From American Imperialism to Soviet Hegemonism

"From American Imperialism to Soviet Hegemonism," Atlantic Community Quarterly, 17(4) (Winter 1979/80) : 489-506.


Thirty years ago, professors of international relations and men in the streets would have characterized the world in more or less the same terms. The 1st, and there learned way, baptized the interstate system as “bipolar”; the 2nd placed the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union at the center of the world seen, often underestimating the overall military, economic, and maritime superiority of the American Republic. Twenty years ago in 1958, when Nikita Khrushchev launched his quasi-ultimatum over Berlin, and then again a few years later during the Cuban missile crisis, a terrified humanity held its breath.

Today, the professors and the men in the street might agree on some things, but no longer on a characterization of the world. Rather, they might agree that the world could no longer be categorized in a simple way. Must one replace the Moscow–Washington bipolarity with the Moscow–Beijing–Washington triangle? Which one of the great duelists  now possesses military supremacy? Does the East–West conflict still maintain the global importance which we ascribed to it at least until the 1960s?

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