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Synopsis

Variously described by historians and thinkers as the ‘most terrible century in Western history’, ‘a century of massacres and wars’ and the ‘most violent century in human history’, the 20th century – and in particular the period between the First World War and the collapse of the USSR – forms a coherent historical period which changed the entire face of human history within a few decades. This book examines the trajectory of the Cold War and the fallouts for the rest of the world to seek lessons for the 21st century to manage international relations today and avoid conflict.  Written by experts in their field, the chapters provide an alternative perspective to the Western-paradigm dominated international relations theory. The book examines for example whether now in the 21st century the unipolar moment has passed and if the changing economic balance of power, thrown up by globalization, has led to the emergence of a multipolar world capable of economic and multilateral cooperation. It discusses the potential of new cooperative security frameworks, which would provide an impetus to disarmament and protection of the environment globally and asks if nuclear disarmament is feasible and necessary. The book highlights areas in which the potential for conflict is ingrained. Offering Asian perspectives on these issues – perspectives from countries like Afganistan, Vietnam, West Asia and Pakistan which were embroiled in the Cold War as mere pawns and which have become flashpoints for conflict in our century – this book is an important contribution to the ongoing debate.

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