Saturday, December 15, 2012

Realist Prespective: Post-Cold War, The Collapse of the Soviet Union, Military Hegemony of the U.S. and the era of mass private globalization

Looking at the historical decade between the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the new millennium, the sudden polar shift after the collapse of the Soviet Union created a Tsunami of capitalism that flowed east and southward within the classical realist perspective of nation-state actors seeking to elevate and protect their own interests.  For the United States, the interests were not only national interests; they were the interests of private sector capitalism. 

Prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union, the international stage was balanced by two world nation-state powers, the Capitalist United States and the Communist Soviet Union.  Once the Soviet Union collapsed leaving the United States as an unchallenged hegemonic power, the United States and her lesser allies instantly began to expand global private sector markets further east and south.  In 1990, after the ‘2+4 Talks’, Germany was reunified after the destruction of the Berlin Wall and, along with Hungary and Poland, was opened for Western capital investment and the Eastern expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.  American private capital was already in the oil fields of Kuwait, which had been a British Protectorate prior to 1961, so the U.S. was required to defend Kuwait’s so-called independence from Iraq, which claimed Kuwait as part of Iraq, after a border dispute concerning oil procurement that led to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.   In 1994, American capitalist interests expanded south with the invasion of Haiti and the subsequent passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.  As the sole international hegemon during the 1990s, the United States promised to spread freedom and democracy through military operations in several areas such as Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Kosovo, but in reality it was the natural resources and the open market that the private sector behind the capitalist superpower desired.  Once the balance of power between the Soviet Union and the United States was gone, the United States was the largest military power on the international stage and private sector capitalism began a ruthless expansion, with no nation-state resistance capable of challenging U.S. military might. 

From a realist perspective, the U.S. acted in its own interest by spreading the private sector and opening global markets through military interventions.  The post-WWII allies of the United States acted in their own interests by supporting the lone major nation-state superpower in expanding the free market while left-over satellite states of the former Soviet Union and the underdeveloped post-colonial nation-state governments in Africa had no choice but to except economic crumbs and allow the free market of capitalism in to exploit their natural resources; or risk being replaced by U.S. military intervention.  The 1990s not only saw a shift from bi-polar to unipolar nation-state power, it saw the beginning of mass capital globalization and a multi-polar private sector balancing of power sweeping across the globe under the protection of one superpower.


BBC News Middle East.  Kuwait Profile.  (Accessed on December 15, 2012 from

Henry Nau. Perspectives on International Relations. 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2012), 261-284.

NATO Review.  Germany’s Accession to NATO: 50 Years On.  2005.  (Accessed on December 15, 2012 from

North American Free Trade Agreement.  January 1, 1994.  (Accessed December 15, 2012 from

U.S. Department of State Archives.  1989-200 Post Cold War Era.  (Accessed December 15, 2012 from


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