Sign of the Times


The Post Cold War Order

By: Ian Clark

Author Bio: Ian Clark is a professor of International Politics at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He was part of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge.

Rebellion of Effects

By: Arouge Javaid

To be sure this was no normal hot war, but a war of a kind nonetheless” Ian Clark argues in his book The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace.1 The post Cold War era brought about many hopes and fears regarding more global action and. This era defined the collapse of Europe and the confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States. He reflects upon the the Post Cold War perspective which includes the origins of the Cold War, the ending and aftermath and peacemaking. Clark also includes the Distributive Peace which clarifies the European settlement and globalization as well as the Regulative Peace which includes multilateralism as well as collective security.

Clark begins the first quarter of his book by briefly addressing the presidency of George H. W. Bush. He ordered for a New World Order that would achieve the goals of peace, stability, justice, rights, and rule of the law. Throughout the latter quarter, he argues that the Cold War was never considered a proper war and with the ending of it, the peace agreement was never considered proper peace either. Ending the Cold War gave the Soviet Union leadership and the confidence to proceed with its policies. The USSR had other plans regarding the Cold War but decided not to continue with them and agreed to its end. Because of this, the development of the global economy was facilitated much by the creation of the Soviet Union. Clark states that “the end of the Cold War created the necessary universal conditions, originally intimated in 1945…”² This statement he makes about the end of the Cold War shows his argument about how the end of the Cold War brought upon necessary changes globally as well as nationally. Clark addresses that the post Cold War peace directs the reader’s attention to the areas of change regarding the aftermath which includes globalization and economic and international stability. Core elements of the end of the war include the distribution of power and embodiments of territory. Some distributive aspects include the unification of Germany within NATO, the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact, the disembodiment of the Soviet Union, and the enlargement of NATO and the European Union. This made the post Cold War era distinct because it showed the dominance and the processing works of the global economy and assertion of a liberal rights order during this time. The distribution of power was an effect of the end of the Cold War and when the Soviet Union dissolved, the only power left was in the West, the United States of America.

In the second quarter, Clark explores the distributive peace which consists of the European settlement and globalization. After the war, Europe emerged with an integrated economic power and the disembodiment of the Soviet Union. The division of Germany during the Cold War was the epitome of the effect the war had on Europe. George Bush said in a speech, “the Cold War began with the division of Europe. It can only end when Europe is a whole.”³ Clark includes this because he explains the unification of Germany and how Europe emerged as an economic power and how the dissolution of the Soviet Union contributed to the factor of the end. The settlement over Germany reflected the balance of interests and strengths. The European Settlement included the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. This marked return to full sovereignty for the states of eastern Europe as well as the end of being under the Soviet Union’s military and political preserve. The disabling of the pact was seen as an element within the armistice as a mark of the end of the Cold War. The last process of the end of the Cold War was the dissolution of the USSR. During this time, NATO had embarked on their goal to expand eastwards. When enlargement finally took place, the new policy to enlarge it eastwards was encouraged by the central European powers. This expansion symbolized the turn that had been taken in Russian-American relations. In the end, the Soviet Union had surrendered conditionally while Russia had now obliged to harsher terms of the final piece of the Cold War. Global peace was also an effect of the Cold War and applied to the areas of Pacific Asia and the Middle East. Soviet power had an effect on both areas, for example, Soviet power was an important element in the balance of power in East Asia while the Middle East was now driven and controlled by the U.S. The Cold War shaped a new political structure for the core of regional conflicts.

In the third quarter of the book, Clark leads the topic of how globalization also played a major part in the end of the Cold War because it was fundamental to the idea of peacemaking. The key element of the post Cold War, globalization “embodied the fruit of that victory, and was part of the substance required to satisfy the demands of the visitors.”4 Clark shows that globalization heavily implicated the emergence and specification of the settlement after the Cold War. Even before the Cold War, globalization was a widespread view. Economic prosperity was also another aspect brought about by the Cold War. Economic peace usually came in the form of extraction. At the time, former President Clinton implements the International Monetary Fund and “permits the US to push Russia in a direction it hoped it would go.”5 After this action, there is a change of the global economy and the market economies. The wider political goals of gaining economic prosperity had been achieved. Globalization was an instrument of redistribution and evidence suggested that it had been contested for embodying the American interests and values. Uniformity and convergence would be beneficial to the workings of globalization and it would influence conditions that were beneficial to the world.

The last quarter of the book reveals the topic of regulative peace implementation of multilateralism and liberal rights. Multilateralism, an alliance where multiple countries progress, was seen as an object of attack from both ends of the political spectrum. Clark states that “multilateralism was not only part of the material victory of the Cold War but also a means for sustaining it.”6 This shows that multilateralism, when it emerged, became the new expression of power within the United Nations. It was thought to have a more direct impact on international security. Collective security also had an emergence as well. It was “an antidote to the disaggregation brought by the end of the Cold War.”7 The United States wanted to institutionalize a less costly form of the post-Cold War containment. The collectivization of security was also an effect. It signified that profound changes were under way and that they were going beyond the traditional ideas of collective security. The regulative peace favored collective security and saw it as a counteracting force of mayhem after the war. The collective securities were “a mechanism for reasserting a degree of state-centered direction…”8 Clark shares that the collective securities were what brought the countries together close enough to form alliances and help each other upon an agreement to form collective responses to threats. Lastly, Clark introduces liberalism and how the “vision of liberalism is its relationship to a distinctive form of economic activity.” 9 Clark shows this because accounts of liberalism have already been encountered in some aspects of globalization. One important emergence was the concept of liberal capitalism as inseparable economic and political forms. Liberal rights would help generate a real community and it would be important to the view of democracy.

The author, Ian Clark’s thesis is the emphasis on the New World Order and the clarification of the post peace war settlement. The argument he proposes is that the order of the Cold War should be understood as a peace settlement. He develops a way of conveying the message of the global economy, international security, and liberalism and human rights which are all aspects of peace set after the end of the Cold War. Examples are used from the past to complete his argument that the Cold War agreement was based on previous peace settlements such as the Treaty of Versailles and various settlements after WWII. He provides that the peace settlements “are about much more than the allocation of territories and resources.” Clark believes that peace settlements come with a meaning and that there are other dimensions of understanding the settlements and the effects through different perspectives. Clark provides a framework of detailed evidence of the twentieth century. He defines peacemaking as “the resolution of the problems that gave rise to the war in the first place”¹0 By this, Clark shows that making peace was the only way to resolve all problems and those problems were the ones that started the war. Problems starting war needed to be quickly put down and resolved in order so that nothing went out of control and peacemaking and negotiating was the only way things would be able to settle down.

Clark has a bias on the basis of the Cold War among the dissatisfaction of how not everyone experienced or lived through the war and how it ended may not have been an ending to the Cold War. Along the lines of peace settlements and the whole being of the war itself. Most of his works include books about international policies and things after the Cold War such as the books Globalizations and International Relations Theory, Legitimacy in International Society, and more regarding international implementations. His works reflect upon changes of various centuries analyzing the causes and effects of historic wars such as World Wars I and II, the Cold War, and important events such as westernization. His bias reflects how the post Cold War order was not the New World order proposed by George H. W. Bush. This book in was published before the terrorist attack of 9/11. The Post Cold War era was a time of reflection upon the dissatisfaction of the Cold War and the rising of whether or not it was a real war and the question of if the ending of the war was a real solution or not.

One review stated by G. John Ikenberry for the Foreign Affairs, stated that Clark “wades in the end on whether the post-Cold War order reflects American power or deeper structures of cooperation. Hence his view on the future remains clouded.”¹¹ Clark does not become clear about what he is trying to say during the clarification of distributive and regulatory power during the post Cold War. However, Ikenberry does praise him on the examples that Clark uses, for example, the unification of Germany with NATO, the disembodiment of the Warsaw Pact and enlargement of NATO. He also praises Clark on the fact that he “provides useful framework for describing global changes” to back up that the Cold War was a type of peace settlement.12 Hana Beshara, in her review, argues that Clark did a concise job by having his conclusions coincide with his central thesis that the “Cold War is best understood through its contagious elements as a transition of peacemaking.”¹³ She also reflects on the chapters of distributive and regulative peace to say they were informative but that Clark had left out the implication of these on the Post Cold War order. She points out the evidence and connects the post Cold War peace settlement to previous settlements that Clark uses to connect to his overall thesis such as the Congress of Vienna, the Treaty of Versailles, and post-1945 agreements. Beshara argues that Clark did a great job in addressing both sides of the argument, the pros and the cons against the thesis he had. She believes that the definition of the Cold War as an aberration can be accepted because of the evidence that he provides to support his claims.

The post-Cold War brought about many positive changes that outline the world that we live in today. Clark does a fine job in analyzing how the post Cold War could be looked upon as a peace settlement. He provides arguments and evidence to back up his claim by stating pros and cons as well as background facts and time periods before the start of the Cold War. His analysis about the Cold War is outlined by stating the effects and excessive details about globalization, effects of terrorism by the Cold War, economic and international security, multilateralism, liberalism and liberal rights, and global peace. As he remarks, the Cold War “takes a wide historical perspective” which serves to say that the Cold War had many perspectives and that looking through one lens is not enough.16 There are many ways in which the Cold War brought about many changes for the good such as the unification of Europe and becoming a mass economic power. The disintegration of the Soviet Union left the U.S. to be a global superpower and enlarged NATO. There were more advancements in technology, social aspects, economic aspects as well as political aspects. Clark does a decent job in conveying and tying the conclusion to his thesis that the Cold War could have been seen as a type of settlement and he provides an interesting perspective on contemporary order. He ends with claiming that “it leads to the related conclusion that it [Cold War] is a peace still under construction.”¹5 This is significant because he shows that peace is still evolving and that nothing has come to a stop especially after the war.

This book reflects the social, economic and political changes because during this time there was an increase in international security, economic stability, domination of the West, and the U.S. as the only surviving superpower. As Clark states, “American power keeps the system intact and has unique ability to engage in durable Western order.”¹4 During the Cold War, the U.S. promoted free market capitalism; on the other hand, the Soviet Union promoted communism and portrayed the U.S. as greedy and materialistic. Politically speaking, it was at the end of WWII when the U.S. and the Soviets became polar opposites. The end of the Cold War led to anti-communist presidencies such as Presidents Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Ronald Reagan. This resulted in the president’s economic warfare with the Soviets. These reflect the rise of fears of “terrorism” because of the terrorist attack of 9/11 in 2001. Many people believed the terrorist attacks were closely related to the aftermath of the Cold War because of global unrest. In terms of the digital technology, not much came out of the Cold War other than a boosted economy because of the Russians. There was a dramatic increase in state funded technology however. Digital technology not only affected the arms race and space race but also research in other fields such as biomedicine, computer science, meteorology and more. This era of the war marked the ideology of postmodernism and relativism. This technology included missiles for military globalization, satellites, and more. Television became a standard and so did the world wide web. The internet expanded across the globe and was incorporated into mass culture. Almost every country was connected with the Internet. By the 2000s, the use of cellphones came rose and were only used for playing little games and calling. The digital technology brought a spin to more innovations and more state and government intervention in new inventions and more research in creating better products for everyday use, for example, HDTV, cameras, computers and military innovations. Ultimately, the Cold War brought about many social, economic, and political advantages and aspects including digital technology to better the world thus showing that this war had the potential to bring about global awareness and greatness.

Throughout the book, Ian Clark shows and backs up his claim by presenting powerful evidence that the post Cold War should be looked at as a peace settlement. He uses three categories: Perspective, Distributive Power and Regulative Power in which he explains different aspects of the effects at the end of the war.

[1] Ian Clark, The Post Cold War Order: Spoils of Peace, Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001. 3.
[2] Clark, Ian. 19.
[3] Clark, Ian. 81.
[4] Clark, Ian. 143.
[5] Clark, Ian. 157.
[6] Clark, Ian. 191.
[7] Clark, Ian. 206.
[8] Clark, Ian. 206.
[9] Clark, Ian. 233.
[10] Clark, Ian. 58.
[11] Ikenberry, G. John. “The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace.” Foreign Affairs. N.p., 28 Jan. 2009. Web. 27 May 2017.
[12] Ikenberry, G. John. “The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace.” Foreign Affairs. N.p., 28 Jan. 2009. Web. 27 May 2017.
[13] Beshara, Hana. “Reviewed Work: The Post-Cold War Order: The Spoils of Peace by Ian Clark Review by: Hana Beshara.” JSTOR. Institute of International Relations, NGO, n.d. Web. 26 May 2017.
[14] Clark, Ian. 253.
[15] Clark, Ian. 17.
[16] Clark, Ian. 251