Kahler, Miles
December 1979
Foreign Affairs;Winter79/80, Vol. 58 Issue 2, p374
This article examines the status of international politics as of December 1979 and the rumored emergence of a war between the U.S. and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The existence of two preeminent great powers has been a convention in the analysis of international politics since 1945. By the late 1970's, however, the historical bipolar configuration at the level of military power was modified. The apparent military strength of the Soviet Union had increased, while the potential for a greater element of multipolarity grew as China embarked upon a program of military modernization and the Sino-Soviet split showed no signs of dissipating. Many in the West voiced alarm at the achievement of equivalence in strategic armaments by the Soviet Union and at the modernization of the Warsaw Pact forces in Europe. The emerging pattern of superpower competition begins to suggest the rivalry between England and Germany that characterized the years from the turn of the century until the First World War. Given our long-standing obsession with the 1930's, a decade that seemed destined to end in war, a return of our gaze to the war that emerged suddenly from Europe's last untroubled summer may at least introduce an element of healthy doubt.


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