global. It created global alliances that resulted in proxy wars which were really fought between the two superpowers.19 The most obvious danger posed by proxy wars was the constant fear of death faced by both the soldiers fighting the war and the citizens living in the war torn countries. Globalization made it possible for the United States to enter Vietnam in an attempt to “liberate” them from communism. Instead, the war led to massive loss of life and destruction for both the United States and Vietnam.20 If there was no bipolar globalization, the United States simply would not have seen a threat posed by a communist Vietnam.
These proxy wars could have also easily led to a catastrophic hot war between the United States and the Soviet Union. From October 22 to October 28, 1962, the world was dangerously close to a nuclear holocaust.21 The Cuban Missile Crises occurred when the Soviet Union, who was allied with the faraway Cuba, placed Soviet missile installations on the island nation. After careful consideration, President Kennedy demanded the Soviets remove all missiles from Cuba and blockaded the island. The Soviets, who were dangerously close to launching their nuclear missiles, decided to agree. A nuclear war was narrowly avoided. If the United States had chosen to invade Cuba, the Soviet Union would have launched their missiles.22 Even though a proxy war did not actually occur, it is obvious how dangerous the bipolar alliances were. The Soviet Union’s alliance with Cuba allowed them to place a threat right on the America’s doorstep. Globalization in this case nearly led to the destruction of civilization. The idea of global destruction also does not exist outside of a globalized world. The Cold War was the first time where there was a danger of the entire world coming to an end. Never before did a single nation have the power to end all life on Earth. Clearly, the Cold War was a dangerous era.
One of the worst results of the fall of the Soviet Union was the effect it had on globalization. Despite the positive effects it should have had, like the end of the nuclear standoff, it left the world in a more precarious and dangerous state. Globalization was now superimposed onto the world by a single superpower. The negative effects of globalization are not a result of globalization itself, but the dark side of American predominance.23 Three major problems have occurred as a result of unipolar globalization.
The first major problem is that above a certain threshold of power, the rate at which new global problems are generated will exceed the rate at which old problems are fixed.24 In global politics, power does two things. While it enhances the capability of a state do things, it also creates more things the state must worry about. It is the law of diminishing returns. Powerful states have large spheres of influence whose economic and security interests touch every region of the world. As a result, they are threatened by things going wrong anywhere. This is very true for the United States who has the ability to go anywhere and do virtually anything but with massive debt as a result. Historically, the law of diminishing turns occurs long before a great power dominates the globe, as seen with the Roman Empire. It is only a matter of time before the United States reaches the point of unsustainability and declines. With issues like oil dependency and global warming, it may already be happening. The problem is not that the United States needs more power; power is part of the problem. A multipolar or bipolar world would be able to deal with all of the globes problems. While the superpowers may not get along, at least they will be able to deal with all the problems within their own, smaller sphere of influence.25 The Cold War is an obvious example of this with many former Soviet Countries no longer being dealt with effectively.
The second problem is that in an increasingly networked world, places that fall between the networks are very dangerous places and there will be more ungoverned zones when there is only one network to join.26 While highly connected networks in an increasingly globalized world can be efficient and resilient to sudden shocks, the pieces that fall between the networks are shut off from the benefits of connectivity. These pieces are often failed states that become extremely dangerous and often connect to underground networks, such as al Qaeda. They become even more dangerous when they resurface in mainstream politics. Afghanistan under the Taliban was dangerous because it became a partially failed state that plagued the world with drugs, arms, and terrorism. A single hegemon simply cannot deal with all of the “back alleys” of globalization. In a multipolar world, such states could not exist since there is a place for everyone to connect. Afghanistan was actually connected to the Soviet Union before the end of the Cold War, but has since fallen to the Taliban due to their inability to connect to America.27
The third major problem is that without a real chance to find useful allies to counter a superpower, opponents will try to neutralize power, by going underground, going nuclear, or going rogue.28 This problem involves the strategies of the weak. In international relations, states will always try to balance power. These states ally themselves with groups that can hold the hegemonic threat at bay in order to protect themselves. Unfortunately there is not always a group to join in a unipolar world. Every anti-American nation, from Venezuela to North Korea is looking for a way to constrain American power. States cannot, however, openly ally against America; they would not allow that. Groups and nations like Hamas, Iran, Somalia, North Korea, and Venezuela are not going to ally. Instead they resort to illicit activities such as drug trading or counterfeiting United States currency. Becoming a nuclear power is another solution. Countries have even been able to use America’s weaknesses against them by raising uncertainty about oil supplies. In a multipolar world, weak states would be able to align themselves against the opposing power. Many states who opposed America during the Cold War, such as North Korea and Afghanistan, aligned themselves with the Soviet Union. They have now gone rogue and are completely out of control.29
The overall problem with unipolar globalization is what economists call the “public goods” problem. Too much weight falls on the single superpower’s shoulders. Public goods are shared things, like global rules that benefit everyone. No single power like the United States can provide all of these public goods given the great costs involved. With a world without a single global government, there are less public goods than required. Thus great danger occurs.30
Americans are simply too unwilling to share power. The United States will not give the United Nations the freedom it needs to perform adequately. Other nations will not be willing to aid the United States until it admits it needs help.31 The United States has failed to cultivate great-power relationships. They have allowed their relations with Russia and China to deteriorate to a point that by the end of the Cold War, they were barely on speaking terms. Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger managed to achieve something amazing during the Cold War. America’s adversaries feared each other more than they feared the United States.32 The United States ignored the dangers of globalization while emphasizing the advantages. They reveled in the potential of greater interconnectivity while ignoring the danger that would connect just as easily. September 11 showed just how easily terrorists could take advantage of the new age of globalization by ironically using one of the great symbols of globalization, the commercial jet, to attack their enemy.33
Unipolar globalization economically poses a grave threat as well. The results of President Bush’s loyalty to his vision are potentially calamitous. The administration has foolishly become indifferent to global economics and as a result, has left an economic void that is being filled by the European Union and China. If the dollar crashed, it would lead to a deep recession that would have international consequences.34 Globalization spearheaded by a single hegemon creates an enormous amount of danger in the Post-Cold War world.
One of the greatest threats to global safety is the nuclear weapon. The nuclear weapon threatened humanity during the Cold War, and continues to threaten humanity today. So how is either era safer if nuclear weapons have created an equally dangerous world? They did not. Looking at nuclear proliferation, the Cold War appears far more dangerous. In the Post-Cold War world, one hundred and eighty three countries have voluntarily chosen not to build nuclear weapons by signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty.35 Four countries that once possessed nuclear weapons – Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus, and South Africa – have completely disarmed their arsenals.36 The Cold War arsenals of the United States and the Soviet Union number 31 265 and 39 197 respectively.37 How safe can 70 000 nuclear weapons be in the hands of two enemies who have no trust for each other? The amazing number of nuclear weapons stockpiled during the Cold War obviously show how safe the era was. All it would have taken was one intercontinental missile being launched to trigger a nuclear war.
Nuclear proliferation of rogue states in the Post-Cold War era may also be less dangerous than assumed. On July 5, 2006, North Korea tested a nuclear weapon with less than adequate results. The yield of the explosion was less the one kiloton, which was not only less than the expected yield of four kilotons, but also far less than the first nuclear test of other states.38 The power of the North Korean missile simply does not pose a significant threat. North Korea also faces many deterrents to actually using their arsenals. Given the limited success of their nuclear missile test, North Korea simply would not launch one of their missiles unless their regime faced certain destruction. North Korea would also face massive retaliation from the United States if they were to use their nuclear arsenal. North Korea is even deterred from selling their nuclear weapons to terrorist groups because the weapon could be tracked back to the creator and would result in massive US retaliation.39 Given the consequences of North Korea using their nuclear weapons, the probability of an attack from North Korea simply is not feasible. North Korea’s ability to construct nuclear weapons actually stems from the Cold War. Their nuclear program began in 1959 as a nuclear cooperation agreement with the Soviet Union. It led to the construction of a nuclear research facility in Yongbyon as well as the training of North Korean scientists. Geological surveys also found large deposits of uranium.40 It was this Soviet assistance that allowed North Korea to master the plutonium fuel cycle. The only reason North Korea can pose a potential nuclear threat is the assistance given by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. North Korea was also significantly more dangerous during the Cold War due to the fact that they have not been able to acquire fresh fuel since the collapse of the Soviet Union.41
The threat of Islamic terrorism in the Post-Cold War world does not pose the same kind of threat the Soviet Union posed to the United States and vise versa. Islamic terrorism simply cannot prevail over the Western world. Political economist Francis Fukuyama stated that “[there is] no lack of a will to prevail in the United States today.”42 He insisted that Islamism has "virtually no appeal in the contemporary world apart from those who are culturally Islamic to begin with."43 A modern Islamic society simply will not work, leaving an Islamic terrorist victory impossible. Western ideals are more secure than they were during the Cold War.
Furthermore, the threat of terrorists acquiring and using nuclear material is diminishing. The UN Security Council adopted a new global requirement for protecting nuclear materials within countries in 2004. The new physical protection requirement, Resolution 1540, calls on states to “develop and maintain appropriate effective physical protection measures” that will enable them to guard their nuclear materials.44 This higher level of protection has reduced the chance of nuclear materials falling in the hands of terrorists. States simply were not required to properly protect such materials from terrorists, leaving the Post-Cold War world safer.
The rocket was spotted by Russian early-warning radars. The radar operators sent an alert to Moscow. Within minutes, President Boris Yeltsin was brought his black nuclear-command suitcase. For several tense minutes, while Yeltsin spoke with his defence minister by telephone, confusion reigned.45 While little is known about what Yeltsin said, there is no denying these were the most dangerous moments of the nuclear age. Despite the end of the Cold War, the danger of massive nuclear retaliation still remains. The Soviet high-alert nuclear-launch mechanism still remains intact, and something could easily go horribly wrong. The end of the great superpower rivalry meant nothing in respect to this. The chance of “something going wrong” is even greater in the Post-Cold War era due to the degradation of the early warning network.46 The danger of nuclear retaliation from Russia did not fall with the Soviet Union.
The belief that the end of the Cold War ushered in an era of nuclear proliferation is fundamentally flawed. The danger posed by nuclear weapons in the Post-Cold War world is in fact greater than the danger posed during the Cold War. The weapons constructed during the Cold War were actually non-aggressive, instead being used as a deterrence. Mutually Assured Destruction, or MAD, kept either side from actually using their nuclear weapons.47 Either side would only use their weapons if attacked first, or as a last resort. Of course, the war never escalated to that point. The closest the world came to a nuclear war during the Cold War was the Cuban Missile Crises. Despite this, the world again came dangerously close to another nuclear crisis when Yeltsin was misinformed by his early warning radar. Given these facts, the world was just as dangerous during the Cold War as it was after. How is the world more dangerous in the Post-Cold War era when considering nuclear weapons? While the likelihood of a direct massive nuclear exchange has diminished somewhat, there is an increasingly high chance that nuclear states will use their weapons against a non-nuclear threat. This does not even take into account increased terrorist activity and the high likelihood of terrorists using nuclear weapons.48
The supposed belief that nuclear non-proliferation is on the rise, is completely false. Not only is nuclear proliferation on the rise, it has actually surpassed the Cold War. During the Cold War, American spending on nuclear weapons averaged 4.2 billion dollars a year, in current dollars. Now the United States is spending one and a half times the Cold War spending average on nuclear weapons. In 2001, the Department of Energy, which oversees the nuclear weapons complex through the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), had a budget that totaled 5.19 billion dollars. During Bush’s January 2002 “Nuclear Posture Review”, he claimed there was an urgent need for a new weapons complex able to design, develop, manufacture, and certify new warheads in order to meet new national requirements and resume underground testing. Nuclear spending has increased by more than one billion per year. The NNSA’s five year plan calls for annual increases to reach 7.76 billion per year by 2009. This is only the beginning. The key to this program is Complex 2030, the NNSA’s complex that will “meet the needs of America” given the growing dangers of the 21st century. It is essentially a dangerous, costly, and illegal weapons facility that will be able to assemble and disassemble nuclear weapons. The complex will only result in a return to the Cold War cycle of design, development, and production of nuclear weapons. It also calls for the testing of nuclear weapons and the manufacturing of hundreds of new plutonium pits, the heart of a nuclear weapon. These are plans that directly contradict the United States and their treaty promises of 1968 to negotiate toward general and complete disarmament. With the United States increasing their own proliferation, other states have an even greater incentive to pursue and brandish nuclear weapons. The independent Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission, in 2006, estimated at least ten new nuclear powers within a decade. At the end of January, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moved forward the hand on its Doomsday Clock to five minutes to nuclear midnight due to the renewed American nuclear program. The worst part of the new United States nuclear proliferation program is how it increases the potential for terrorists acquiring nuclear weapons. In February 2004, for example, Bush ironically warned, “In the hands of terrorists, weapons of mass destruction would be a first resort.” The United States is only spending about one billion dollars on the non-proliferation effort concerning loose weapons and materials. At this rate, it will take thirteen years to secure Russia’s loose weapons. Graham Allison, a Harvard professor who served as assistant secretary of defense under President Clinton, estimates the task could be completed in four years for about the cost of a single season of the war in Iraq.49 Nuclear weapons are threats that have only increased since the end of the Cold War.
North Korea poses a threat that has only existed since the end of the Cold War. Despite the Soviet Union’s role in arming the rogue state, it did not become a threat until the Post-Cold War era. There is a great potential for North Korea to export nuclear materials, expertise, or technologies to states such as Iran which would result in the proliferation of terrorists. While there is a great deterrence for North Korea to not use their nuclear weapons, it is impossible to completely rule out them using the weapons as a last act of desperation against American assets or allies. There is also a likelihood of nuclear weapon use if North Korea were to have a leadership struggle. North Korea may also be tempted to market their nuclear products for money alone given how much it already relies on selling illegal goods.50 North Korea acquired enough weapons-grade plutonium to build six to eight bombs by its October 2006 nuclear test. If Pyongyang were to sell as little as ten kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium to Iran, it would catapult Iran to nuclear weapon status.
Even without nuclear weapons, Iran’s foreign policies represent a significant threat to world peace and create a potential for dangerous conflict. President George Bush named Iran part of the “axis of evil” and vowed to resort to military might in order to protect their ally, Israel. Iran’s outspoken opposition to the Israeli state has created the perfect conditions for a second American invasion of a Middle Eastern country. Iran has further shown they pose a threat by pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran has three thousand centrifuges at Natanz that if brought online, will give them the ability to produce enriched uranium in significant quantities and ultimately become a nuclear power.51
The danger posed by terrorists in the Post-Cold War world is incalculably high. For terrorists, nuclear weapons are a first resort. MAD does nothing to protect any nation from nuclear attack when the attacker is a terrorist. Terrorists simply were not a significant threat during the Cold War, the world being preoccupied by the bipolar struggle. Protection in most states is still completely unreliable and inefficient despite resolution 1540. Recipients of American nuclear materials simply are not building adequate protection.52 Terrorists could easily break into or attack nuclear targets. The fundamental flaw that makes resolution 1540 so useless is how states are required to place adequate protection based on how threatened they feel they are by terrorists. Why does a state that feels no threat from terrorists have to place adequate protection?53 Terrorist attacks have also increased dramatically. In 2004, the number of significant terrorist attacks rose from a record 175 in 2003, to 655. In Iraq alone, attacks increased from 22 in 2003 to 198 in 2004, nine times the previous year.54 With attacks rising significantly, there is obviously a greater danger to everyone. Osama bin-Laden, in an interview on Al-Jazeera television, spoke of his support of the Pakistani nuclear program, while stating he was actively looking to acquire weapons of mass destruction of his own.55 The terrifying danger of Osama acquiring weapons of mass destruction, considering his willingness to attack the United States, is clear. Pakistan, in May 1998, showed its support for terrorism by assisting the Taliban in establishing a biological weapons plant in Kandahar.56 A recent survey in Afghanistan showed startling numbers when 26 percent of 17000 Afghans surveyed openly said they supported the Taliban. A similar survey taken two years earlier showed only three percent supported the Taliban.57
Western civilization itself may be doomed to disappear, with America losing the War on Terror and Europe being consumed by Islam. Demographically, Islam is winning. Given current population trends, by 2020 Yemen will have as many people as the enormous Russia. Also, 45 percent of the under 20 in France is Muslim. Soon, Islamic political parties sharing the exact same ideals as Muslim extremists may be voted into power in France.58 Certain areas of heavy Islamic influence have become “no-go” zones for police and firemen. Women, for their own safety, are beginning to walk publicly covered. What the Soviet Union failed to do to the West, Muslim immigrants are achieving slowly. Western capitalism and democracy may fall. Most major cities in Europe are making small concessions to the immigrants. At this rate, Europe will be Islamified, and countless people will lose their freedom.59 Russia will likely lose much of its barely defended territory to new Islamic states; this only means more nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists. There is even the potential that, given time, Western extremists may attack Islamic states with nuclear weapons in retaliation for losing their own country to Islam.60 The West will lose its hard earned freedoms it fought for in both World Wars, and during the Cold War. It is allowing immigrants to assimilate their own countries.61
Given the many potential enemies that may use a nuclear weapon to attack a North American or European city, understanding the consequences is very important. The two most likely weapons used would be a 20 kiloton nuclear bomb built by terrorists or fledgling nuclear states, or a 550 kiloton bomb acquired from the former Soviet Union. A 20 kiloton detonation would kill half of a downtown population instantly, while many more would soon die due to fatal radiation exposure and other injuries. A 550 kiloton explosion would create substantial casualties from burns. The blast zone would be super heated, causing buildings to spontaneously combust. Fires would consume everything within four miles of the blast. A 550 kiloton detonation in New York would result in five million deaths. A nuclear explosion of the same magnitude in Atlanta would result in 300 000 burn victims; the whole hospital system in America is only able to take 1500 burn victims.62 Given the high likelihood of a nuclear attack on the United States, higher than it ever was during the Cold War, the danger posed is unacceptably high.
Today, nine nations possess nuclear weapons. If the nuclear race continues to go unchecked, ten more nations including Iran, Japan, South Korea, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Venezuela, and Nigeria will possess nuclear weapons by 2020. There is most terrifyingly a twenty percent chance nuclear weapons will be launched in anger in this decade.63
Upon entering the Post-Cold War era, the United States of America was full of hope and high expectations. The harsh realities of the world have, however, sobered their outlook. The end of the Cold War brought to an end the era of conflicts of ideals. Conflicts in the Post-Cold War era are being fought on a cultural instead of ideological or material gain basis. This new era of conflict is particularly dangerous due to the clash of civilizations that is occurring. The differences between civilizations are cultural; it is these cultural differences that define us all and therefore make us very different. Already, the Western and Islamic civilizations are clashing in a conflict that could be the bloodiest in history.
The end of the Cold War also ended global bipolarity. Globalization, for the first time ever, was now superimposed onto the world by a single superpower. The dangers of globalization in the Post-Cold War era occur due to American hegemony. Three major problems occur with unipolar globalization that would be avoided with multipolarity. The first is that above a certain threshold of power, the rate at which new global problems are generated will exceed the rate at which old problems are fixed. The second is that in an increasingly networked world, places that fall between the networks are very dangerous places and there will be more ungoverned zones when there is only one network to join. The third is that without a real chance to find useful allies to counter a superpower, opponents will try to neutralize power, by going underground, going nuclear, or going rogue. The United States simply does not have the ability to handle the entire world’s shared problems on its own. Perilous problems that likely would not exist in a bipolar world are arising due to the unipolar situation.
Despite the end of the Cold War, nuclear proliferation is no better than it was before. The Soviet Union is just as capable of launching a world ending barrage of nuclear missiles, rogue states are arming themselves with nuclear weapons, and nuclear proliferation in the United States is higher than it was during the Cold War. With a sharp rise in terrorist attacks, the potential for a terrorist nuclear strike in the West is at an all time high. Whether from a rogue state or the former Soviet Union, a nuclear detonation in a major American city could cause as much as five million deaths. In the hands of terrorists, nuclear weapons are a first resort.
The end of the Cold War and American hegemony has only seen greater danger due to a clash between the western civilization and other civilizations, unipolar globalization, and global terrorism worsened by nuclear proliferation. A wise man once said a fool in the storm prays to God, not for safety from danger, but deliverance from fear. Americans fought through two World Wars, and endured the Cold War. Americans finally thought they survived the storm. They thought God had delivered them from an era of danger into an era of peace and safety. They were fools.
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2 Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72.3 (1993).
3 Melko, Matthew. "Hostility Between Civilizations Reconsidered." The Midwest Quarterly 48.1 (2006): 50-67.
4 Melko, Matthew. "Hostility Between Civilizations Reconsidered." The Midwest Quarterly 48.1 (2006): 50-67.
5 Sterbová, Pavla. "A Clash of Civilizations?" Perspectives 20 (2003): 100-103.
6 Sterbová, Pavla. "A Clash of Civilizations?" Perspectives 20 (2003): 100-103.
7 Frum, David. "Who Wins in Iraq? 4. Samuel Huntington." Foreign Policy (2007).
8 Melko, Matthew. "Hostility Between Civilizations Reconsidered." The Midwest Quarterly 48.1 (2006): 50-67.
9 Frum, David. "Who Wins in Iraq? 4. Samuel Huntington." Foreign Policy (2007).
10 Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72.3 (1993).
11 Jennings, Lane. "The Clash of Civilizations." The Futurist (1997): 5-6.
12 Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72.3 (1993).
13 Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72.3 (1993).
14 Huntington, Samuel P. "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs 72.3 (1993).
15 Melko, Matthew. "Hostility Between Civilizations Reconsidered." The Midwest Quarterly 48.1 (2006): 50-67.
16 Murphey, Dwight D. "The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?" The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies 30.4 (2005): 524-531.
17 Murphey, Dwight D. "The West's Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of Civilizations?" The Journal of Social, Political, and Economic Studies 30.4 (2005): 524-531.
18 Minogue, Kenneth. "Religion, Reason and Conflict in the 21st Century." The National Interest (2003): 127-132.
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23 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
24 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
25 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
26 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
27 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
28 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
29 Weber, Steven et al. "How Globalization Went Bad." Foreign Policy (2007).
30 Weber, Steven., and Ely Ratner. Los Angeles Times. 21 Jan. 2007. 19 Mar. 2007 .
31 O'Brien, David. "What We Have Done." Commonwealth 134.3 (2007): 7-8.
32 Gaddis, John L. "Setting Right a Dangerous World." The Chronicle Review (2002): B7.
33 Gaddis, John L. "Setting Right a Dangerous World." The Chronicle Review (2002): B7.
34 Steinberger, Michael. "Neo-Economics." The American Prospect (2005): 42-45
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36 "The Numbers on Nuclear Proliferation." Weekend Edition (2007): 1.
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41 Hecker, Siegfried S., and William Liou. "Dangerous Dealings: North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran." Arms Control Today 37.2 (2007): 6-11.
42 Kurtz, Stanley. "No Time to Go Wobbly." National Review (2006): 49-50.
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45 Hoffman, David. Shattered Shield Cold-War Doctrines Refuse to Die. 15 Mar. 1998. 18 Apr. 2007 .
46 Hoffman, David. Shattered Shield Cold-War Doctrines Refuse to Die. 15 Mar. 1998. 18 Apr. 2007 .
47 The National Archives Learning Curve. Cold War: Nuclear Politics in the 1950s and 1960s.. 18 Apr. 2007 .
48 Mendelsohn, Jack. "Dump Deterrence? Not Yet." Issues in Science 23.2 (2007): 87-90.
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50 Hecker, Siegfried S., and William Liou. "Dangerous Dealings: North Korea's Nuclear Capabilities and the Threat of Export to Iran." Arms Control Today 37.2 (2007): 6-11.
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52 Bunn, George. "Enforcing International Standards: Protecting Nuclear Materials from Terrorists Post- 9/11." Arms Control Today 37.1 (2007): 14-17.
53 Bunn, George. "Enforcing International Standards: Protecting Nuclear Materials from Terrorists Post- 9/11." Arms Control Today 37.1 (2007): 14-17.
54 Glasser, Susan B. Washington Post. 27 Apr. 2005. 19 Mar. 2007 .
55 Mishra, Rajesh Kumar. “Nuclear Terrorism: Potential threats in the post cold war world.” South Asia Analysis Group. 11 May 2001. 26 Feb. 2007
56 Mishra, Rajesh Kumar. “Nuclear Terrorism: Potential threats in the post cold war world.” South Asia Analysis Group. 11 May 2001. 26 Feb. 2007
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58 Kurtz, Stanley. "No Time to Go Wobbly." National Review (2006): 49-50.
59 Kurtz, Stanley. "No Time to Go Wobbly." National Review (2006): 49-50.
60 Kurtz, Stanley. "No Time to Go Wobbly." National Review (2006): 49-50.
61 Kurtz, Stanley. "No Time to Go Wobbly." National Review (2006): 49-50.
62 US Fed News Service. STUDY DETAILS CATASTROPHIC IMPACT OF NUCLEAR ATTACK ON U.S. CITIES. 20 Mar. 2007. 30 Mar. 2007
63 "The Numbers on Nuclear Proliferation." Weekend Edition (2007): 1.