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The policies of the two nations were determined by two fundamental facts. The first one was the primary American monopoly on the atomic weapons and the second was the Soviet Union's military preponderance on in the atomic weapons on the Asian and Europe continents. The Soviet Union had a sole aim of reducing the period of the American supremacy in the atomic weapons alongside perpetuating the preponderance. On the other hand, the United States had an interest in maintaining her monopoly of the atomic weapons and reducing the Russian superiority on the continents. These interests were clearly reflected by the policies of the United States and Soviet Union regarding the disarmament. The conflict between the two nations was seen on two levels i.e. on the fundamental level of struggle and on the superficial level of disarmament. On the level of struggle for power, the conflict between the two nations was posed in two policies which is the overthrow of the status quo and the defense for the status quo. On the disarmament level, the nation's conflict resolved itself into a controversy between some theoretical conceptions such as equality and security.
Conflict between the US and the Soviet Union
The conflict between these states was revealed in the arms and weapons race whereby the leaders of both nations pursued dangerous policies which in turn threatened the security of the nations and the entire world. Due to these policies, the relationships between the Soviet Union and the United States were redefined. In the year 1964, Leonid Brezhnev rose into power over the Soviet Union. He was assisted with the Prime Minister Alexei Kosygin in pursuing the policy of peaceful coexistence towards the United States alongside helping the communist revolutions around the world. In the 1960s, the United States and Soviet Union were on the opposite sides of the war that was in Vietnam whereby the Soviet Union was the primary supplier of weapons to North Vietnam and provided military advice (Tim, M.).
By early 1970s, the United States withdrew her troops from Vietnam and the war came to an end. Both the American president, Richard Nixon and Brezhnev called for the reduction in the race of arms and the tensions of the cold war which had threatened the whole world since the Second World War. Referred to as détente, these two leaders worked together with the aim of bringing their countries together. They also kept watchful eyes on each other. This period was characterized by the emergence of the nuclear arms reductions talks (Strategic Arms Limitation Talks) which were aimed at slowing down the expansion pace of the nuclear weapons. These talks bore fruits in 1972 in form of an agreement called the Antiballistic Missile Treaty where both leaders agreed on the limitation of the antiballistic missile systems. In the remaining period of 1970s, the United States continued with the détente with the Soviet Union. Nixon resigned from power and Brezhnev made negotiations with other United States presidents; Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The détente broke down during the Carter administration and the Carter official negotiated a second nuclear arms treaty in 1979 and the United States rejected this treaty on grounds that it didn't need enough of the Soviet Union. When the military were sent by the soviet against the Afghanistan, the soviet policy was condemned by the carter administration and this led to the withdrawal of the American grain sales to the Soviet Union (Tim, M.).
Effects of the cold war
The cold war had drastic measures not only on the US and Russia but also the whole world at large. The cold war was expressed through propaganda, military coalitions, espionage and industrial as well as technological development. These are some of the activities that heightened further competition and tension between the two countries; US and the Soviet Union. The cold war led to numerous proxy wars and several new developments both in nuclear and conventional arms. Through the cold war, many countries today posses nuclear weapons that pose a great danger to world existence (The effect of the cold war on the world).
The cold war also led to different and significant effects in neighboring countries as well as those far away. A direct manifestation of the cold war resulted to such international crises such as the Korean War, the Berlin blockade, the Vietnam War, the Berlin crisis and the soviet's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. During the times of war, a number countries experienced massive losses both in wealth and life (The effect of the cold war on the world).
Another effect of the war was the Cuban missile crisis of 1962. This war widely drew fears of an impending Third World War. Also due to the cold war, there was a ten-day NATO command exercise that spanned a major part of Western Europe that simulated a time of conflict escalation. This heightened nuclear alerts and finally culminated in a nuclear release.
At the end of the world war in the 1990s, several countries like the Soviet Union suffered from economic stagnation which was a direct result of the Cold War. The effects of the war were far reaching and finally contributed to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 leaving the US as the only superpower (The effect of the cold war on the world).
How the cold war was avoided
The end of the cold war was ushered when most of the several soviet leaders passed and Mikhail Gorbachev assumed the control of the Soviet Union. His rise to power brought about an era of openness and restructuring. Then the relationship between the two countries improved considerably. At a 1996 summit in Iceland, Gorbachev proposed reducing nuclear arsenal by half on both sides and this seemed to cool tempers as it seemed as though an agreement was feasible. Although the summit ended in failure the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty was later signed in 1987 in Washington that eliminated the nuclear arsenals. The treaty required an actual reduction in nuclear arsenals than restricting their proliferation (Cold war: a brief history)
As the decade came to an end, the eastern Bloc began to crumble and the Hungarian government took down the barbed wire on its border with Austria and the west. In response, the Soviet Union did nothing. On November 1989, the Berlin wall which was considered one of the famous cold war symbols came down. By the end of the year, all leaders of the eastern European nation had been ousted by popular uprisings except Bulgaria.
By the mid 1990s, most of the soviet republics had declared their independence. In the Soviet Union, turmoil continued and there were several attempts to overthrow Gorbachev. By December 1991, the Soviet Union had ceased to exist and Boris Yeltsin was now the president of the Russian republic and formed the commonwealth of independent states. This marked the end of the cold war which had lasted for 45 years (Cold war: a brief history).
The end of war
The war between the two countries ended in 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed due to the economic problem as it lost the international competition and the arms race (Collapse of Soviet Union, 1989-1991). The effect of the end of the war between the United States and Soviet Union was subtle but of great significance i.e. the United States was not obsessed with the communism threat. In the 1990s, the Soviet Union collapsed and this marked the start of the influence of Cuba and the United States was enabled to support the negotiations with the movements that it tried to oppose earlier (Castro de, F. R & Dominquez, I. J. 2009).
In conclusion, the above is preliminary to the hottest and to the most ideologically-fraught issue that pertain the stop of the conflict/war especially the extent to which the United States' acceleration of the arms race made the Soviet Union to hasten her fall from the power.