The power vacuum, which was left by the collapse of the USSR, created worldwide chaos, leaving ra...

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The power vacuum, which was left by the collapse of the USSR, created worldwide chaos, leaving radicals to rise and forcing European states to return to pursuing policies based on self-interest by Mind Map: The power vacuum, which was left by the collapse of the USSR, created worldwide chaos, leaving radicals to rise and forcing European states to return to pursuing policies based on self-interest

1. Internal factors

1.1. Gorbachev

1.1.1. Gorbachev attempted radical changes in the USSR’s military posture regarding the international environment. This problem was well illustrated by the manner in which the Kremlin ended the war in Afghanistan. Although the initial idea of withdrawing the Soviet troops was proposed by Gorbachev as early as in 1985, the military, concerned with their reputation, forestalled the withdrawal until February 1989 (Brown, 2010: 255).

1.1.2. Gorbachev had two plans in order to revitalize the Soviet Union. While relaxing bureaucracy and censorship, he attempted to restructure the soviet economy and transform the Stalinist Soviet regime into a modern social democracy He introduced glasnost and its development into freedom of speech. He developed civil societies- a result of perestroika

1.1.3. Gorbachev knew that huge masses of money were being poured into the military in order to create more nuclear weapons, in order to keep up with the USA. Therefore, he met with President Reagan, creating important nuclear disarmament agreements, that singled the end of the Cold War.

1.1.4. The introduction to competitive elections - 1989-marking the point at which liberalization turned into democratization

1.1.5. Allowed Warsaw Pact countries of Eastern Europe to become independant and non-communist

1.1.6. These foreign policy shifts was a fundamental change of outlook – what was called the ‘New Thinking’ – which Gorbachev promoted. He rejected the notion of East-West relations and endorsed the idea that there were universal values and universal interests. By so doing, he had already by 1988 demolished the ideological foundation of the Cold War. In 1989, when Gorbachev’s actions and non-actions reflected this New Thinking, the Cold War ended on the ground.

1.2. Politics

1.2.1. Soviet Union officially dissolved into 15 independent republics after byre of political crisis

1.2.2. Next to the two world wars, the rise and the breakdown of the Soviet Union are probably the most important political events of the century

1.2.3. When the USSR existed, most of the western European allies were united to make sure the Soviet Union gained no influence on the world. Though after the dismemberment of the USSR, the USA became the single global power. They did not view the radicalistic groups as a threat, until 2001.

1.2.4. 1980s the Soviet economy was in drastic need of reform. In 1985, Gorbachev, a protégé of former Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, was appointed General Secretary and head of the Soviet Union.

1.2.5. Since the attacks in Europe, nations were worried terrorists are among the refugee immigrants. Nations believe they are on their own, thus working towards their own self-interest in order to protect their borders and countries

1.3. Realism

1.3.1. During the time of the cold war, society turned towards realism. Many academic scholars believed that once the cold war ended, liberalism would takeover.

1.3.2. In most cases they were seen to be right, the growing influence of Iran and Russia in the Middle-East, and the geo-political problem between Iran, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia, as well as the radical groups, one can deduct that realism is still greatly present, it has been an option in the Middle- East for quite some time. European nations are shutting down their borders, refusing to accept any refugees. Afraid radicalist groups would filter through their country, they refused to work as a united European union.

2. External Factors

2.1. Afghanistan

2.1.1. Most scholars have viewed the Afghanistan war as a minor and containable conflict that had minimal impact on the basis institutions of the Soviet system.

2.1.2. The Afghanistan war changed the Soviet leader’s perceptions about the efficacy of employing troops to supress non-Russian secessionist movements.

2.1.3. The Afghanistan war was very harsh for the army. Living conditions for the troops were poor. Soldiers were involved in guerilla warfare in unfamiliar and hostile terrains.

2.1.4. With reports of looting and brutal treatment of Afghan civilians coming in, the army began losing its moral high ground among Soviet citizens. Some soldiers compared their roles in Afghanistan to that of the Nazi army in WWII.

2.1.5. Contributors of the Afghanistan War have been under emphasized if not altogether ignored. Though it has been argued that the Afghanistan War was a significant factor leading to the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Would the Soviet Union have collapsed in the absence of the Afghanistan war?

2.1.6. The ending of the soviet military intervention in Afghanistan

2.2. European Union

2.2.1. Due to economic and security reasons the European Nations no longer believed in the European Union. The recent attacks in Brussels and Paris in 2015 and 2016, carried out by ISIS, changed Europe dramatically. This caused great chaos and insecurity, because most of the ISIS terrorists were of European Nationality.

2.2.2. Since the fall of the USSR, European nations felt as if they were in need of a reunification of Europe after 40 years of separation. European Union was only founded two years later, in November 1993. They were enforced to work together in order to protect themselves. Presently, they no longer work together as a European nation, rather each country worked independently. Recently, following a referendum on June 23rd 2016, the UK government withdrew from the European Union. Due to the USA being the sole global power, European nations felt the need to protect themselves rather than work together amongst strong European nations.

2.2.3. Many European Nations believed that it was better to protect their own border, turning Syrian refugees away. In most cases they were seen to be right, the growing influence of Iran and Russia in

2.2.4. With the terrorist crisis in Europe, European nations believe they are on their own, the USA not supporting them, unlike the period of the cold war where they were supported, why are they not getting help? Why do nations believe their self-interest should come first? What makes the world different from the period of the cold war? Is it a good thing that the cold war ended?

2.2.5. If the USSR was present, due to strong European nations and being united, radicalist groups may have been able to be prevented. The countries in the Middle-East have been facing this crisis for years, a problem cause by the USA. The European Union has never been seen so separated, each country basing themselves on their own self-interest.