- Benefits of International Relations
- Ways in which Nations Relate Internationally
- International Organizations
- The Cold War
International Relations refers to the cooperation or interaction between individuals or groups of nations of the world
- Enhance peace and security in the world the diplomatic policies of nations call for peaceful settlement of disputes, thus reducing war incidences.
- Promote understanding and unity. This done through Encouraging cultural exchange between nations.
- Help in getting collectives solutions to world problems. Problems of global concern like desertification, global warming, armament and environmental pol lution, are dealt with collectively.
- Promote economic growth through trade. Due to good relations , there is expanded international trade which enables countries to acquire goods they don’t produce
- Developing countries get financial assistance. Developed nations have continued to provide financial and technical assistance to developing nations
- Economic relations. This is through trade and commercial activities among nations. For example, developed nations giving loans and grants to developing nations.
- Diplomatic relations. This is a peaceful means of relationship between nations in which there is exchange of Ambassadors or High Commissioners.
- Political relations. This involves cooperation between countries with similar political systems or ideologies. E.g. USA and Western Europe, in 1964, Tanganyika united with the island of Zanzibar to form the United Republic of Tanzania.
- Socio-cultural relations. This takes place in form of exchange and competition between dance troops, musicians, acrobats, sports teams, theatre groups etc, e.g. participation in Commonwealth Games.
There are two types of international organizations;
- International Governmental Organizations (IGOs) for example UN, Commonwealth, NAM and African Union.( formed by two or more sovereign states).
- International Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) created by individuals or private organizations. E.g. International Red cross, Amnesty International and Transparency International.
- The provide member states with a forum to consult and tackle problems of concern.
- They act as regulators in their fields to ensure the welfare of Humankind e.g World Health Organization (WHO) regulates health sector through immunization, vaccination and other prevention campaigns.
- They enhance peace and security through peace-keeping missions and response to disasters.
- They contribute to charity and facilitate equitable distribution of resources in the world. For example, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank advance loans to developing nations.
The UN was founded after world war Two as an organization of independent states with the following objectives;
- To promote and maintain international peace and security and prevent the occurrence of another world war.
- To foster friendly relations among nations of the world.
- To promote respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms.
- To promote social progress and better living standards of the people.
- To protect the interests of minority groups such as women and children.
- To promote economic growth among member states who are working towards reconstructing the world economy that was destroyed by the World War 2.
- To replace the league of nations which had collapsed before the outbreak of world war 2
Formation of the United Nations
The signing of the Allied declaration in London on 12th June 1941 marked the first step in the formation of the UN.
On 14th August 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt of USA and Winston Churchill of Britain, meeting in USA, proposed a set of principles for international collaboration in maintaining peace and security. This was the Atlantic Charter. The charter pledged respect for human Freedom, Allowed all nations the freedom to choose the form of government they preferred and provided that no territory should change hands after war without consent of its people.
On 1st January 1942, representatives of Allied nations meeting in Washington signed the ‘Declaration by United Nations’ and proclaimed support for the Atlantic Charter. This marked the first official use of the term ‘United Nations’ as suggested by President Roosevelt in reference to the 26 nations. The first Blueprint of the UN was prepared at a conference held at Dumbarton Oaks Estate, Washington from 21st September to 7th October 1944. Representatives of USSR, USA, UK and China agreed on the aims, structure and functions of a world organization.
On 11th February 1945, the Yalta Conference held by US president Roosevelt, UK PM Churchill and Russian PM Stalin declared the resolve to establish an international organization to maintain peace and security.
On 25th April 1945, the United Nations Conference on International Organization began in San Francisco, USA attended by delegates from 50 nations. It drew a 111 Article Charter which was adopted on 25th June 1945.
The UN began its official functions on 24th October 1945 after ratification of the charter by USSR, USA, Britain, China and France.
Organization of the UNO
Membership to the UN is open to all peace-loving nations that accept the obligations of the charter. By 1945, only 51 states had signed the charter. Kenya Joined on 16th December 1963.
By April 2003 membership had grown to 191 states.
To achieve its aims, the UN spelt out in its charter the following principles;
- It is based on the sovereign equality of all its members.
- All member states must fulfil, in good faith, their charter obligations.
- All member states must settle international disputes by peaceful means and without endangering peace, security and justice.
- They must refrain, in their international relations, from the threat or use of force against others.
- They must give the United Nations every assistance to any action it takes in accordance with the chartr, and shall not assist states against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.
- The United Nations must ensure that states which are not members act in accordance with these principles insofar as necessary for maintenance of international peace and security.
The UNO structure comprises six principal organs as follows;
The General Assembly
This is the main deliberative organ of the UNO, but which cannot enforce action on members. It comprises all member states.
Functions of the UN General Assembly
To help in its operation, the general assembly has the following committees;
The political and security committee, the special political committee, the economic and financial committee, the committee on social ,humanitarian and cultural issues, the trusteeship committee , the administration/budget committee and the legal affairs committee.
The Security Council
It has 15 members from 15 countries. Ten of these are non -permanent. It also has five permanent members namely china, France, USA, Russia and UK.Its main function is to maintain world peace and security.
Economic and Social Council
Its membership is 54. 18 are elected each year for a term of three years.Its function is to coordinate the economic and social work of UN and its specialized agencies. E.g. in trade, status of women. Population, science and technology.
It inherited the work of the Mandates Commission of the former League of Nations.
It had responsibility over the territories under colonial rule-. - To promote social, economic, political and educational advancement of the inhabitants of the trust territories.
Consists of five permanent members and six additional ones appointed by the General Assembly.
The head of the secretariat is the secretary general. It has its headquarters in New York.
Its staff members come from 139 countries. Its work covers all areas outlined in the UN Charter.
The International Court of Justice
It has its headquarters at Hague. It is the principal judicial body of the UN. It gives advisory opinions on legal questions. It has 15 judges.
These are separate specialized agencies which are autonomous organizations related to the UN by special agreements.
Past Secretary Generals of the United Nations Organization since its inception.
- Trygve lie of Norway (1946-1953).
- Dag Hammarskjöld of Sweden (1953-1961)
- U Thant of Burma (1961-1971)
- Kurt Waldheim of Austria (1972-1982)
- Javier Perez de Cueller of Peru (1982-1991)
- Boutros Ghali Boutros. Of Egypt (1992-1996)
- Kofi Annan of Ghana (1997-2000)
- Ban Ki Moon of South Korea (2000 up 2016)
- António Guterres of Portugal (2017 - )
Achievements of the United Nations Organization
- The organization has succeeded in keeping peace amid the threats of nuclear war and seemingly endless regional conflicts in the world. UNO has developed more than 35 peacekeeping missions and observer nations.
- The UN specialized agencies are engaged in a vast array of social work, affecting positively, every aspect of people’s lives around the world. E.g., child survival and development, environmental protection, medical research, agricultural development, education etc.
- The organization has helped in promoting democracy around the world. It has enabled people in more than 45 countries to participate in free and fair elections, e.g. in Namibia, Cambodia, El Salvador, Eritrea, Mozambique, South Africa etc.
- The UNO has promoted development of skills and potentials vital for all aspects of development. The UNDP, in close co-operation with over 170 member states and the UN agencies designs and implements projects for agriculture, industry, education and environment.
- It has helped in promotion of Human Rights. Since the adoption of the universal declaration of human rights in 1948, the UN has helped to enact more than 80 agreements on political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights.
- It has played a vital role in environmental protection. ‘The Earth Summit’, the UN Conference On Environment and Development held in Rio De Janeiro in 1992, resulted in treaties on biodiversity and climate change
- Promoting self-determination and independence. The organization has brought about independence of 80 countries that are now among its member states.
- Providing humanitarian aid to victims of conflicts. More than 30 million refugees fleeing war, famine or persecution have received aid from the UN high commission for refugees since 1951.
Problems Facing the United Nations Organization in its Operation
- National sovereignty. Many countries disregard the UNO resolutions in favour of their sovereignty.
- It is unable to stop aggressions and conflicts between individual countries when super powers are involved.
- Lacks sufficient funds to carry out its work efficiently. E.g it has not always been able to send enough peacekeeping forces due to lack of sufficient funds.
- It lacks an effective machinery to affect its decisions. It also lacks a standing army to implement and effect its resolutions.
- The permanent members with veto powers often adopt policies that promote their own national interests at the expense of the collective interests of most countries in the world.
- Loyalty to other organizations. UNO members are also members of other organizations; the interests of these organizations are not in accord with those of the UNO.
- Ideological disputes among member states have hampered the work of UNO in promoting world peace. This was manifested in the cold war period.
- The arms race. The UNO has found it difficult to achieve world peace because of the arms race in different parts of the world. The arms race generates and sustains conflict rather than peace.
- Differences in economic development levels of member states militate against cooperation.
- The increased occurrence of natural disasters such as famine, floods and epidemics has created an unexpected demand for economic resources. This automatically the UN’s resources.
Origin and structure of Commonwealth of Nations.
It is a voluntary association of 54 sovereign countries around the world, which were initially part of the British Empire. The commonwealth origin is the British Empire comprising the British protectorates, colonies and dominions, which included Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Newfoundland, Irish Free State and South Africa. The idea to launch the association is traced back to 1839, with the publication of the Durham report.The modern commonwealth began in 1947 with the end of the British rule in India. In 1949, India and Pakistan joined the commonwealth.
The commonwealth secretariat is based in London. It deals with day to day running of the organization and organizes meetings. The head of the commonwealth is the Queen/King of England. The Commonwealth has the Heads of State Summit which meets for a week every two years to discuss political and economic issues. There are also the Ministerial meetings once after every three years to deal with different issues.
The commonwealth has specialized agencies dealing with various areas of concern.
Membership to commonwealth
It comprised 54 developed and developing nations. The members are categorized as follows;
- Britain and her Dominions of Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
- African Nations.
- Asian nations.
- Islands from the Caribbean, Pacific and Mediterranean.
Characteristics of commonwealth states
- Members of the commonwealth use English as a common language.
- Members maintain cultural ties. For instance, they participate in the commonwealth games every four years.
- Members co-operate in the field of education.
- Members recognize the queen of England as the head of commonwealth.
- Members have a common military tradition based on the British military system. They also promote military exchange programmes.
- Members share common democratic institutions from Britain such as parliamentary system of government.
- Members have adopted constitutions that are almost similar.
Objectives that led to the Formation of the Commonwealth Nations
- To promote world peace and international understanding. Members are expected to abide by the UN Peace programmes.
- To promote development of poor member states.
- To intensify co-operation between member states, in matters of education, sport and economic development.
- To ensure personal liberty and equality of rights to all citizens regardless of race, colour, creed or political beliefs.
- To oppose all forms of colonial dominion by being committed to the principles of human dignity and equality, self-determination and non-racism.
- To promote the exchange of knowledge, professionalism and cultural, economic, legal and political issues.
- To fights poverty, ignorance and disease to remove wealth disparities and raise the living standards, and achieve a more equitable international soci ety.
- To enhance free international trade by removing trade barriers, but at the same time, giving due consideration to the special requirements of the developing countries.
Organization of the Commonwealth
The structure of the commonwealth comprises of three organs;
The Head of state Summit
It meets once in every two years for a week for extensive decisions and consultations. Decisions are reached by consensus.
The commonwealth ministers of Finance, Foreign Affairs and defence hold regular meetings once every year. Ministers of Health, Education and Law hold meetings once every three years
The Commonwealth Secretariat
headed by the secretary general and with a staff of 350 drawn from member countries. It co-ordinates co-operation among members.
The first secretary General was Arnold Smith of Canada. In 1990, Chief Emeka Anyaoku of Nigeria became the first African Secretary General.
- The Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-Operation; supplies funds, finance, experts and advisers for projects carried out in member states.
- The Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau; it provides co-operation in the field of agriculture.
- The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; helps to improve relations between parliamentarians of member states.
- The Commonwealth Regional Health Secretariat for East, Central and Southern Africa; promotes co-operation in health.
Benefits of membership to Commonwealth.
- Member states have received technical expertise through the provision of experts and advisers in various fields e.g. agriculture.
- The developing member states of the organization have acquired skilled manpower through the provision of scholarship and setting up of training programmes by nations like Britain and Canada.
- Member states have been able to interact with one another through activities such as the commonwealth games and cultural exchange programmes.
- Member states have conducted trade among themselves with relative ease and this has helped them to develop their economies.
- The organization has promoted friendship and understanding among member states through conferences such as The Heads of Government meetings.
- It has enhanced democratization process in developing member states of the organization
Problems facing Commonwealth of Nations.
- Differences in economic development levels of member states militate against cooperation. Members coming from developing world have very different outlook from those coming from the developed world.
- Ideological disputes among member states have hampered the operations of the Commonwealth of Nations.
- Lacks sufficient funds to carry out its work efficiently. Poor members normally owe many debts to their foreign masters and would therefore toe to their demands.
- The problem of sovereignty. Many countries disregard the commonwealth resolutions in favour of their sovereignty.
- It lacks an effective machinery to affect its decisions. It also lacks a standing army to implement and effect its resolutions.
- Loyalty to other organizations. commonwealth members are also members of other organizations; the interests of these organizations are not in accord with those of the commonwealth
- The colonial legacy. Many problems arising from past colonial policies have rocked the organization. E.g. the land issue in Zimbabwe.
- The influence of other organizations like NATO who weaken the commonwealth by wooing members to their regions.
- Race and colour problem. The conflict between white and black people or other color has become another setback.
- Dominance by the big powers. This has caused dismay to the organization. Serious inner tension still undermines the commonwealth activities.
NAM Structure and Organization
NAM was an organization that did not have formal structures like UNO and Commonwealth. It did not have a secretariat or a constitution.
The movement had a unique administrative style as follows:
The administration is non-hierarchical, rotational and inclusive, providing all member states, regardless of size and importance with an opportunity to participate in global decision making and world politics.The country that hosts the summit holds office until the next summit. Non-aligned countries place the onus of an administrative structure on the country assuming the chair. The country is required to create or designate an entire section of the ministry of foreign affairs to deal specifically with the Non-Aligned Movement. The chair’s ambassador in the United Nations essentially functions as the ‘minister of Non-Aligned Affairs’. NAM has also created contact groups, task forces and committees to facilitate the chair’s responsibility as follows;
The Coordinating Bureau.
This is the focal point for coordination. It reviews and facilitates the harmonization of the NAM working groups, contact groups, task forces and committees. Working Groups, Contact Groups, Task Forces and Committees.They include NAM High-level working group for the restructuring of the United Nations, NAM working group on Human Rights, Disarmament, Committee on Palestine, Contact Groups on Cyprus, and Task Force on Somalia etc. these groupings meet often.
Non-Aligned security Caucus
The countries that make up the NAM council caucus are expected to constantly strive to adopt unified positions so that the decisions and positions of NAM are reflected in the Security Council decisions without prejudice to their sovereignty.
Joint coordinating committee
This is a coordinating committee established in 1994 and sitting in New York, whose main mandate is to promote cooperation and coordination between the NAM and the Group of 77 in promoting the interests of developing countries in international fora.
Coordination of non-aligned countries in the UN centres
This is aimed at facilitating coordination and cooperation with the coordinating bureau and enhances the role of NAM in the international Fora.
The concept of Troika emerged on 6th April 1997 in New Delhi, India, during the meeting of foreign ministers of NAM representing past, present and future chairs. The concept simply implies a meeting of past, present and future chairs who began to meet in September 1997 as a discussion forum.
Panel of economists
This is an ad hoc panel of economists formed from Non-Aligned countries to assess the current international economic situation from the perspective of developing countries and to identify and analyze their major issues of concern.
This is the responsibility of the host country but after wide consultation. The host country must circulate the First Draft not later than one month before the meeting.
The movement makes all its decisions by consensus. This concept presupposes understanding of and respect for different points of view, including disagreement and mutual accommodation. This promotes solidarity and unity of the movement.
They include the following
- Conference of Heads of State and Government. This is NAM’s highest decisionmaking authority and meets once every three years. It has two committees, one on political issues and another on economic and social issues. The summit is held atleast one month before the regular session of the UN General Assembly. During the summit, there is a formal ceremony for handing over the chair.
- Ministerial conference. Its task is to review developments and implement decisions of the preceding summit and also discuss matters of urgency. The conference meets 18 months after the summit.
- Ministerial meeting in New York during a session of the UN General Assembly. This is a meeting of foreign ministers annually in New York at the beginning of the regular session of the UN Assembly. The purpose of the meeting is to deliberate on the items of the Agenda of the General Assembly that are of major importance to the movement.
- Ministerial Meeting of the Coordinating Bureau. The main task is to prepare for the summits, and where necessary, to consider issues of major importance to the movement.
- Meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Methodology. The attendance is by all NAM members and its meetings are held by the decision of the summit or the ministerial conference. The meetings are chaired by the chair of NAM.
- Meeting of the standing ministerial committee on economic cooperation. These meetings are meant to strengthen south-south cooperation, reactivate the dialogue between the developing and developed countries and enhance the role of the UN General Assembly, in international cooperation for development. The meetings are held frequently upon recommendation of the coordinating Bureau.
- Ministerial Meetings in various fields of international cooperation. They discuss issues like agriculture, information and external debt.
- Extraordinary Meetings of the Coordinating Bureau. They address exceptional cases that call for urgent consideration.
- Meetings of the Working Groups, Task Forces, Contact Groups and Committees.
The meetings are held as often as necessary.
The Growth of NAM
After the Bandung Conference of 1955 which established the movement, NAM has attracted many developing counties. . A number of conferences have been held since then;
- The first summit, Belgrade, 1961. The attendance was by 25 non-aligned countries who met at a time when world peace was threatened seriously by the looming nuclear war. The meeting’s objective was to prevent the outbreak of a nuclear war in the world.
- The second summit, Cairo, 1964. The summit of October 1964 was attended by 47 Nations and 10 observers. There were 28 representatives from Africa. The conference mainly focused on problems facing NAM countries due to colonial inheritance, policies of former colonial powers and the rivalry between the great powers..
- The third summit, Lusaka, 1970. The attendance was by 53 members the meeting resolved that time was ripe for declaration on peace, independence, cooperation and democratization. The members were out to fight colonialism and racism. The main resolution was the members’ determination to achieve economic emancipation.
- The Fourth Summit, Algiers, 1973. It was attended by 75 members, eight observers, three guest nations and 15 liberation movements. The meeting was an attempt to transform the existing system of economic and financial relations in a manner that would liberate developing countries from a subordinate role into an equal position with industrialized countries. The members developed an action programme in the interest of economic cooperation.
- The fifth Summit, Colombo, 1976. It was attended by 86 members, who focused on the liberation of Zimbabwe and Namibia, the abolition of apartheid in South Africa as a way of promoting world peace.
- The sixth Summit, Havana, 1979. The conference was attended by 93 members, 12 observers, 8 guest nations and seven new members. The meeting declared that imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, racism, foreign aggression, expansion, occupation, domination, interference or hegemony, Great power bloc, subjugation, dependency and pressures in international relations as enemies of nonalignment. The chairman of the summit was Fidel Castro who put forth his ideas that the socialist bloc is a natural ally of the movement.
- The seventh summit, New Delhi, 1983. It was attended by 96 members, 16 observers and 20 guest nations. The summit took place at a time when there was intense confrontation as the great powers continued to amass nuclear weapons. . Indra Gandhi appeared to be the moderate leader to host the conference and soften the impact of Cuban radicalism. The conference discussed peace, nuclear disarmament, development strategies for north-south Dialogue on a new world economic order, and the south-south cooperation for collective self-reliance.
- The eighth summit, Harare, 1986. It marked NAM’s silver Jubilee. The main concern was Namibia’s independence and apartheid in south Africa.. NAM emphasized its sanctions against the Pretoria (South Africa) regime. It drew an action plan to deal with the threat posed by South Africa. The summit came up with a special solidarity fund to help the frontline states.
- The Ninth summit, Belgrade, 1989.
- The tenth Summit, Jakarta, 1992.
- The eleventh Summit, Cartagena de Indias, 1995.
- The twelfth Summit, Durban 1998.
- The thirteenth Summit, Kuala Lumpar, 2003.
Performance of the Non-Aligned Movement
Though critics have questioned the relevance of NAM after dismantling apartheid and achieving independence, and after end of cold war, there still exist situations that require NAM’s participation.
Reasons why NAM is still relevant
- NAM is the only forum that can articulate the voice of justice and sanity in the world in view of the unending Arms Race.
- NAM is the only forum through which the demand for a less unjust world economic order can be raised given the kind of hold the developed nations still have on developing nations.
- NAM remains the third world’s shield against the pressures of the superpower elephants that can easily trample on the grass of the lesser animals even after end of cold war.
- NAM can still play a role in addressing emerging world issues such as terrorism, environmental degradation, HIV/AIDS and racism.
Achievements of NAM
- It has helped speed up the attainment of freedom in states that were under colonial bondage.
- NAM has assisted its members in safeguarding their national security and territorial integrity.
- Nan-aligned nations also worked to eliminate conflict between the superpowers. This helped in the promotion of peace and security for the non-aligned world. India for example played a role in solving the Korean War, the Suez crisis and IndoChinese conflict.
- NAM created a conducive environment for peace, justice, equality and international cooperation by contributing to the relaxation of international tension by keeping clear of the two military blocs, USA and USSR.
- The movement has strengthened African and Asian Countries diplomatically at a time when they lacked necessary physical strength. They were able to exert their voting power as Afro-Asian bloc to influence world affairs.
- NAM provided an international forum where members’ voices could be heard. It was able to work to dismantle apartheid by its two-third world community membership despite the Reagan administration’s opposition to sanctions against South Africa.
- The movement has given members freedom to put their national interests before those of the great power blocs.
- The NAM through the Cairo and Colombo Summits termed as World Disarmament conferences, played a key role in the disarmament process. The 1967 Treaty of Tlatelolco, signed by 22 states, set up a weapon Free Zone in Latin America.
- The Non-aligned states have helped in international crisis management since they are not committed to any course of military action. For example during the 1961 Berlin crisis, Nehru of India and Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana went to Moscow for a peace mission, while Achmad Sukarno of Indonesia and Modibo Keita of Mali went to Washington DC to try and create a conducive atmosphere for managing the crisis.
- NAM has worked towards creation of new international economic order. Members of the movement are able to trade with both the great power blocs. Membership to the Group of 77 in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is drawn from the non-aligned nations. The non-aligned nations were open to aid from both blocs and also ready to expand their trade with both sides of the ideological divide.
- The Solidarity fund established during the Harare Summit of 1986 cushioned the frontline states against the economic sanctions imposed on apartheid South Africa.
- NAM has worked to create the new scientific and technological order. The members have demanded a new scientific and technological order by favouring access to the most advanced technology and scientific research available as a means of bridging the technological gap between the developed countries and developing ones.
Factors which have undermined the activities of the Non-Aligned Movement.
- Political instability is frequently experienced by some member states. For example, civil wars and military coups in DRC, the Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, interstate wars like in the case of Iran and Irag. This has undermined their contribution to the movement.
- Economic ties between the third world countries and their colonial masters had made it difficult for the member states to pursue an independent line.
- Border disputes between neighboring member countries has weakened the course of the movement. E.g. between morocco and Algeria, North Korea and South Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, Ethiopia and Somalia, Uganda and Tanzania etc.
- Economic backwardness of some of the member states has made it difficult for them to meet their obligation in the movement as national needs come first in view of the meager resources of some of the nations.
- Ideological differences between member states have undermined their co operation. Its large size of 116 members by 2004 has frustrated its ideological coherence and organizational solidarity. Whereas some countries are inclined towards the west, others are inclined to the east.
- Membership to other organizations like AU, commonwealth and the French community, has made it difficult for some states to participate actively in the affairs of the movement.
- Breakup of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War has destabilized the movement. As power bloc rivalry subsided, NAM appeared to become irrelevant.
- Conflicting national interests. Individual national interests have failed to agree with the objectives of the movement.
- Personality differences between leaders of member states have undermined the activities. For example, several leaders rejected the radical views of Fidel Catron of Cuba.
- Differences unrelated to the principles of NAM have developed among members. For example at the Colombo Summit of 1978, several Arab states were keen to see Egypt expelled from the movement on grounds that she had signed a separate peace treaty with Israel. This was not an agreement with a superpower and therefore had nothing to do with NAM.
- NAM lacks a permanent Army or a permanent institutional framework or machinery that can enable it carry out its activities effectively. For example, it fai led to persuade irag and Iran to end the 8 year long war from 1980.
The Cold War refers to the strained relations that existed between the western world led principally by the United States and the communist East led by the USSR, after the Second World War.
It was so called because it was fought not with weapons, but with words, propaganda, military and financial aid to enemies of the opposing sides.
Although there was no actual physical confrontation, Cold War was characterized by a conflict of the most serious and deadly kind.
- Ideological differences. There was deep-seated fear and mutual suspicion between USA and USSR over the spread of their ideologies–capitalism and communism. E.g The establishment of the Soviet Union through acquisition of satellite states was a measure to contain capitalism.
- Disagreement over the issue of disarmament. The use of atomic bomb on Japan by USA towards the end of World War II alarmed USSR. The two sides failed to agree on an arms reduction plan and continued to stockpile atomic bombs.
- Economic rivalry. In 1947, the USA President Harry S. Truman introduced the Marshal Plan, a scheme to assist western European countries that had been devastated by war. The USSR in turn formed Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON), an economic cooperative plan for Eastern Europe. This further heightened the hostility between the west and the east.
- Formation of military alliances. In April 1949, the USA, western European countries and Canada formed a military alliance through the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington D.C. (NATO). The formation of NATO ended USA’s isolationist policy. Russians responded by signing the Warsaw Pact, in May 1955, a military alliance of communist countries. These alliances fostered hostility between countries.
- The use of Russian veto powers in the UN. Russia used her veto powers to defeat UN proposals, which she accused of being pro-USA. The struggle by the two powers to dominate the UN increased tension between them.
- Disagreement over the future of Germany as a whole. Western allies wanted a strong Germany to assist in the economic prosperity of other nations. Russia was keen on a politically and economically weak Germany to safeguard against another invasion. NB- in 1961, the USSR built the Berlin Wall, thus dividing East Berlin from West Berlin.
- USA’s military advancement. By 1945, the USA was the only country that possessed atomic weapons. This created fear.
The cold war was fought in Europe Asia, Latin America and Africa,
The course of the Cold War in Europe
The cold war in Europe involved a conflict between the West and the East. The highlights of this conflict included Russia’s overwhelming encroachment and dominance of Eastern Europe. Russia used her military might to impose communist governments on many states like Poland and Romania. They also fanned civil wars. E.g the Greek civil war of 1946. There were widespread outbreaks of violence and demands of freedoms in Poland and Romania, based on western ideologies, in politics and economy.
In Czechoslovakia, communist Russia orchestrated protests against reforms based on western ideologies, by the Dubcek Government, which was supported by the west. Dubcek was arrested and flown to Moscow. Dr. Husak, a Russian ally was installed.
The following are the major developments that characterized cold war in Europe.
- In March 1947, the US president Harry Truman, through ‘The Truman Doctrine’ declared that the USA would support free people resisting subjugation by armed minorities. In 1947, USA took over Britain’s commitment in Greece and turkey to support the anti-communist regimes.
- In 1947, the US Secretary of state, George Marshall came up with a proposal which was to become the Marshall Plan. This was a plan through which the US would make a major contribution to the economic recovery of Europe. The plan was rejected by USSR terming it an American interference in the internal affairs of other nations.
- Stalin set up the Communist Information Bureau (COMINFORM) to coordinate the work of communist parties in Europe and the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) to counter the US Marshal Plan.
- The NATO and Warsaw Pact. By the treaty of Brussels in March 1948, Britain, France, Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg formed a defensive alliance against any form of aggression (It became the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-NATO, in April 1949 when other European Nations joined it. In response to NATO, the Soviet Union signed the Warsaw Pact in Poland on 14th May 1955 with East \Germany and six Eastern European countries. The existence of NATO and Warsaw Pact only intensified the hostilities.
- The Berlin Blockade. Germany was divided into two zones, East and West. Russia treated East Germany as a satellite state thus curtailing trade between east and west. This move almost led to starvation in the west as East Germany was the main producer. In May 1948, all roads and rail routes into West Berlin were sealed off by Russian troops. For over two years, food, coal medical supplies and other necessities to the 2 million people in West Berlin were airlifted since there was no land linkage. The blockade ended in may 1949 with diverstating consequences.
- Partition of Germany. The west was prepared to give freedom to the Germans as a whole to decide their own fate. Russia was determined to ensure that East Germany remained dominated by communism under Russian control. On 23rd may 1949, the western occupation zone in Germany became the Federal Republic of Germany with Konrad Adenauer as the chancellor in September elections. On 7th October 1949, the soviet zone formed the Germany Democratic Republic.In August 1961, the East Germans built the Berlin Wall, curtailing communication and flow of refugees from the west.
The Cold War was Fought in Asia
In Asia, China was the first front of Cold War. She embraced communism, following the successful takeover of the country by the forces of Mao Tse-tung in October 1949, assisted by the Russians. The Sino-Soviet Treaty of friendship was signed in 1950.
Korea, formerly controlled by Japan, was another front for cold war in Asia. When Japan was defeated in 1945, Korea was occupied from the south by American forces, from the north by Russians, placing the country under joint control. The occupying powers failed to unite the two Korea sections when she became independent.In 1948, the USA announced the formation of the Independent Democratic Republic of Korea in the South. The Russians formed the Peoples Republic of Korea in the north.On 25th June 1950, North Korea Forces invaded South Korea in an attempt to unite. UN condemned this and An American General, Douglas MacArthur led the UN forced that repulsed the invaders.
The cold war spread to Vietnam, with USSR and USA clashing over Vietnam, formerly a colony of France that had been seized by Japan. The two super powers supported different nationalist leaders in the struggle for independence from France.The Russians supported Ho Chi-Minh who led a revolt by the Vietnamese, against the French. USA supported Ngo Dinh Diem. The Vietnam War erupted as a resultThe Vietnam War was the heaviest cost of containing communism by Americans in a distant country. Americans were humiliatingly defeated in 1975 with a causality of 53,000, despite employing over 400,000 troops. The communist guerillas, the Viet Cong, established a communist government in South Vietnam. The war strengthened American hostility towards Russia
There was an armed conflict between the super powers in Afghanistan from 1978. The height of the conflict in Afghanistan was the Boycott of the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 as a protest against USSR’s involvement in Afghanistan. The conflict took the form of a civil war which was only eased in 1989 when the USSR began to withdraw its troops.
The Cold War in Latin America (the Cuban Missile Crisis)
Cuba became the theatre of cold war when USA unsuccessfully supported the Cuban dictator, General Fulgencio Batista against Fidel Castro who was fighting to end Batista’s regime. Fidel Castro overthrew the Batista regime in 1958. The new government immediately gained recognition from many world nations including USA and USSR
In 1960, Fidel began a communist nationalization programme of American oil refineries and sugar plantations. This strained relations between him and the US who attempted unsuccessfully to invade Cuba in 1961 at Bay of Pigs. In January 1962, Cuba was expelled from the Organization of American States.In May 1962, USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev secretly built missile installations in Cuba as a means of countering any future American invasion, in exchange for sugar. The discovery, by American president J. F. Kennedy in October 1962, of the Russian missile installations in Cuba was the beginning of the most serious cold war crisis. He declared that any nuclear missile attack from Cuba would be taken to be an attack by the USSR and USA would respond accordingly.USA declared a Naval Quarantine on Cuba to blockade any Russian Vessels
This most serious cold war crisis was only ended when the Russian leader Khrushchev removed the missiles from Cuba and dismantled Russia’s bases in Cuba.
The Cold War in Africa
- The cold war in Africa was majorly witnessed in Ethiopia and Angola.
- In Ethiopia, Mengistu Haile – Mariam, overthrew Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974, with the assistance of USSR. Haile Mariam introduced socialist programmes, However, they were short-lived up to the end of his rule in May 1991, when Russians withdrew their assistance.In Angola, on 11th November 1975, Angola attained her independence from Portugal, with the assistance of the Soviet Union and Cuba.Soon after, a bruising civil war broke out. USA supported the rebels, led by Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA movement based in Ovimbudu. Cuba and Russia supported the MPLA government based in Luanda. Democratic elections were held in Angola in 1989, when USSR eased their aid to MPLA.
- The death of Stalin and the flexibility of Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev. The successor of Joseph Stalin, after his death in 1953, Nikita Khrushchev, was more flexible and willing to relax both cold war abroad and Authoritarianism at home. He announced the policy of peaceful coexistence in 1956.
- The willingness of David Dwight Eisenhower, Truman’s successor, to reach compromise with the Soviet Union over a number of issues. For example he convened the Camp David Summit in 1959, with Khrushchev in which a cooperative spirit emerged between the east and the west. However this happened against the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis.
- The signing of the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (The SALT Treaty) in 1972. The treaty, signed between USA and Russia limited strategic arms to certain quantities. This was followed by the Improvement of the Chinese –American relations in 1972 and American relations with Russia. In 1972. President Nixon visited Beijing and Moscow
- The introduction of reforms in Russia by Mikhail Gorbachev. In 1985, Gorbachev introduced the Glasnost (openness policy) and the perestroika reforms (economic restructuring that appealed favourably to the west) which won him the Nobel peace Prize in 1990.
- The adoption of President Reagan’s Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI) in 1983. This initiative led to setting up of space stations that would destroy every missile in the sky. This was Star Wars.
- The collapse of the Communist rule in Europe. Russia’s president recognized the independence of other republics of USSR in 1989 thus weakening Russia’s position. Western democracy was introduced in Romania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
- The successful re-unification of Germany under Helmut Kohl in 1990. The nations united to form the republic of Germany. This was a clear indicator of the joint commitment of the superpowers in maintaining their spheres of influence had been weakened.
- The dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. With the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, the Warsaw pact started to fall apart. In November 1990, the Paris Charter was signed, effectively dissolving the Warsaw Pact.
- The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. Several of its states seceded. Russia officially became an aid receiver instead of an aid donor.
- The signing of the START Treaty in 1991 by Gorbachev and George Bush, after the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks. The treaty officially ended the cold war. Destruction of weapons of mass destruction commenced.
- It brought immense divisions and conflict to people of the same continent, region and countries based on pro-west or pro-east ideologies. E.g. in Angola
- Oppressive regimes found their way to power, supported by either the west or the east.
- There was untold suffering to the people. Disease, poverty and refugee camps became common sights
- There was destruction of the economy as infrastructure was destroyed by war. As communist systems failed to produce wealth, unemployment and poverty set in.
- It created mistrust and suspicion amongst nations.
- It led to arms race. It led to militarization of regions and countries.
- It led to political crises and actual war e.g. civil wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.
- It threatened international peace and security. Insecurity in the world increased.
- Led to formation of Non-Aligned Movement by third world countries.
- Led to formation of economic alliances and military alliances like NATO (1949) and the Warsaw pact (1955). COMECON (1949) and the European Economic Union (1957.
- The cold war led to development in science and technology. The war Stimulated space science/space race.
- Some African countries that were formerly socialist are in problems following collapse of USSR in 1990. E.g. Somalia, Ethiopia, Angola and Mozambique.
- The end of the cold war has led to the removal of financial aid and military support for some African countries. Military or food aid is no longer rushed to countries experiencing problems because there is no more superpower competition. E.g failure to prevent the Rwanda genocide and failure to assist in the Somali crisis and the current Al-shabaab crisis.
- There was emergence of new world political and economic order. The end of war has led to emergence of USA as a ‘world policeman’ over developing nations. The countries must act according to USA wishes or suffer lack of aid and receive harassment from superpowers.
- It has led to marginalization of Africa in international affairs.
- There are conditionalties for getting aid from the western powers. Besides, Africa no longer has a choice of donors who comprise mainly of western world countries.