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PSCI 2010- Discussion Board #7 Cold War or Post-9/11

Aug 8, 2023

Discussion Board #7 Cold War or Post-9/11

This Discussion Board question has proven popular with students in the past because I’m asking you to put some real thought into what is essentially a hypothetical question. As with the other questions, it is not about right v. wrong answers as much as it is about how you make your case. Here is what I want you to think (and write) about —

It has been over 70 years since World War II ended with the United States using atomic weapons on two Japanese targets, followed by Japanese surrender. The time since then can be divided into two general periods, the Cold War, from the late 1940s until 1991, and the Post-9/11 period, from 9/11/2001 to the present.

The Cold War was defined by a “bipolar” competition, meaning two superpowers dominated world politics for most of the 40-year period. Think of the word “polar” as used in magnetism. Two “poles of power” resist one another while attracting each a set of allies, some more voluntarily allied than others. The United States and the Soviet Union never confronted one another militarily during this time, but the relationship had many other elements common to warfare, including a military on high alert (including 50,000 nuclear weapons) and active espionage, or spying, on one another (and allies). Each side intervened in the politics of “third world” countries in an effort to secure vital resources (such as oil and transit zones) and allies. “Hot” wars were fought in Korea, Vietnam, and military operations in Latin America and Africa were common. There were numerous “close calls” between the superpowers, indeed, many more of them than the general public knows about.

The 10 years between the Cold War and Post-9/11 period, or the Post-Cold War years, roughly the 1990s, saw a changing world economy as the digital age arrived. It was also a time of horrendous violence in places like Somalia, Rwanda, and the new countries that arose from Yugoslavia’s breakup.  There were also new efforts to bring war criminals to justice with several temporary war crimes tribunals and one permanent International Criminal Court.

The terrorist attack of 9/11/01, taking the lives of nearly 3,000 people from at least 60 different countries (but mostly from the USA), created a new zone of conflict, one that was both global and in relation to a committed group of self-defined “holy warriors” named al Qaeda (and many related and competing groups would arise as well).  While that struggle against non-state actors continues, there are new and renewed tensions reminding us that the world is dominated by sovereign states (or countries). Russia, China, North Korea, or any of the other 190 sovereign states (countries) in the world should come to your mind.

The question (finally!) is — which do you think presented or presents the greatest level of threat to the United States and its citizens, (A) the Cold War hostilities, or (B) the Post-9/11 era in which we speak of homeland security (mostly internal or internalized threats) as much as we speak of national security (mostly external threats)? I know many if not all of you did not live through or during the Cold War, but that’s ok. I can discuss the 19th century and I’m not THAT old!  Provide details of why you chose your answer and did not make the other choice.  (One activity that has helped past students is to talk to someone who did live through most or all of the Cold War, 1949-89).   Cite any research you quote. Here are other helpful materials from the History network:

Cold War and Post-9/11 era and threats to the USA

The information that I am going to provide is based on my assumptions. Considering the dynamics of the constant arms race between the USA and USSR has provided the enhancement of armed conflict. It provides the overshadowing of the issues based on nuclear war. This dynamism has provided the formulation of several nuclear weapons, conventional weapons, warships, and tanks and it is defined as the Cold War. 

I also consider that the Cold War is the battle between communism and capitalism. The two nations are not fighting any direct battles. They are involved in competition with each other to win the race. It is known to everyone that the USA had won the war and became the superpower of the world. The Cold War has also provided new formulations in the political ideology and foreign policy of the USA and it has also impacted the domestic economy and presidency. The citizens of the USA have to be involved with the atmosphere of expected conformity and normalcy. The Cold War has also provided indirect circulation of expansionism, ideological issues, and disagreement treaties.  

Through the use of conceptual information, I also consider that Post-9/11 is one of the most significant incidents in modern history. Let’s go into the background of Post-9/11. This incident is formulated by the radical Islamic group named Al-Qaeda. The conflicts between the Middle East and Europe are prevalent since the times of the Crusades. It has a conflicting philosophy. Radical Islamic thinkers of the world consider conquering the whole world and eradicating non-Muslims. This provides the basis for all kinds of terrorist attacks in the world which are mainly conducted by Islamic terrorist groups. The USA is a diverse nation and many radical Islamic communities and individuals have infiltrated the sovereignty of the USA. It can be understood that these issues based on terrorism or radical Islam can provide various kinds of vulnerabilities to the nation and it can provide major harm to the citizens of the USA. It also considered that these terrorist and radical Islamic groups are funded with sufficient resources and power. They have a high potential to cause significant damage to the USA. 

I consider that post-9/11 has increased the functions and executions of the homeland security and defense mechanisms of the USA. It cannot provide all kinds of protection to the USA. Terrorist and radical Islamic groups are having sufficient soft power and hard power to infiltrate. As a consequence, it can be understood that post-9/11 has provided the USA to be more cautious. It has helped the USA to provide strengthen the defense methodology of the nation. Post-9/11 has also provided terrorists and radical Islamic groups to have their revenge and vengeance. This is because of the demolition of terrorists and radical Islamic groups by the USA (Trethewey& Goodall, 2007, p.477). 

I consider both the Cold War and Post-9/11 can provide serious threats to the USA and its citizens. My support is based on Post-9/11 because Post-9/11 has provided major threats to the citizens of the USA. Terrorists and radical Islamic groups are like wolves, they can provide bombing, kill, massacre, and eventually harm the innocent citizens of the USA. The principles which are taken by the USA after the Post-9/11 are to provide resistance to global terrorism, but it has provided a way for the terrorists or radical Islamic groups to have opportunities to play the victim cards. It can provide the USA with a reduction of its national sovereignty. 


Trethewey, A., & Goodall Jr, H. L. (2007). Leadership reconsidered as historical subject: Sketches from the Cold War to Post-9/11. Leadership3(4), 457-477.

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