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Saber and Scroll

Abstract

The Cold War (1947-1991) included an air of antagonism and mutual distrust between the United States (US) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR) (1922-1991). Spies betrayed their countries, and millions died in proxy wars. The struggle for dominance prompted massive propaganda campaigns, psychological warfare, nuclear, and technological competitions. This study first examines how the 1980’s nuclear tension between the US and the USSR reached its zenith. It then identifies how the USSR reacted to President Ronald Reagan’s (1981-1989) strategy of preparation for a preemptive attack, and further outlines the international implications of this brinkmanship. Suspicion and mistrust between the US and the successor state of the USSR, the Russian Federation, over their strategic intentions are increasingly threatening Western stability, international order, and the balance of power. It is evident that current tensions between the US and Russia closely parallel the circumstances of the Cold War era during the 1980s.

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