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What were the implications of bipolarity for global order? Jan 06. Jan 02.

Bipolarity- when international politics revolves around 2 poles, with lesser powers clustering around each. In the Cold War, each superpower was the dominant member of their form of political system.

Elements of stability:

  • 2 centres of power, the system was more predictable and restrained each superpower from actions that could have led to a nuclear war
  • superpowers dampened down tensions within their bloc (e.g. the US helped to limit conflict between greece and turkey, communists party suppressed ethnic conflicts in the soviet bloc
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Dangers of a bipolar system:

  • if much of the world is under the influence of only 2 powers, a conflict between them would make the whole world involved. Threat of nuclear annihilation.
  • although 2 superpowers never fought directly, many conflicts which superpowers tooks sides in an armed their clients e.g. Vietnam
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International politics is becoming less stable 1

International politics is becoming less stable. Discuss. June 05.

Suggests that bipolar system is more stable. Era of bipolarity more stable:

  • 2 centres of power. more predictable, and restrained each other.
  • rule of communist party supressed ethnic conflicts e.g. chechnya

Bipolarity instability:

  • threat of nuclear annihilation
  • proxy wars e.g. vietnam

Collapse of bipolarity inevitably led to instability:

  • collapse of communists rule led to the break up of a number of states, the USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. civil wars in a number of these: chechnya and bosnia.
  • attempt of many of the stae in the region to form new alignments with the West led to friction between the US and Russia. e.g. Ukraine Orange Revolution
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International politics is becoming less stable 2

Current international system contains elements of stability and instability (multipolarity):

  • the rise of china, revival of russia, and weakening of US power suggests that unipolarity is giving way to a more multipolar world. Competition between the US and China could be a new source of instability in the future
  • new threats to stability have also emerged since 1991. terrorism: radical islamic groups on western targets. envriomental damage.

However, we shouldnt exaggerate the degree to which the internatioanl system is becoming more unstable. Some of the elements of instability from bipolarity have now been resolved. Civil wars in former USSR and yugoslavia mostly died down. New elements of stability: creation of ICC, Kyoto Treaty, aid agreements like at G8 to cancel debt.

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