What are three lasting effects of the Cold War?

Three lasting effects of the Cold War are the continued existence of nuclear weapons, the Syrian civil war, and the development of space-age technology.

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One lasting effect of the Cold War is the proliferation of competing centers of power on the world stage.

The end of the Cold War meant the end of an era not just in terms of the standoff between two competing, heavily armed blocs. It also meant the end of...

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One lasting effect of the Cold War is the proliferation of competing centers of power on the world stage.

The end of the Cold War meant the end of an era not just in terms of the standoff between two competing, heavily armed blocs. It also meant the end of the measure of stability the Cold War provided to much of the world. As dangerous as was the threat of nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, especially during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1983 War Scare during which the Soviet Union misinterpreted NATO exercises as the opening phase of a major nuclear confrontation, the bipolar global structure that characterized the Cold War lent a measure of stability in world affairs.

The two main blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, operated under a loose but clearly understood set of rules, and each side respected the military capabilities of the other side. The Cold War’s demise resulted in a proliferation of potential centers of power and conflict. The rise of China as a military and economic power and the continued machinations of autocratic regimes in North Korea and Iran has degraded the sense of stability that once provided a measure of security.

Another lasting effect of the Cold War is the continued mistrust and hostility that exists between Russia and the United States. The Cold War had its origins in Revolutionary Russia, with the Bolshevik regime that replaced the monarchy threatening, if only through words, the Western democracies and the United States and its allies conspiring to tilt the Russian civil war against the Bolsheviks by sending troops to northern Russia in an armed intervention that the Russians have certainly never forgotten. The World War II alliance between the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union was one of convenience in the face of a common enemy, Nazi Germany. Tensions and mistrust between East and West permeated alliance relations and continued in that war’s aftermath up to the present day.

A third lasting effect of the Cold War is the large nuclear arsenals maintained by the United States and Russia, with China rapidly developing its own ability to strike North America with long-range nuclear-armed missiles. The American nuclear weapons program was initiated as a response to Nazi Germany’s military conquests and the war against Germany and Japan. There was always, however, concern about the Soviet Union similarly attaining such capabilities, concerns that proved valid when the scale of Soviet penetration of the American and British atomic weapons programs was eventually revealed. The Soviet Union’s detonation of its first nuclear weapon in 1949 was considered an important date in the escalation of tensions into full-scale Cold War mode.

There are other lasting effects from the Cold War, such as the proliferation of new nation-states in Central Asia and the status of Ukraine, but the above rank among the most important.

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Even though the Cold War is over and the Soviet Union no longer exists, the conflict still has lasting effects that influence the world and people's lives today.

First, many countries around the world developed nuclear weapons during the Cold War era arms race. These weapons continue to be a threat even today as countries seek to maintain and expand their nuclear power. The balance remains tenuous.

Second, the United States emerged from the Cold War as the major world superpower when the Soviet Union disintegrated into Russia and many other smaller countries. Tensions, however, still exist, and conflicts break out periodically as Russia supports countries the United States considers enemies, or at least suspect. Russian support of Iran, for instance, has often caused problems. The balance of power is not, and probably never will be, stable as countries seek to assert themselves and play off tensions between their allies and opponents.

Third, while there are certainly negative effects of the Cold War, there are also some positive effects, especially the development of technology. The “space race” led to the expansion of NASA, for instance, and the development of nuclear weaponry led to the development of nuclear power sources. NASA has greatly contributed to innovations in everything from CAT scans to freeze-dried foods. Additionally, the US interstate highway system was originally designed for defense, as in ease of transport in case of an attack, but it has become the backbone of shipping and personal travel over the decades.

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When it comes to gauging the lasting effects of the Cold War, one might say that the antagonism and gamesmanship that marked the Cold War can be viewed in the context of Russia’s recent attempts to sow discord in American elections. Similar to the Cold War, Russia is trying to figure out ways to disrupt and subvert the United States' democratic process without actually going to war. Conversely, one could say that the reaction to Russia’s election interference, specifically in the 2016 presidential election, was a lasting effect of the Cold War because it reflected America’s ongoing tendency to inflate the threat that Russia poses.

Another lasting effect of the Cold War is proxy wars. One could claim that the United States and Russia continue to manifest their conflict by instigating wars in different countries through different factions. For instance, the ongoing war in Syria has been labeled a proxy war between Russia and the US, with Russia supporting the Syria government and the US supporting various rebel groups.

For a third lasting effect of the Cold War, think about political accountability. Consider why American political leaders would still rather focus on Russia, and why Russian political leaders would still rather focus on America, than on their own shortcomings and lackluster domestic policies in their home countries.

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The Cold War had both positive and negative lasting effects on different countries in the world. Some countries that were formerly under Communist regimes are today enjoying higher standards of civil liberties compared to the situation before and during the Cold War. However, other countries have continued to suffer from the fall of these regimes, which left power vacuums in their respective countries. Today some of those regions (Southeast Europe among others) remain unstable due to civil conflicts caused by political instability.   

Although the Cold War led to increased development of nuclear weapons for military engagement, the period after the war has seen more developments of nuclear technology in science, especially in the field of medicine, energy, and industry.

The war resulted in far-reaching foreign policies by the stronger nations aimed at maintaining the global status quo. Thus, the two countries continue to be involved in the affairs of other countries.

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This a great question. There are so many lasting effects of the Cold War. Here are a few of them. 

First, owing to the Cold War there is massive proliferation of nuclear weapons. We can destroy the world several times over. These weapons still exist. And if a rogue group got hold of one of them, it could create havoc in the world. 

Second, Russia was hurt gravely. Many Russians were employed in the military sector. When the Cold War ended, these people not only lost their jobs, but the economy on a larger scale was damaged. 

Third, many people and nations were involved in proxy wars, especially in places like Southeast Asia. So, the toll on humans lives was tremendous, not to mention that there are still bitter feeling in various places around the world. So, the legacy of the Cold War still exists. 

Fourth, in the end, it led to the United States becoming the superpower of the world. 

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