C 4 — The Cold War and the rising of capitalist ideas

A war doesn’t happen in the war field alone. In this world of the butterfly effect, the actions and reactions of all combative strategies can be resonated from all the nooks and crannies globally. The cold war is one of the most important struggles between the two superpowers, USSR and USA, that involved ideological, geopolitical and economic conflicts between the two nations, that ultimately had consequences for the entire world. The cold war era has witnessed everything, right from the world shivering to the fear of a nuclear catastrophe, to the space becoming a war zone as if the lands weren’t enough. It has witnessed intellectuals fighting ideological battles, walls tearing apart countries, conquering of sea waves and even radio waves, involvement of other international players and finally the unimaginable collapse of USSR. What is remarkable about this war, is that it never involved a full blown war with USA and USSR in the same frame, but rather indirect proxy wars, the arms race and the space race between the two nations.

Both these countries battled propagandistic wars as well, majorly radio propagandas , which became an issue of major interest to communications professionals all over the world. Soviet Union attacked the USA by running commentaries on the radio that were aired in America. America retaliated by launching ‘Voice of America’ .USA established that the main purpose of the broadcast was to give USSR a picture of American life and to develop friendship between the Soviet and American people. Soviet Union was however hostile towards these airings and proceeded to block the frequencies on which the “enemy voices” were being broadcasted. By the early 1960s, the number of Soviet jamming stations had reached 1400s. Thus, more than the weaponry or arms, it was actually the dissemination of Communist ideology that America feared the most as it nearly shook the American Dream upon which America as a nation was built.

This ideological battle finally came to an end, with capitalism becoming the ultimate victor at the Malta Summit on December 3,1989. With this end of the Cold War, a conventional interpretation of the scenario emerged as well. John Gaddis, one of the most eminent historians, wrote in the mid 1990s that the cold war was ‘a struggle of good versus evil, of wise and democratic leaders in the West reacting to the crimes and inhumanity of Joseph Stalin, the brutal dictator in the Kremlin’. Thus, researchers and scholars all around the world made us believe that the cold war as a determined and heroic response of the U.S. to communist aggression and dictatorship spearheaded and orchestrated by the Soviet Union. Thus, America assumed the role of a hegemon right after the cold war, by using such soft-power tactics. Transnational ideological conflict shaped the cold war. After the world war itself, nations that had newly tasted freedom after the bitter rule of their oppressors, or were caught in a political upheaval believed that the conception of freedom and liberation that American economy possessed could give heal their wounds and make them stand again on their feet again. America possessed the ability to manufacture consent. On seeing British supremacy fail, they did realise that consent gave a sense of immutability, that coercion could not. During the Cold War, the US found it difficult to score victories against the Soviet Union in the realm of hard power. It was in the area of structural power and soft power that the US scored notable victories. Although the Soviet centrally-planned economy provided an alternate model of internal economic organisation, the world economy throughout the Cold War years remained a world capitalist economy. It was in the area of soft power that the US was ultimately triumphant. The idea that business is a profession that depends upon skills that can be taught in a university is uniquely American. The first business school in the world, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, was established in 1881 after which, it receive international acknowledgement, along with almost Asian Universities selling this course like fresh hot pancakes. Jeans, which was an American product was worn in many parts of the world at that time to show rebellion. Many people immigrated to USA in search of the American Dream that was reinforced in the minds of people by the soft power of America. Structurally as well, America assumed control over major financial institutions and economic systems. The Bretton Woods Agreement , which is the landmark system for monetary and exchange rate management in the world economy today , was established by the USA during the ending of the world war II in 1944. The International Monetory Fund and World trade organisation, the two major economic institutions are run by America. These provide fundings to third world nations as well as newly independent nations to ease their transition from their present economic structure, to the American Capitalist structure.

The capitalist ideas were supported, as well as propagated by American scholars and authors as well.“Capitalism was the only system in history where wealth was not acquired by looting, but by production, not by force, but by trade, the only system that stood for man’s right to his own mind, to his work, to his life, to his happiness, to himself.” This is taken from the text, “The unknown ideal” by Ayn Rand which goes on to show how the acts of capitalism were considered noble and mighty by writers. Ideas create histories. The traces of India’s British history can erase over time, but the current McDonaldization of the world is so deeply rooted in us, that most would fail to acknowledge its presence. Thus Cold War was a war of the ideals of Capitalism over Communism, and the nations were merely vessels that contained these ideologies. The victor framed the rules by which we all are nations are playing currently.

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