Explain the effects of the collapse of the USSR upon the foreign policy of the USA.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The major impact of the collapse of communism was to force US foreign policy to focus on a variety of potential problems rather than on one dominant issue.  During the Cold War, the containment of communism was essentially the only issue in American foreign policy.  This allowed the US to focus very clearly on what was important to it. With the end of the Cold War, this ability to focus eroded.  The US suddenly had to worry about a larger number of potential types of conflict spread over a larger area.  Conflicts were no longer about communism vs. democracy/capitalism.  Instead, they were about things like nationalism (the Balkans) or religion (Islamic fundamentalism)  that were previously somewhat invisible in terms of American foreign policy.

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