Conflict And Cooperation In The Cold War

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1. INTRODUCTION This paper attempts to study the Cold War in the context of conflict and cooperation using the theory of political realism and games theory. The first part of the paper distinguishes between conflict and cooperation in international relations in a realist standpoint. The paper then goes to explain why cooperation between states is theoretically improbable in a bi-polar international system. However, when the Cold War is examined, we come across many instances of cooperation; and not only conflictual situations. This paper therefore elaborates a list of incidents that occurred between the USA and USSR during the Cold War to understand the nature of conflict and cooperation. Finally, as an addendum, this paper expounds why cooperation was possible in the midst of conflict during Cold War using games theory and the Nash equilibrium. 2. POLITICAL REALISM AND NATIONAL INTEREST The realist theory, including classic and neo-realists, suggest that people in general are selfish and aggressive. Hans Morgenthau, the father of Political Realism, stated that all international politics is a struggle for power, and that a state’s main goal is national security. As the international system exists in an anarchical world where there are no binding legal structures to ensure agreements concerning trade, alliance commitments or arms control. As a result, it is difficult for a state to trust…show more content…
For instance, the USA did not voice much opposition to the Soviet intervention into Hungary as USSR kept silent about the British and French involvement in the Suez Crisis against Gamal Abdel Nasser. Similarly, the United States largly ignored the Czechoslovakian situation as both USSR and USA wanted to pursue an arms control treaty with the Soviets, which culminated with the signing of the SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation

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