To what extent does the period 1989-2000 bear out the
assertion that the end of the Cold War represented a victory
for the United States?
The fall of iron curtain in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, in a
sense, indeed represented a victory for the U.S. given its overwhelming political, ideological,
cultural and economic dominance in an unipolar, unbalanced world. However, such power is
limited considering the outright rejection or skepticism of its political and ideological
concepts at home and abroad. Moreover, the demise of Soviet Union gave chance to the the
emergence of new centers of power that are both willing and able to ...view middle of the document...
By August 24 1989, ten years after Solidarity
emerged on the scene, Tadeusz Mazoweicki became the ﬁrst non-communist Prime Minister
in Poland and of course, in Eastern Europe. In China, a student-led protest against the
Communist government broke out on 4th June1991 and forced the government to concede
on the matter of freedom and human rights. In Hungry, drastic changes were also underway.
The government, already the most liberal of the communist governments, by October 23
1989, adopted a new constitution allowing a multi-party system and competitive elections.
Following the decline of communism and dissolution of several communist states were the
rocketing growth and spread of democracy. As Francis Fukuyama put it, “… trial and error
would inevitably lead these nations to realise that the only viable option which could provide
economic, social and political stability would be one based on the capitalist, liberal
democratic model…” Indeed, the collapse of the Soviet Union created many ﬂedgling
democracies in central Europe. By 2000 Freedom House, an American think-tank, classiﬁed
120 countries, or 63% of the world total, as democracies. It is hence evident that, as the
Soviet Union no longer act as a ideological opponent to the U.S. after 1989, and even no
longer existed after 1991, the world’s ﬁrst centre of communist inﬂuence came to an end,
which left American-espoused Wilsonian liberalism no capable opponents, allowing the U.S.
to assume an overwhelming victory in this four-decade ideological war. The U.S. political
inﬂuence not only manifested through the spread its ideology, but also through its enormous
inﬂuence on the United Nation. A good example of its leadership was the Gulf War of 1991
in which the coalition forces of the U.N. led by the United States fought against Iraq in
response to Iraq’s invasion and annexation of Kuwait. Hence America had clearly assumed a
leading role on the world’s political stage.
In addition, the end of the bipolar world represented a victory of the U.S. as it emerges as the
sole world superpower with its preeminent military force that no countries came close to
competing with. As Wright put it, “One moment the United States was part of a bipolar
balance, the next it was left as the on superpower in a unipolar, unbalanced world.” Indeed,
U.S. military budgets in the 1990s exceeded those of the next ten military powers combined,
and half of those were American allies.Due to its indisputable military preeminence, the U.S.
was able to advance its interest and even impose its will on the international stage,
strengthening her own position and inﬂuence. For example, NATO(North Atlantic Treaty
Organization) remained the single most important American presence throughout Europe
and gave Americans considerable power to shape European affairs, especially military
policies. This is demonstrated through her military and strategic victory in Yugoslavia, which