The Cold War A Very Short Introduction by Robert McMahon


Based in the book: The Cold War A Very Short Introduction by Robert McMahon. Chapter 1: World War II and the destruction of the old order

“The most shocking fact about war is that its victims and its instruments are individual human beings, and that these individual beings are condemned by the monstrous conventions of politics to murder or be murdered in quarrels not their own.” Aldous Huxley

World War II brought surpassing levels of death, devastation, privation and disorder, it lasted from 1939 to 1945 involving the vast majority of the world’s nations. approximately sixty million people died, million of civilian deaths. The world, specifically the European continent, laid in ruins.

As we saw the world order changed, most of the countries were experiencing desolation, almost every single person lost a loved one, but as most of us know there was one place where things were different: for the United States the war meant prosperity even abundance, their number of losses were moderate in comparison with others, in that moment they felt unbeatable. The US produced by the end of the war 50% of the goods and people all around the world needing them was seen like a great power to Americans. They had advantage due to the fact that all industries were destroyed, but that also helped millions of people to survive.  They got more powerful by helping people, not that bad.

Another way of order could be defined from the military power. the US started to get worried about the military preparation. They became superior in this fact but they were not unbeatable,  we should never think we are unbeatable, that put us on disadvantage, the other could attack when we are distracted. Even if the US had great power they were vulnerable as shown in the Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor. But they were geopolitically intelligent, even if they had flaws as anyone, they were well prepared and were preparing in topics they considered important like military power as we said.

People say: bad memories are forgotten and good memories survive in time, but it is hard to forget all the consequences and effects of war, and more because those consequences brought a reorganization of power, a new socioeconomic order. Also the world entered the nuclear age, all led by the hegemony: the Soviet Union in the Communist world, and the United States in the capitalist world. We also learn from bad memories.

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

People learned little with the second world war, as a new era of conflicts and war began. For over forty years, the world was divided and generated what is known today as the “Cold War”; it was the struggle between the capitalist and communist powers to establish its dominance in the world. that new world order was not as stable as thought. Some humans are always thinking the way in which they could get more and more powerful, a war is a great business, and a good way to gain power from someone else.

The United States would confront Communism elsewhere. In an atmosphere charged with paranoia and anxiety, there was fear about “enemies within” sabotaging United States foreign policy and passing atomic secrets to the Soviets. The post-World War II period was an era of intense anxiety, dynamic, and creative change. The old order changed and with all the things going on, will continue changing, today Russia is giving some important steps, some situations are moving the world and some powers want that moving on their direction, to benefit themselves. Power moves people and makes them bring everything they have in mind to real life, war is just a movement in the chess game. We should care more about people than power.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute  power corrupts absolutely”  Lord Acton


Daniela Toro Becerra






The United Nations and international order

Essay based on the chapter 16 (The United Nations and international order) of the book ‘The Globalization of world politics’

“I like globalization I want to say it works, but it is hard to say that when six hundred million people are slipping backwards” Paul Wolfowitz.

If we come to talk about globalization, we must talk about international order and an organization that has played an important role has been The United Nations (UN), we should talk about how the UN tries to maintain international order, how it has acted when there were problems within the states, its involvement in world issues, how it has taken part on intervention and how it has become a national good for some states.

Let’s begin giving a brief history of the UN. The name “United Nations” was first used in the Declaration by The United Nations of January 1, 1942, during the Second World War, when representatives of twenty-six(26) nations pledged their governments to continue fighting together against the Axis Powers. There is a relation between order and justice and the UN was part of this relation, it was set up to preserve peace between states. The UN became a moral pressure for states to act well. The repuation in the UN context had become for some states an important national good, acting morally may improve states’ personal standard and give them the opportunity to be in the Security Council. The United Nations officially came into existence on October 24, 1945, when the Charter had been ratified by China, France, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and by a majority of other signataries.

The predecessor of the United Nations was the League of Nations, an organization conceived in similar circumstances during the First World War, established in 1919, and in some ways the UN reflected lessons learned from its forerunner.

Now we may go further, the ending of cold war promoted the attitude of governments to be an active member of the UN. It was hard for them to accept that what happened inside a state was a concern of anyone else, but the lack of internal justice risked international disorder.

“After the Cold War ended, there was a rapid increase in the number of peacekeeping operations. With a new consensus and a common sense of purpose the Security Council authorized a total of 20 new operations between 1989 and 1994, raising the number of peacekeepers from 11,000 to 75,000.”

The ending of the cold war reduced the risk that promotion of justice could bring up a context of superpower rivalry, the conscience of the world needed an agent an the UN was it. It became a focus of global conscience.

Governance is an indication of a step towards a legitimate global government, the UN has become a legitimate government with its concerning about justice for individuals within the state, human rights, refugee problems, humanitarian crisis. Now what happened within states was linked to what happened between them.

There were three main ways the UN was trying to maintain order. First, with the promotion of international standards within states which included a regime restoration because for some states it was like being reborn when there were dictatorships and such. Second, with the promotion of international peace and security right to protect cultural life of peoples. Let’s say, for instance, the action in Kuwait in 1990 when Iraq invaded it and occupied it. On the same day, the Security Council adopted its resolution 660(1990) condemning the invasion and demanding Iraq’s immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its forces to the position they had occupied. Third, the promotion of order when sovereignty was contested by rival groups of citizens, often in civil war, the UN was willing to attempt solving disputes within states. Sovereignty was regarded as central to the system of states.

Intervention, there need to be reasons for intervention in states, and in the early 1990s were being considered new jusifications for this. We have the case of the intervention in Kosovo not by the UN but by NATO saying there were extreme transgressions of human rights. They wanted the return of the refugees. They said they wanted peace to come back. Most of operations of the UN were justified in the traditional way because there was a threat to international peace and security.

We must talk about a case that was not mentioned in the book, but has to be treated when talking about intervention, The Rwandan Genocide in 1994. It is said that the UN activities were meant to aid peace process between the Hutu-dominated Rwandese government and the Tutsi-dominated Rwandan Patriotic Front, The UN said:

“In Rwanda in 1994, the United Nations had peacekeeping troops on the ground at the very place and time where genocidal acts were being commited. During the genocide, some of those peacekeepers lost their lives trying to defend the victims. But instead of reinforcing the troops, the United Nations witthdrew them, a decision made by Member States in the Security Council. Initially, the Security Council rejected the possibility of a military response to the crisis, and some governments refused to allow UN documents to use the word ‘genocide’ to describe the killings taking place in Rwanda.”

Back then the UN pointed out that their troops were not well prepared, that they did not have functioning materia, they did not have the capacity to prevent the genocide but a 1999 report commissioned by Secretary-General Kofi Annan, showed a UN peacekeeping mission in Rwanda doomed from the start by an insufficient mandate and later destroyed by the Security Council’s refusal to strengthen it once the killing began. The UN and its member states failed Rwanda, ignoring evidence that a genocide was planned, refusing to act once it was under way and finally abandoning the Rwandan people when they most needed protection. In my view Rwanda needed intervention but when it got it that was not good enough, most of the people the UN helped were not actual Rwandan people. They were Europeans, Americans but not Rwandans. The UN failed a nation that really needed help and failed in deplorable ways.

The United Nations starts getting under the skin of sovereignty in order ro promote sovereignty, they gave and give humanitarian assistance. Armies in wars were vulnerable to accusations of infringements of human rights, the UN was fighting the threat to international peace, before intervention within states where said to depend on the government approval but that was chaging, there were born non-governmental organizations that were skilful at establishing a presence without government consent, some of these organizations being part of the UN such as the UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund).

Last but not least, we have the roles of the United Nations in 2000. In the first place, peace and security between states, they looked for peace enforcement,, they have the traditional peacekeeping with the cosent of the host states, treating developmen in cooperation with governments, some organizations like the World Healt Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) were workinng with the UN making cooperation in social and technical functions. Second, Justice within states, humanitarian assistance, the UN activities were to make states stronger not weaker. They work on the rehabilitation of states after crisis, promoting and enforcing firmer standards on the environmental protection, population control, human rights and so on, they also created the arms register to know who was giving what to whom.

Finally, the problems of global governance in the early twenty-first century deficiencies. The UN had continuing problems of coordination and planning, they had financial problems and there were problems of executive competence and legitimacy involving the restricted membership of the Security Council, in addition to that the UN lacked mechanisms for judicial review and supervision, that it will alway had to rely on other organization. The Un has the priority of peace, but they did not need only the willing to help, they needed also the tools and capacity to do it. And today the UUN deals with other problems, such as their peacekeeping troops being accused of sexual abuse in central Africa. The UN has taken action suspending their salaries and saying they are looking to give them rest and recreation the UN did not say how that would prevent sexual explotation and abuse.

In conclusion the governancec of the society of states could be carried out by the UN. We hope to find better governments with their help, people have expectations, it not only cares about commerce or the protection of states, the UN also care for the rights and protection of individuals. The organization have made mistakes, but we all have, and every single day we try to improve, that is what they do. Developed states are not the only ones the UN cares about. They want to help the little ones too. Most of the times the UN has intervened has done it in the right ways and for the right causes, it has become a national good for some nations, being member of the UN is something important. The UN tried and is trying to maintain international order, but I think they cannot do it alone, they need states’ cooperation, people’s cooperation, and not only the UN, also other non-governmental institutions like UNICEF, criticizing doing nothing else does not work. If we are going to criticize, let’s do it proposing solutions, changes to improve, all of this can start with every single one of us.

“Everything will be all right – you know when?  When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction and see it as a drawing they made themselves” Dag Hammarskjold

Daniela Toro Becerra


The globalization of worl geopolitics, chapter 16

The UN after cold war: 1989-1994: Rapid Increase in numbers


The New York Times

Kuwait Intervention, Kosovo Intervention, Rwnadan Genocide: United Nations: http:/// 

Rwandan Genocide:

Kosovo Intervention: ttps://


The Paisa Nation in Colombia

Paisas could have a nation, we have the elements to create one, same language and culture, common history and we probably have the same beliefs and dreams but I think Colombia should be a nation, because we already have divisions, paisas, costeños, rolos and so on, some people take those ‘names’ so far that even some times they do not want to see one another just because of the region they belong to, we have divisions and continue to create more.

I do not think we should stay away from the country. I know it is hard because we all think differently, but if we want a common future, it should be for all colombians, no matter the religion, the beliefs, etc. I think we could have diverse nations but we should believe also in a better country. Let’s not run away from the problem instead of that, we should try to give solutions to help others, want it or not we need others. For example, urban Colombia could not eat without the rural one, we should love what a diverse country we are.

Port Antioquia change the map, because paisas would feel more independent from the rest of the country. We would have an economic advantage if we know how to use it, and people will start believing we can make it without te rest. I think paisas could be a new country, I mean lots od countries have been born this recent time, we just need to be well organized in every sense: political, economic, cultural, social. We need to be smart enough to have a successful new country. People need to have clear what to create a new country takes. We could be nation now, but we need to know how to solve the aspects we mentioned before, and we should be strong enough not to give up in an easy way or it would be a complete mess.

In some senses becoming a new country would be worth it, because of the inequity we have today. For example, Choco and Amazonas cannot be compared with Antioquia or Bogota. Some do not receive any help, some do not work, some are abandoned and they already look like a different part of the world and we seem not to care.

We have a particular case, Puerto Rico, they totally depend on the USA, so they have not solved all the issues to be independent, and to be honest I do not think they want to, they are like the lazy son that does not want to leave his mom’s house. There is a lot that needs to be analyzed, it is not as easy as we could imagine.

Daniela Toro Becerra.


The geopolitics show

“History is laden with belligerent leaders using humanitarian rhetoric to mask geopolitical aims. History also shows how often ill-informed moralism has led to foreign entanglements that do more harm than good.”1

The Berlin Wall fell, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the world clamoured for the consumerist boom in an orgy of free-market excitement. Everything seemed to suggest that only liberal capitalist democracy allowed people to thrive in an increasingly globalized world, people were thinking about a future of freedom, of peace, with democratic states; it seemed like the end of history defined by Francis Fukuyama’s in his landmark essay. But history isn’t over, China’s ‘Marxist capitalism’ suggests you can have wealth without freedom, the advance of ISIS may herald a new, state-oriented Islamic fundamentalism, and free markets have not only enlarged the gap between rich and poor, but have also reduced average incomes across the developed and developing countries.

Superpowers playing chess with geopolitical moves: The greatest threat to United States power is the rise of China.  While the USA is dissipating its power through failed military interventions, China is extending its power by economic policies that add to its economic strength, and another actor appears on the scene: Russia’s president Vladimir Putin, and not just a simple actor, a smart one, He is coming out on top of this era of geopolitics. Lots of scenes and actors in the geopolitics’ World, let’s talk about Germany, India, Iran, Israel, Iraq, and the ones mentioned before: USA, Russia and China.

Some would say the fall of the Berlin Wall was the end of history, but it was just a new beginning, the end of history as the world has known it was the start of a modern history. To this day, the Berlin Wall remains one of the most powerful and enduring symbols of the Cold War, “before the wall was built, Berliners on both sides of the city could move around fairly freely: They crossed the East-West border to work, to shop, to go to the theatre and the movies”, a symbol of division. But today there might be cases like that but most of the division is in our minds is like we have a wall in our heads that makes us think we cannot cross a line that will reunite people. Individuality is stronger, most noticeable on ‘superpowers’, they think only on getting what they want no matter what it’s gone on their way.

That take us to analyse Germany’s role in history. Germany has been involved in lots of scenes in history like world wars, the country has resisted great hits, has fallen but stood up on its feet over and over again. German citizens had been destroyed but today even though they remember their history not to repeat, they don’t go around talking about it, they want to keep moving forward. We have Germany’s role in today’s scenarios, the government has taken a main role in the European Union, there’s a crisis now and the German leader Angela Merkel keeps showing their protagonism. It is like if Germany does not talk no one would ever do it, or it might be that if someone else does talk no one would pay attention; or at least that is what it seems. Germany looks like a smart player on the chess board, it wants to look like the good one, the one that helps and cares about people, but we only know what we see from the outside.

“The deployment of Russian military forces to Syria is a major geostrategic inflection. Its significance goes far beyond the situation in Syria. It may well herald, in fact, a new era in global geopolitics and security.”2.

Russia was asleep, at least people thought that, but now it is awake, making smart geopolitical moves with the main actor in front, Vladimir Putin. He says to the world that the actions are not about Russia, there is not personal interest, and they are just thinking globally, not only sharing responsibility, but also trying to find mutually acceptable solutions and compromise, Russia goes through negotiation and through force; but is it true? Putin has shown to be smart enough to go on geopolitical movements in a great way, all going on his favour, and European Crisis has given him a really good opportunity he wouldn’t let go.

“President Barack Obama is deploying a subtle geopolitical strategy that, if successful, might give Washington a fighting chance to extend its global hegemony deep into the 21st century.”3.

Many think of Barack Obama as a well-meaning but naive and weak reformer, but he “hopes to counter China by leveraging American economic power through the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, which will create a global trade bloc from which China and also Russia will be locked out”, giving him the opportunity to maintain the United States in the map of the superpower economies, Obama has faced criticism from the left and right, from US citizens (home) and foreign people, treating him like someone who does not understand reality, but we should give him some credit on the way he has tried to repair  the damage caused by a plethora of Washington foreign policy debacles, how he has tried to rebuild United States’ fading influence in the globe, give him this credit does not mean he has been smart enough, I think he is going by slow steps and in two rows did not do anything with significance but it is better to have someone doing almost nothing to change world order that someone making disasters.

Israel, Iran, Iraq and India were like chess pieces being played by someone else, but today they might be realizing their importance on the world. I think people can analyse how these countries will act in geopolitics and change world order but we cannot predict the future, we are not sure what is going to happen; but we know they are important for the main players in this moment, like the USA and Russia.

Colombia, Is Colombia really important for this geopolitical game? I say yes, yes because of its geographical condition, Colombia is the only country in South America connected to both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean, it could have relevance, and important move made by this president is the Peace talks, even though he knows peace is not only with FARC, he got attention from around the world, he is on the news, he is looking like a peaceful man, he is just strengthening his image, I hope that show is worth the pain of Colombian people, but I think the country and all countries need to recover real politics, when leaders care about people and not just about themselves, leaders with geopolitical intelligence, but I am just picturing an almost perfect world for most of us, but I think the world is going to keep moving the way it is doing know, with unexpected actors that can change the flow.

The game is on and it will keep going on as long as people get obsessed with power and wanting to have control over everything, and will keep going on as long as it is needed.

Daniela Toro Becerra


  1. Samantha Power


Globalization of war?

“What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy?”1

To start I would like to tell you what war on terror is, for those that don’t know (why is that?), War on Terror (WoT) “refers to the international military campaign that started after the September 11 attacks on the United States”2. first used by George W. Bush, president of the US back then, since that time is being used  to argue a global military, political, legal, and conceptual struggle against terrorism in any kind, struggle against terrorist people and the organizations supporting them, we say their names apart even though both are terrorist, but that is fine. In 2013 Barack Obama announced that the United States were no longer pursuing War on Terror because they should focus on the US enemies and not a global thing, not a tactic

Now that we have clear the WoT term we are going to talk about the USA, Russia and France today in a new war on terror and today’s world situation on the fighting against ‘terror’.

First, the United States of America, they are one old national state, they have been globalizing ‘America’, they have roots on liberalism, actually political theorist Louis Hartz has a book called ‘The liberal tradition in America’, but we have seen racism, slavery and such things, so not everything is that wonderful. We should not believe everything they said, and less what Hollywood movies show, I mean, Americans shoot those movies, and some of them have the thought they are perfect and you know what: they believe their own lies, there is no perfection, there is always something or someone wanting only benefits for them and anyone else, it is like television commercials, we only see wonders of lots of products, but I don’t think we are that stupid to believe all of that, we can give it a try but after the first time, we will leave it, or won’t we?, I might be being a little bit tough, because not everyone is like that, but the ones on the head of some nations, not only the US, are this way.

Let’s chat no more, we have to analyse today’s US role on ‘fighting’ terror. Barack Obama: the head of the United States; at least its image, we have seen him so peaceful some people would say. He always wants to go through dialogue, and when he does fight, the army make mistakes like the one they made with Doctors Without Borders hospital. Yes, it is not just critics, he has made good movements and that is better than others making a mess, the US is not the only country, so not the only one making mistakes, there are even some doing nothing, but for several reasons we do not know, I think some mistakes are even planned, I am not talking about the one I mentioned, but  we need to have in mind that even if politicians look like idiots, most of them (we have exceptions) are so much smarter than we think.

Obama has tried to fix broken relations, step by step, because why to hurry, but that is bringing US image of a superpower down, to must of people he is just too weak and the United States does not have the power that it used to have even if Obama has fixed other presidents’ idiotic decisions we only like to criticize, apparently we have more fun doing it. But those critics are right somehow, the US is losing power to the world’s eyes, and yes, Russia is helping,

“-That’s true, without or against Russia we cannot solve conflicts of our time- the Bavarian prime minister and leader of the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) said at the party congress in Munich, where he was re-elected as CSU head on Saturday.”3.

The fact that we have people thinking this way means Vladimir Putin is at the moment the best player on this game, and the US is losing popularity.

War on Terror?, they are not struggling against terror they just want to be on top of news, they want to have power; and they are creating complicated situations, they have killed some people but they have not defeated the group, as I have seen they are making them feel more powerful; there are people talking about third World War, and  if  we are talking about it means something. We do not know their real objectives; I do not know them, and I am not putting aside that maybe they do want to help, but it is not just that, let’s remember how power corrupts people, and somehow we are losing faith in humanity.

“There is increasing evidence that Moscow may be helping to facilitate Islamic extremism in the Middle East”2. Not the only one thinking that way, I already said, these groups are feeling powerful, and we have reasons to lose faith, but we cannot lose faith in ourselves just because we are scared, there are more ‘good’ than ‘bad’ people, but ‘good’ people do nothing so that makes us part of the problem.

On the other hand, we have France; recent attacks to Paris, have made the world shout against terror; a little bit of hypocrisy there, because I have not seen people shout on the news for all the people that have died and keep dying in other countries like Syria, Libya, and so on (Media are manipulators, they are like commercials, they show what they want to), but let’s come back, France’s role on today’s situation; ISIS has declared war on them, and they want to defend, they do not want to let their people die. These attacks have affected them directly, but they do not talk about what they have done, and now Europe wants to control the immigrant’s crisis, most of them think that all these people are terrorist, that is what they say.

No matter the reason people say they have to do such things, I say, you hear lots of things but not all of them are true or can guide the way you live, if people do not stop thinking about always winning for themselves and not the others, we will have just individuals (“and the wealthier the individual the more sacrosanct the individualism”4.), and sometimes it is needed a team, to work for society.

We have taken liberalism to the limits, we have crossed limits.

“There are perhaps many causes worth dying for, but to me, certainly, there are none worth killing for.”5.

War, that word is scaring us, we are listening too much of it these days, terrorist groups are exporting terror; they want to globalize their ideas, we are already losing lots of lives, and some say that groups like ISIS are just the effects of the old War on Terror, you gave a cause you have an effect, but it was not worth the pain; because the situation gets more and more complicated, ‘America’ (like most of the world call the United States, which Latin americans do not like, but that is not the topic) and Russia have important roles, but we are having new players on the game of WoT, but they are the ones introducing them, they are probably  not surprised, they are killing, they want victory; and to have victory they need someone to fight with.

We could talk for a long time about today’s situation, about history, liberalism, globalization; but we need more than talking, most of US  and other countries exports are bad habits and bad ideas, we are not looking well, we just stay with the first thing we see and not the most interesting, this generation is so dangerous because most of us, do not take the time to think, we are becoming like zombies; all the time with our heads on our phones, and using internet power the wrong way, we are going down and down. We need thinking, feeding our minds well should be important, but I cannot make others think the way I do, we are different, but I just hope, we all agree we are losing ourselves, we are losing our world.

Finally I would like to remark the fact that I think most of us believed a next war would be started fighting for water, and now we have that apparently it will be started for religion, people killing people because they think different, look how far we have gotten, but how crazy we are, when we should have not even thought about how war will be started.

“What a cruel thing war is… to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbours”.  6.

Daniela Toro Becerra


  1. Mahatma Gandhi
  4. The Endgame of Globalization, page 41
  5. Albert Dietrich, Army GI, Pacifist CO: The World War II Letters of Frank and Albert Dietrich
  6.  Robert E. Lee


The Endgame of globalization, Chapter 2: Liberalism and the roots of American globalism