EDITORIAL: SA adrift in a cold, uncertain world

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While the Cold War was meant to have ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall, geopolitics is still influenced by old divisions and has become more complex

The memorial segment of the Berlin Wall along Bernauer Strasse at sunset, which formed part of celebrations on Saturday night. Picture: 123RF/gekaskr

While throughout the Cold War period, despite some tense episodes such as the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, the US and the Soviet Union, mindful of the potential for mutual destruction, managed to avoid a so-called hot war. That change — perceived as a victory for the western model of democracy and free markets — led to some complacency and outlandish theories, such as the ridiculous notion that history had ended. The end of the Cold War was represented by historian Francis Fukuyama as the end of humanity’s ideological evolution and the “universalisation” of western liberal democracy.

The Great Recession followed and the resultant discontent was fuelled by bank rescues, falling wages and a debt crisis that threatened to destroy the EU, the very foundation and symbol of the era of peace and prosperity in the wake of World War 2.

 

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