The Nature of War and US Security Policy in the Aftermath of the Cold War

According to the research findings, it can, therefore, be said that as one of the most significant conflicts in modern human history, the Cold War was marked by high expectations of conflict and violence, as well as continuous detailed planning and mobilization for war by the USSR, the US, and their respective allies. Over the course of the Cold War, hegemonic relations and alliances around the US and the USSR incorporated most of the free world with both countries occupying opposite and confrontational positions on most international issues. As a result, countries in the sphere of each hegemon were always in a state of military readiness and the risk of war was ever-present. Indeed, the most bloody post-WWII wars were fought by proxies of the USSR and the US, including the Korean War and the Vietnam War. With the end of the Cold War in 1991, however, global conflicts did not decline and, in fact, there were over 115 violent conflicts reported in the first ten years of the post-Cold War period. Gray states that while some aspects of war have changed since the end of the Cold War, the objective nature of war has remained unchanged even as the subjective nature of war has changed. Deutsch also notes that war has not dissipated with the fall of the Soviet Union, but has only changed in terms of strategy and symmetry. This paper aims to show that the end of the Cold War altered the security policy of the US by replacing a conventional military adversary with a more mobile and asymmetrical adversary. Newman broadly defines the Cold War as the relationship that developed between the USSR and the US following their joint triumph against Nazi Germany in WWII. The unique nature of this relationship came to dominate international affairs for almost five decades and led to several major crises like the Hungarian revolution, the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Korean War, and the Soviet-Afghan War. Possibly the tensest issue was the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in preparation for eventual war.