In the giant game of musical chairs which is international relations, who will be sitting and who will be standing when the music stops … and who the hell chose the music anyhow?
During the Cold War, understanding global power was easy – even Ronnie Reagan got his head around it. There were two, strongly opposed sides, each fiercely convinced of its own rightness, and nations around the world aligned with one or the other. On one side the US and Western Europe represented democracy and capitalism, whilst on the other side was the Soviet Union, with its own network of supporters committed to socialist solidarity and the wearing of silly hats. Economically, each possessed the power to woo nations around the world to its cause. Militarily, after the instability of the first half of the twentieth century, stability in the second half was ensured through the two great powers balancing each other out – Mutually Assured Destruction. MAD by name, but generally it worked.
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