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The Cold War 1980’s 1990’s Essay

1865 words - 7 pages

Upon hearing the mention of “The Cold War” most people begin to imagine and think of a time focused on political and military tensions between two main powers, the United States of the Western world and The Soviet Union of the Communist world. The context of the Cold War has traditionally been seen this way, as a nontraditional war without any engagement of battle, as a nuclear arms race between to profoundly different political and economic ideologies. Though being accurate this view of the Cold War is not complete. The Cold War was not just a nonviolent war between the United States and the Soviet Union but one affecting the entire planet in different fashions and on multiple plains. It is for these reasons that while events during the 1980’s-1990’s seemingly led to the conventional end of conflict, they ironically only facilitated the existence and continuance of the Cold War even until today.
Probably one of the most recognized events of the 1980’s is the collapse of communism but first it is important to look at events that leading up to this collapse to provide a better context of events post collapse. One very significant period of time was the mid 1980’s when it seemed all eyes were on Africa in its entirety. The release of the song “We are the World” in 1985, the “Break the Chains” campaign of 1987, and the focus on the influential figure, Desmond Tutu, during 1986 are all examples of how the United States and other countries were focused on providing aid to africa. In her book, Enlightened Aid: U.S. Development as Foreign Policy in Ethiopia, Amanda McVety explains this aid and how United Sates foreign aid was a cold war project, “It offered a Cold War weapon that was not a weapon and promised peace through peaceful means. It announced that the (white) West had done ‘progress’ correctly and was now going to share the hitherto secret formula with those (nonwhite peoples) who had not “progressed” at all” (McVety 85). So people were focused on providing help to these underdeveloped countries, but why were they needed to begin with?
It was events in the late 1970’s that led to the 1980’s conditions in Africa. As in many Third World countries, the withdraw of other countries from Africa created a vacuum of power. It was through this vacuum that the Derg in Ethiopia came to power. Becoming very Marxist-Leninist, the Derg embraced communism in the late 1974 that would last until 1987. It was this seize of power by communist Mengistu Mariam that precipitated the Ethiopian civil war, the Red Terror, a cleansing of Ethiopian society during which an estimated 500,000 people were killed, and the invasion of Somalia, known as the Ogaden War, causing further foreign involvement and complications.
Switching from supplying aid to Somalia the Soviet Union began to support Ethiopia, a previously United States backed country. This triggered the United States to begin providing aid to Somalia. Upon Somalia backing out in the late 1980’s a series of...

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