Acta Universitatis Danubius. Relationes Internationales, Vol 8, No 2 (2015)

Reflections on Cold War

Florinel Iftode1

Abstract: The objective of our research is to point out some aspects of the context and the main causes that led to the reconfiguration of Europe after the fall of communism on the continent. Today, Europe as a whole coincide approximately with the geographical Europe. There never was one Europe: all time, there have been and there are today more Europe, between them, have varied widely divider lines. Our intention is to present some approaches from some renowned historians, marking the context of historical evolution of a European space which included major players in the conflict generated by the Cold War. The results of our research is focused on the last part of the paper. These findings highlight under which the Soviets have shown more skill, and they have won in some places, often in situations of incredible inferiority compared to the free world who did not know or did not want to exploit the advantages. Finally we conclude that the history of this continent, although the smallest of all, interested in the history of the man in its universal because it has impacted the truly decisive on other continents, either by implantation which gave rise to new”Europe” either require other nations through which the domination exercised, its structures and ways of thinking and economic policy organization.

Keywords: Europe; history; conflicts; international actors

1. Introduction

Was there ever Europe as such? They ranged edges all the time: BA were dilated, and even contracted. Thus, between calling Asia and the attraction he exercised over her Europe, Russia stayed long in the balance. One thing no doubt that it is necessary to end such overviews several millennia is that never existed one Europe: all time, there have been and there are today more Europe, among them the divider lines varied widely: while separating North South - Celtic peoples and Germanic Latin world, or, much later, Europe Reform of the remaining under obedience to Rome - when divided the continent after a border that go from north to south - split an East heir of Greek culture and scored slavizare a meeting of the West influenced by Latin culture and the contribution Germany - ş very short time ago, the Iron Curtain separating pluralistic democracies of Europe total communist Europe.

In this space, the centers of gravity have suffered a continuous movement: there people to not be exercised for a while, domination (imperium) over a territory far beyond their own natural and historical limits; by turns, Spain, France, Austria, England, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Russia and other countries have held a hegemonic role. Within this division of the continent between several separate units opposing unequally, primacy never held it always the same part of Europe: contrary that you might think after a historical analysis for a short time, there were no Europe has always meant prosperity and another condemned to poverty: the first millennium BC, eastern Europe is heir to the glorious past of Rome, the most cultivated and developed; While the Western Europe, where the history of centuries past makes us stand point of convergence of the most advanced economies, the most powerful states and the brightest civilizations delay in rustic barbarism. After the report was reversed.

Immediately after 1989-1991, bipolarism in international relations was replaced by unipolarity expressed prestige and existence of a single power, creating the danger of 'unbridled global action'. Zbigniew Brezezenski highlight that the collapse of the Soviet bloc puts the United States in a situation without the united precedent. States became a first time and certainly true global power. This may entail negative consequences as Samuel outlines analyzed since 1997 Huntington. Its danger they pose to US action to drive one world, warning that 'loneliness' has the entire design major consequence liabilities global and individual country. Based on the assessment lucid international relations, American author is of the opinion that after a 'moment of unipolarity', the world will cross a few decades 'uni-multipolarism', following that the twenty-first century to be par excellence a century of multipolarism. Reality has shown that unipolarity could not be a lasting solution to mankind. As seen, correctly, Henry Kissinger, what is new about the new international order are about to be born is as' US can neither retreat from the world nor dominate it”. With a diverse and complex economic, social, cultural, today's world can not exist except by the express manifestation of joint efforts and well acknowledged.”War imaginary”, as it was considered the Cold War by Mary Kaldor remains an important source of research is a subject that will not run out anytime soon, even more as the Cold War set the tone for a new configuration of world which seems to be valid today.

2. Cold War - Beginnings and Evolution

Cold War” is a diplomatic and strategic. Or, decisive weakening of communism was due-or: -Mode essentially not due in the West and led foreign policy. This strategic timidity would persist democratic governments, moreover, and during Gorbachev, for example when proclaimed independence- International- absolutely right in line with Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia then in March and April 1990.

According to the thesis revision Union Soviet can not be held responsible for the Cold War as this during the Second World War barely escaped a catastrophe military and suffered huge losses in men and resources, so the end of the war remained vulnerable to Member economically prosperous and traditional anti-Soviet and US against world power that now own weapons monopoly atomice.2

All this thesis completes the refusal of the USSR and the countries of Eastern Europe to collaborate on Western economic union (the Marshall Plan) makes Americans to start an arms race against Internet communist. Un Soviet Union and the bloc is another answer to the same question that the USSR cold war started (this is the thesis traditionalist) for the need to acquire resources, to weaken the non-Communist space and extend the dominance of communist ideology Moscova3.

A sentence as interesting is that of Kenneth Waltz. It in an article or contest the end of bipolarity and the essential argument is that Russia (the main heir of the Soviet empire) maintains capabilities countercoup nuclear. Waltz say ' as affected by international political structure of weakness of Russia?, and the answer that we give is that the author of”bipolarity remains, but in a tribal division modified. Bipolarity continue because of Russia is militarily take care of themselves and because not yet amounted other big powers.”His thesis Waltz but varies in another article it will refer to inequalities growing between states and at the end of bipolarity, admitting that after the collapse of the USSR political system internationally unipolar. It become another article by the same author reveals another face of the international system after 90 suggesting that unipolarity will not last long and was replaced by a structure multipolar. China, Japan and to a lesser extent Germany are candidates status high power. There are also theories that say that the cold war has not ended, it has just changed shape.

The Cold War began when America was expected a peace and ended at a time when America was preparing for a new era of conflict collapsed Soviet. The Empire even more sharply than broken out of its borders, with the same rapidity, America It has completely changed the attitude to Russia, moving in quite some months of hostility to prietenie.4

In reality, decisive weakening of communism followed the failure of its domestic economy, above all, well beyond the economic. However, this failure has long been obvious to everyone, the West not only did not believe possible, or that the thought possible, or that he believed something temporal and superficial, but has also tried several times to remedy! Without Western economic aid without political repressions against the Western indulgence of the worst, in short, no inability of the West to speculate inherent fragility of communist systems, their collapse would have occurred much earlier. Only the West - often just called conservative segments of opinion, or located rightmost almost always ready to reverse hypothesis: that in order to ease the transition to communism democracy should be increased artificial prosperity first socialist countries massively injected them financial loans, investing and giving them technological innovative enabling them to”modernize”. A persistent illusion, based on the assumption that the socialist economy was fundamentally viable and only accidentally paralyzed. In itself, the supposition was based on figures provided by the statistics concerned, what 'figures minimized even by”specialists” were still occidentals- three or four times more swollen than the real ones, which have not prevented become safer in numerous treaties scholarly references in journal articles and even in Western textbooks. Adoption of glasnost policy would demonstrate, inter alia, that, on the contrary, only the consciousness of an imminent irreparable economic disaster could push the path of liberalization communism, ie their disappearances. The demonstration regarding communist past was not yet well understood by all, because in the West there is still the numerous followers of cooperation with China, even after 1989 in order to”modernize” and”democratization” it.

In the 1947-1989 period, it resulted in a long smoldering conflict, marked by several violent crises (the Cuban missile crisis, the Vietnam War, the invasion of Afghanistan, etc.), which was given the name”Cold War”. The term”Cold War” appeared for the first time in the United States in 1947, the man of Finance Bernard Baruch who, in a speech held at the unveiling of his portrait in his home in South Carolina, used the term”Cold War” to describe relations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The limits of”Cold War” varies by ISTRO. Andre Fontaine, for example, believed that began immediately after the Bolshevik Revolution and ended once the”missile crisis” in 1962. For most historians, he broke after World War II, had a tense phase between 1947 and 1953 and a subdued until the mid 60s. refreezing international relations in the years 1978-1980 has led some researchers to reintroduce the concept of”Cold War” (also talked the “warm peace”) to characterize the period that followed the Soviet invasion in Afghanistan. Whatever the correct version, the collapse of the Eastern bloc and the disappearance of the USSR as a superpower put, it seems, forever end the Cold War.

If you were to give a definition of the cold war classic is noted that this is an open confrontation, nonmilitary limited that developed after the Second World War between two groups of countries that were diametrically ideological and political systems oppose. In a group were the Soviet Union and its allies, who are said block, and the second group was made up of the United States and its allies called the Bloc Occidental. Confrontation between the two manifested on several levels: level political military confrontation between NATO was (North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO) and the Warsaw Pact. On the economic level, there was a confrontation between capitalism and socialism. At the ideological-political was a confrontation between liberal democracies of Western (the so-called 'free world', 'open society') and Communist totalitarian regimes (the so-called 'closed society'). Clash of the two blocks was called ' Cold War 'because nothing came of direct military confrontation between the superpowers (not reached war' hot ').

The major concern of the US and its allies during the Cold War was that the USSR could gain control over Western Europe, either by invasion or through the persuasiveness of communism in western countries exhausted and impoverished by war. This would put”the whole industrial base Eurasian regional mass (from Europe to Siberia) under control of a single state.” The answer to these concerns was provided by the Marshall Plan - the US financial aid to rebuild European economies and NATO Marshall Plan included economic aid worth $ 17 million to the European peoples for them”to gain economic health by draining poverty and misery”. Countries in Western Europe immediately accepted implementation plan, unlike the USSR and states under Soviet occupation, which they rejected”with indignation, considering it a weapon to undermine the sovereignty and communist system.”

From the political point of view, East-West confrontation was a confrontation between”two socio-economic systems, ie between two types of social order”. US and his allies were a democratic organization based on political pluralism and a market economy, while the Soviet bloc was made up of”state totalitarian, authoritarian, one-party system that dominates and a command economy.”

3. The Collapse of the USSR A Consequence of the Cold War

In 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev became president of the USSR, with decisive consequences of the cold war. Concentrate on internal reform Gorbachev realized that the Soviet Union could no longer cope burdening arms race. In 1987, after accepting some important concessions, secured first nuclear arms reduction. The Soviet economy located in a rapid decline, Gorbachev decided to terminate the aid and political support for the withdrawal of the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, which in 1989 began to collapse.

The Soviet Union on the road to democracy had taken control of the Communist Party became weaker and the economy was down, the Soviet Union had become a friend who helps in December 1989 announced the end of the Cold War Gorbachev and George Bush.

At the beginning of his or her career, very little Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev indicated that he would become the leader of the Soviet empire would crumble. He was born into a peasant family near Stavropol in south-western Russia in 1931. He joined the Communist Party and drove a combine into a state farm for four years before leaving for Moscow, where law took license from the State University. He went stepping into the party system in his native Stavropol region, under the wing of two older members of the Politburo, Mikhail Suslov and Yuri Andropov, was elected Communist Party Central Committee in 1971. Seven years later in 1978, he was put in charge of the Ministry of Agriculture. He knew very well from personal experience inefficiency of cooperatives and his family and how he got into position to fight for it.

In 1980, Gorbachev became a full member of the Politburo, the highest political body in the Soviet Union and, two years later, his mentor, Andropov, Leonid Bejnev succeeded take the leadership of the state. Andropov continued to support him Gorbachev, now ASI created a reputation for corruption and inefficiency âmpotriva fighter. Full of confidence, Gorbachev took over the Communist Party in March 1985, and in 1988 became president of the USSR.

Always told that basically most dangerous moment of wave nominations is when you begin to liberalize and Gorbachev found himself caught between the Party apparatus, which saw its privileges threatened the existence where the press free elections and specific reforms economy market and radical who wanted to go through all those steps suddenly disappear immediately party system and the economy ordered. Gorbachev introduced the new parliament, elected in part, the Congress of People's Deputies and in 1989, the FOS chosen as president of this body. But he never dared to go all the way and release the economy under state control. In the chaos and confusion that followed, almost escaped Gorbachev things under control internally. His actions had given also unleash nationalist forces in the Baltic States and other former Soviet forces that would prove unstoppable. The successes achieved in the negotiations concerning the discriminatory policies weapons in treaties with the United States and the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan led to a peaceful disintegration of the Soviet Empire, a detachment of the former communist countries in Asia and Eastern Europe by the Soviet bloc and German reunification. All these were received in the West as the beginning of a new era. The home, in the eyes of orthodox communists, it looked like a betrayal.

Conservatives and their supporters fought back from the army in August 1991 by organizing a coup, while Gorbachev was on vacation in the Crimea. The coup failed, such permission failure due in most of bravery and Boris Yeltsin Moscow demonstrators. Gorbachev was reinstated but had no more power. Power now belongs to leaders of different republics and especially Yeltsin. At December 25, 1991 Gorbachev resigned and the Soviet Union ceased to exist. Change the world, but loses his own country.”Mikhail Gorbachev changed the world, but he did so he lost his own country.” The famous perestroika (restructuring) Gorbachev opened the state-owned economy of private employers, guiding the transition to a freer market economy. But the economy resulting from this radical and rapid transitions was not able to sustain the USSR. Problems with rampant poverty and lack of food, became sick country.

These problems may have had less effect on the disintegration of the USSR, if it were not major reform Gorbachev.”Glasnost” (freedom) to totalitarian Soviet policies reversed initial brutal government suppression of criticism and freedom of expression. Under glasnost, workers can do strike, journalists can publish their editorials opposition to the Kremlin, and the protesters could express freely. The combination of political and economic reform brought about by perestroika and glasnost on social freedom and have contributed to the revolution in the rural areas of the USSR, which led to the replacement of a communist totalitarian system to a democratic pluralist. At least in theory.

What must master America is transitioning from an era when all the choices seemed open to a period in which it can still achieve more than any other company, but only if it manages to pinpoint limits Establishing new world order raised a number The questions that are still valid today: they want the Americans to intervene wherever there is a conflict in the world, are they not willing to become”watchdogs” of the world? This involves great responsibility and also one expensive. It is hard said to be in the future, the fact is that today NATO continues to exist and even expand with new members, but should not be overlooked nor Russia whose influence is becoming increasingly important. The question that exists today whose answer is difficult is”The Cold War is over?”

The Cold War dominated US foreign policy and the USSR since 1947 when he first used the term, until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In theory the Cold War ended with the collapse of Soviet and communist regimes of the USSR and the world which remained dominated by a sole superpower (condition described by specialists in international politics as US hegemony in a multipolar world but it is).

According to Martin McCauley, the Cold War can be viewed from two perspectives. In light of that concern Cold War just as another term in defining competition between superpowers. Russia and America will say that it ended in 1990, when Gorbachev declared finished. From another perspective, those whom he considers a systematic confrontation between capitalism and communism, between democracy and authoritarianism will say 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. The same McCauley says any problem analyzing international relations in the years 1945-1991 can not avoid crossing the implications of the Cold War and the reason is that the Cold War characterize stage of international relations: it is a way of being of this system. The Cold War ended when both superpowers recognized the absurdity of the arms race and when one of them, or both believed in the sincerity celeilalte.Altii will say that the Cold War has not ended even today, only moving his center of gravity.

According to Duroselle”history shows that every empire will perish”, this happened with URSS. The same Duroselle identify three factors that led to this phenomenon: the failure of Marxism-Leninism, the failure of Gorbachev-gasnost reforms (political openness - transparency) and perestroika (economic reconstruction) weakened the USSR in place to help him redefine the empire. Gorbaciov destroyed resulting in the decline of the Communist Party, which had been organized specifically to seize power and maintain it and who must control soviet. In every aspect of life from it, Gorbachev left crumps an empire which had been assembled with great effort over the centuries entire. It wanted to bring modernization, not freedom; he tried to make significantly to the world Communist Party outside; instead it opened the way you are dialing system collapse and to whom we owe the place which had .Adam Michnik said:”There's ruling that communism is not totalitarian. Either it becomes totalitarian or ceases to be common”.

4. German Reunification

The opposition East / West Europe remained divided the enemy for more than four decades. In a special way, however, they were affected by this situation of Germany and the German people, who paid a high price for the disruption of nationalism - socialism and opening of the worst war in human history. A nation was divided into two states, very much related to opposing political systems. In the German Democratic Republic, this link was characterized by a pronounced repressive system which by the Berlin Wall showed clear across the inhumane side. When it was decided to integrate West German Federal Republic in its structures, many remained skeptical and asked for proof of loyalty permanent orientation of its German ally and democratic, pro-Western. The most important factor in the inclusion of Germany in Western structures has become, along with NATO membership, European integration process. The basic idea of European unification was the work of reconciliation between Germany and its western opponents during the war, notably France.

Brilliant Jean Monnet's idea proved that France and Germany jointly manage key when industries, weapons, coal and steel, to establish peace between the two opponents historians. Over the years, it has been applied to almost the entire economy. In the economic field, the overall Western structures such as the OECD, were quickly exceeded in importance by the European Community (EC). But political and military dependence on the center of power of the West, namely the United States of America was so big and important that it was impossible to impose purely European military structures. Therefore, the European Defence Community, and all subsequent attempts to achieve a political union was yet doomed to failure. NATO remained the dominant element. Despite the tight incorporation of the Bonn republic in the Western system, the Germans could not nor wanted, from the beginning to renounce only three days 15 000 East Germans used this possibility to reach the West. In Czechoslovakia, the Iron Curtain was not high, the East German tourists, s + fled RFG's embassy in Prague. When the situation became unbearable because of embassy agglomeration Ulu GDR leadership allowed them tourists embassy official exit to West Germany. Refugees, following the instructions of the management point GDR, were transported in special trains through the territory of the GDR to the FRG. The stations on the territory of the GDR incidents often occurred.

Minister Genscher remembers the hours spent in West Germany's embassy in Prague as the most hectic lives. It then became clear to him that historical events are announced:”GDR collapses, what happens here is actually the collapse of the GDR inside and bottom. The end Berlin Wall approaching: leaving Hungary carried the violent protest of the leadership of East Berlin; 20 days later, people were leaving the Embassy in Prague with the East German government permission. The flow of refugees turned into a river of history”.

Encouraged by events, the population of the GDR and asked her more vehement changes. They became known in this context, so-called demonstrations Monday in Leipzig, which later expanded more and more. Ubiquitous slogan was”We the people”. On the fortieth anniversary of the GDR, to early October of Mikhail Gorbachev came to Berlin. He summoned Erich Honecker with the now well-known words:”Life punishes the one who delays”.

Two weeks later, Honecker was replaced by a FACS, led by Egon Grenz. For SED it was too late. After about 10 000 people leaving every day GDR and attended by hundreds of thousands of people, the Central Committee of the SED was forced, on 9 November 1989 to decide drafting a regulation in liberal spirit of the right to travel . When you release a press conference was given too quickly released by Schabowski, a member of the Central Committee, thousands of residents of East Berlin tested the veracity of this notice, besieging Berlin Wall. In a few days had gone. And demolished wall was broken in several places. Soon, pieces of the wall have become highly sought souvenir. The day after the Wall fell, leaders of West Germany held a demonstration in front of City Hall in West Berlin Schöneberger. Honorary President of the SPD, Willy Brandt, spoke after long sentence quoted by many:”We are now in a situation where it joins what should be together.” During winter 1989 and spring 1990, the GDR population pressure in favor of unification increased. Demonstrations slogan changed from”We the people” to”We are one people”. In March 1990, East Germany held free parliamentary elections. President of the East CDU, Lothar de Maizière, becoming head of government.

Historians who believe that the United States won the Cold War are in agreement that the number of American victory was guaranteed in particular the financial resources of”Uncle Sam”. US monetary springs dynamited by the Soviet delegated wars and the nuclear arms race. As a result of this frenzy of domination over the other, competition between East and West has led the world closer to nuclear war than ever in late 1962 episode called by historians” Cuban crisis missals”. Part of monetary collapse of the USSR has come and the huge funds flowing into a bottomless pit: Afghanistan. In 1979, the Soviets invaded and occupied the country, so US responded by secretly supporting and driving the mujahedeen rebels, insurgents have mobilized against the Soviets in Afghanistan. USA have supported massive Mujahideen and Russian invasion was extended and became increasingly expensive. Finally, Afghans defeated the Soviet Union, and the Soviets withdrew in 1989.

Some historians believe that the USSR ended his natural life cycle and the US was only a witness of his death. There are theories that claim that the communist regime is simply unbearable in the long term, the large scale - and impossible that an artificial construction collapses at a certain time. As such, the USSR was inevitable decline.

Some historians believe the US prolonged the Cold War at least a decade, preferring aggressive rhetoric against USSR in place concrete actions. And the administration of George Bush (senior) brings some evidence to support the theory. As the USSR seemed to fall apart, everyone was expecting Washington to give him the coup de grace. But Bush was booked. While some critics wonder why it has not taken the opportunity to hit the fatal USSR, others ii accredits book, saying that US President adopted a strategy very wise and allowed to die naturally Soviet Union. No other interventions of the US, Bush avoided the desperate acts to push the Soviet Union and thus, under his administration, the Soviet Union disintegrated without having to surrender before a devastating nuclear fight.

Even those who believe that the US brought death USSR (as Reagan was largely responsible for this”performance”) must accept the idea that in the absence of Mikhail Gorbachev and his policy reformist perestroika, dissolution Union Soviet could last much longer. Gorbachev, who was Reagan's opponent in the Cold War, introduced reforms which have alternated rushing factory fundamentally social, political and economic development of the USSR.

5. Conclusion

The US won the cold war really? The fact is that the Soviet empire and its entire political system collapsed, and the end of 40 years of tensions led to structural changes international.De system usually when someone wins a victory has a plan, a strategy that is to order and cutting is determined after the end conflict. The occidental but was seized by his own victory, he rebounded hard, had to pass a considerable time to give countries that have opted for a market economy so agreed strategy. So if the USSR had died of natural causes or committed suicide, who deserves the title of winning the Cold War? There were actually more winners. Clearly, democracy has won as replaced communism not only in the USSR but also in Soviet satellites. Freedom has gained market also just as transnational corporations have won millions of customers in addition after the fall of the Soviet Union. And ultimately, everyone won that emerged from the Cold War without suffering nuclear annihilation.

When elephants fight, the grass is trampled,” says a wise African proverb Swahili people. For over 45 years, the world's superpowers, the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the United States of America (USA) fought deaf in the arena of global proportions Cold War. Today, some historians and political analysts say the”grass” flattened this factory was represented even the rest of the world's peoples.

Constant tension that characterized the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, which transformed and reformed, becoming Russia. This collapse was preceded by revolutions in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Romania, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet states. But the Cold War emerged so steep that even ten years later, still haunted Western distrust surrender. It was inevitable collapse of the USSR, America stimulated or disintegration? Or, as a former CIA director said and Soviet space expert, Robert Gates,”I gained new, or just lost Soviets?”Europe today is an empty world surrounded by full worlds, as she herself was once a world too full, dominating the world vide. Interrogation in the future of our continent can not be separated from that related to its demographic situation. In comparison, there is profound originality of approach has been engaged unifying Western Europe: all previous attempts had led each nation that aspires to impose hegemony and arbitrary constraint unit. Absolute novelty of the system is that it builds contemporary empirical gradually, based on diversity of nations through free negotiation between countries on basis of equality between all partners, with the approval of the parliaments and public opinion adherence, by suffrage to all.”

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1 Associate Professor, PhD, Danubius University of Galati, Faculty of Communication and International Relations, Romania. Address: 3 Galati Blvd, Galati, Romania, Tel.: +40372 361 102, Fax: +40372 361 290, Corresponding author:

AUDRI, Vol. 8, no 2/2015, pp. 21-34


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