The Cold War Questions and Answers

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How did the Cold War affect the world today?  

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Thanh Munoz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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One of the most obvious legacies of the Cold War affecting us today, in my opinion, is the presence of large, radical Islamic groups, from the Taliban to al-Qaeda to ISIS. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in late 1979, the US, in spite of the fact that the president at the time was the dovish Jimmy Carter, reacted as if this were a threat to world peace overall. The assumption, typical of Cold War thinking and the "domino theory," was that the Soviets would make Afghanistan a launching-base for further expansion, especially into the oil-rich Middle East, where things had already been thrown into disarray by the Iranian Revolution and the overthrow of the Shah. Beginning with Carter and even more so during the following administration of Ronald Reagan, the US gave support to Islamic guerrillas in Afghanistan in an effort to expel the Soviets. By 1989, the Soviets realized they were in a quagmire similar to what the US had experienced in Vietnam twenty years earlier. The Afghanistan...

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