Finston - Joshua Dray Professor Finston Final Essay Paper...

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Joshua Dray Professor Finston Final Essay Paper 4/21/11 The world is in the midst of an extended post-Cold War transition. Many factors and forces are at work during this transition and some aspects of it have so far have been very positive. The community of democratic states is expanding, the world economy has largely recovered from the decline of the late 80's and early 90's, and most experts expect steady, positive global economic growth -- on the order of four percent per year -- well beyond the next decade. From a national security standpoint, the threats facing the United States have diminished in order of magnitude, and we are unlikely to face a global military challenger on the scale of the former Soviet Union for at least the next two decades. The world is spending in real terms some 30-40 percent less on defense
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than it did during the height of the Cold War, the "rogue" states are relatively isolated, and at least one -- North Korea -- is probably terminal. Beyond the obvious challenges outlined above, there is significant uncertainty surrounding today's international security environment. The end of the Cold War had three key strategic consequences -- the collapse of international communism, the demise of the USSR, and a hiatus in bipolar competition. These consequences, in turn, are affecting power and security relationships throughout the world. One result is the relative dispersal of power away from the states of the former Soviet Union toward regional power centers. Another is the potential struggle within regions as the dominant states vie for position within the emerging power hierarchy. A third is that in many regions the "lid has come off" long simmering ethnic, religious, territorial, and economic disputes, as has been seen with Egypt as of late. These conditions are taxing the capabilities of what are still largely Cold War era international security concepts, institutions, and structures. The process of adapting the old security structures and developing new ones is often complex and confrontational. As the world becomes more multi-polar, there is the potential for increased competition among and between the major powers for access to or control of resources, markets, and technology. The nature and extent of that competition will be a key determinant of international stability. One potential consequence of that competition would be the formation of strategic alliances between two or more major powers that directly challenged US security interests. Overall, we expect future alliances and coalitions will be based more on specific issues than dogma or enduring ideology, and will therefore be more flexible in their membership and less durable than during the Cold War.
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Finston - Joshua Dray Professor Finston Final Essay Paper...

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