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The Cold War as Cooperation

  • Edward A. Kolodziej

Abstract

The Cold War may be viewed as cooperation. Less than a decade ago, during the first years of the Reagan administration and the last years of the Brezhnev era, such a suggestion would have appeared naively sanguine — even absurd. Now the reverse appears true, even to the casual observer. As we all sense and as this chapter and those that follow detail, the Cold War is no longer a driving force in world politics, nor is it as central a problem as before in addressing the problems facing the world community, including the superpowers.

Keywords

Regional Approach Grand Coalition World Politics Commitment Strategy Ruling Elite 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Kenneth E. Boulding’s analysis of political-military, economic, and social power provides a unifying framework to understand superpower relations as a species of a larger genus of human interaction based, interdependently, on threat, exchange, or affection. Kenneth E. Boulding, Three Faces of Power (Berkeley: Sage, 1989).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    William McNeill, America, Britain, and Russia: Their Cooperation and Conflict, 1941–1946 (London: Oxford University Press, 1954).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Thomas C. Schelling, The Strategy of Conflict (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schelling pursues his interest in defining winning rules in bargaining situations, where the rivals manipulate each other’s expectations by threatening to ‘kill, maim, damage and hurt’ to get their way, in Arms and Influence (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1966). Schelling’s approach, while logical and tightly reasoned, has elicited sharp and telling criticism when applied to nuclear deterrence and, doubly so, to regional conflicts. His game theoretic approach is a useful heuristic device to capture synoptically some of the essential elements of the superpower conflict, especially at the nuclear level, free from the specific issues and stakes at play. For a generic critique of game theory, which develops the limitations of this approach in greater measure than can be attempted here, see Robert Jervis, ‘From Balance of Power to Concert: A Study of International Security Cooperation’, World Politics, vol. XXXVIII, no. 1 (October 1985), pp. 58–79. See also the defense of game theory by Duncan Snidal, ‘The Game Theory of International Relations’, ibid., pp. 25–57. For empirically based critiques of the Schelling approach, see Alexander L. George and Richard Smoke, Deterrence in American Foreign Policy (New York: Columbia University Press, 1974), especially pp. 1–103Google Scholar
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  6. 5.
    The editors have eschewed the application of formal regime theory, such as it exists, to superpower relations. Differences over power, values, and interests have been so sharp and conflicting that efforts to impose the complicated paraphernalia of regime analysis on superpower relations would have unduly constrained the contributors in analyzing the complex range of choices confronting states and regional players. These still need to be identified before one can realistically talk about regimes. On the other hand, the history of the Cold War, viewed within the larger context of the international system and the compelling force of the domestic political struggles of nation-states, evidences more than just power politics as the sole touchstone for explaining political behavior or outcomes. See the discussion below for an elaboration of these reservations. For a discussion of the rival schools of thought with respect to regime theory, see Stephen D. Krasner, International Regimes (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    Raymond Aron portrays Schelling’s more abstract conceptualization in the notion of ‘brothers-enemies’ who are bound by necessity to cooperate because each has the power to destroy the other. Raymond Aron, Peace and War, trans. Richard Howard and Annette Baker Fox (Garden City: Doubleday, 1966), pp. 536–74Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    Recognition of this political condition is certainly not new although it has been variously expressed by statesmen and observers since Thucydides through Machiavelli and Hume. Contemporary expositors and exponents of this partial characterization of the international system include inter alia, Hans Morgenthau, Politics among Nations (New York: Knopf, 1985, 6th edn)Google Scholar
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    The rival claims of these two approaches are systematically examined and evaluated in Robert Gilpin, The Political Economy of International Relations (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  14. 11.
    The resistance to superpower rule on grounds of illegitimacy is at the heart of the Gaullist critique of the international system. See Edward A. Kolodziej, French International Policy under De Gaulle and Pompidou: The Politics of Grandeur (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974).Google Scholar
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    Stalinist repression as well as Mao-Tse Tung’s Cultural Revolution exemplify the problem. Alexander I. Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago, 1918–1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, trans. Thomas P. Whitney (New York: Harper and Row, 1974)Google Scholar
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  17. 13.
    This issue is first raised systematically by Alexis de Tocqueville in De la Démocratie en Amérique (Paris: Paguerre, 1950, 3rd edn)Google Scholar
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    The notion of international society is adapted from Hedley Bull’s more restricted notion of a society of states: Hedley Bull, The Anarchical Society (London: Macmillan, 1977)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 15.
    For overviews of US and Soviet strategic nuclear policies, see, inter alia, Lawrence Freedman, Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989, 2nd edn)Google Scholar
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  22. 16.
    This argument is developed by Kenneth Waltz in The Man, The State, and War (New York: Columbia University Press, 1959)Google Scholar
  23. 17.
    The rise of US postwar economic hegemony is traced by Richard Cooper in The Economics of Interdependence (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1968)Google Scholar
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  27. 19.
    The debate surrounding Paul Kennedy’s The Rise and Fall of Great Powers (New York: Random House, 1987)Google Scholar
  28. 20.
    See, for example, Richard Rosecrance, The United States as an Ordinary Power (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1978).Google Scholar
  29. 21.
    Rejecting the simplicity of bipolarity does not readily produce a satisfying definition of what is properly international or a theory of international relations. For one not altogether satisfying attempt at developing an overarching theoretical framework, examine Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Power and Interdependence (Boston: Little, Brown, 1989, 2nd edn).Google Scholar
  30. 22.
    This paradox is not as strange as it may appear if one examines American politics. One speaks, for example, of the Jacksonian or Jeffersonian revolutions, signifying a fundamental change in how politics is played, who are permitted as players, what their roles are (mass, parties, and elites), and who gets what. Illustrative are Arthur Schlesinger’s interpretations of the Jacksonian period and Leonard D. White’s four-volume treatise tracing the evolution of American civil service practice. See, respectively, Arthur Schlesinger, Jr, Age of Jackson (Boston: Little, Brown, 1945)Google Scholar
  31. Leonard D. White, The Federalists (New York: Macmillan, 1959)Google Scholar
  32. 24.
    The Soviet experience is traced at length in Edward A. Kolodziej and Roger E. Kanet (eds), The Limits of Soviet Power in the Developing World: Thermidor in the Revolutionary Struggle (London: Macmillan; and Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  33. 26.
    Quoted from Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (New York: J & J Harper, 1926), I, 18.Google Scholar
  34. 27.
    These include Alexander George et al., Managing US—Soviet Rivalry: Problems of Crisis Prevention (Boulder: Westview, 1983)Google Scholar
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  36. 28.
    Robert Axelrod, The Evolution of Cooperation (New York: Basic Books, 1984)Google Scholar
  37. 29.
    Of interest is the recent and seminal work of Arthur Stein, Forces of Circumstance: Structure and Choice in International Relations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1989)Google Scholar
  38. Steven Brams, Applying Game Theory to Superpower Conflict (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  39. 30.
    An attempt to develop the notion of a regional approach to security analysis is found in Barry Buzan, ‘A Framework for Regional Security Analysis’, in South Asian Security and the Great Powers, Barry Buzan et al. (eds), New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1986), pp. 3–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 34.
    Karl Mannheim’s treatment of ideology as only a partial truth is still powerful and relevant. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1955).Google Scholar
  41. 35.
    For complexity, see John Rawls, Theory of Justice (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1971)Google Scholar
  42. Quincy Wright, A Study of War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), pp. 8–9.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Roger E. Kanet and Edward A. Kolodziej 1991

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  • Edward A. Kolodziej

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