The End of the Cold War
The Cold War should have had mixed aftermath on Third World conflict. It will have major ramifications for theorists and practitioners of international relations. The longstanding controversy in international relations theory on the connection between polarity and stability has remained unsettled. If the end of the Cold War is jeopardized, the major instability in the greater part of the international system prevails where the vast majority of the world’s population stays.
The relationship between polarity and stability has instigated controversy in international relations theory. The bipolar systems are more stable than multiple systems. The intensity of superpower competition during the Cold War is accepted as the chief empirical model of bipolarity. It produced reluctance on their part to accept even small territorial losses anywhere in the world. . The very experience of the U.S.-Soviet rivalry instigates a bipolar system to tackle crises and maintain alliances without resort to war. The arguments concerning the positive linkage between bipolarity and international stability have not gone unchallenged in international relations theory.
Under a bipolar order, minor crises in any country could escalate into serious international confrontation as a result of superpower involvement. The same argument concerning the conflict-escalating potential of bipolarity has been made. The tendency to generalize from Great Power behavior, the polarity-stability debate equates stability with an absence of system lead to threatening war among the superpowers. Does this paper address the issue of why the international relation theory could not predict the end of the cold war? It assesses the theoretical assumptions behind the polarity-stability debate with a view to assessing their relevance in the context of the end cold war.