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What is the post-Cold War world system?

Updated on September 1, 2011

There are many arguments and views on the current world system. Some people consider the current post-Cold War world system to be multipolar. A multipolar system occurs when there are multiple, equal powers around the world. They all have competing economies and participate in trade. We have several large, powerful countries that seem to be pretty self-sufficient. Japan, China, Europe, and the United States all seem to be very similar in terms of political power.

Other people argue that the world was entering a unipolar system. In this system, the entire world relies on one superpower. Most people consider this to be the current world system because everyone relies on the U.S. in some sort of way.

Another view on the post-Cold War world system is the counterweight system. Instead of the entire world leaning on the U.S., they could all possibly team up and oppose the U.S. instead. Their combined power would be enough to counterweight the U.S. power. This system is unrealistic because too many countries rely on the U.S. for help.

The final world system is a stratified system. It consists of 3 layers. The first layer is made up of rich, high-tech countries. The second layer is made of industrializing, middle-class countries. The third layer is described as chaotic, third world countries. The U.S. is unable to avoid the third layer of countries because of the resources they provide, such as oil. They also cannot take over the third layer countries because of violence, religious differences, and drug cartels.

A lot of countries all lean on the United States in some sort of way, so a multipolar system is unrealistic. Critics of the unipolar system argue that while the U.S. is a military superpower, that other political and economical conditions limit its leadership abilities. The counterweight system is also unrealistic because the majority of countries outside the U.S. are unable to come to political agreements in order to team up against the U.S.

In one sense, the world is a unipolar system because all countries rely on the U.S. in one way or another. On the other hand, the stratified world system also seems to be the closest to reality today. The U.S., Europe, and China are the first layer, high-tech countries. Other countries are industrializing at a steady rate, but still not to the level of the U.S. The third level countries are made up of countries such as Somalia, Columbia, and Afghanistan. Ideally, the U.S. would like to avoid these countries but it can be difficult. The pirates in Somalia, the drug cartels in Columbia, and the terrorist in Afghanistan all make in necessary for us to be involved with these countries.


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    • cblack profile image

      cblack 6 years ago from a beach somewhere

      I agree with you all. China will beat out the US. Maybe India too. ALso, moneycop, I sure hope there is!

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 6 years ago from Philippines

      Everyone is looking at China as the next economic power with many western corporation formulating their future plans and investments with the Chinese consumers in mind.But let us not forget India which is expected to overtake China in terms of population growth because of China's policy on family planning.India will be a huge potential market in consumer goods which will spur economic development and activity .With several military encounters between the two countries expect it to spill into the economic arena too.

    • CHRIS57 profile image

      CHRIS57 6 years ago from Northern Germany

      Interesting to read your hub.

      But have you looked S.P. Huntingtons "Clash of Civilizations.."? Was written in the early 90ties, in the aftermath of the cold war when the US administration, Bush sen., wanted to know what to expect in generations after the cold war.

      It is view on civilizations, different cultures and religions and their impact on future developments. I got a hold of a newly edited version. Didn´t have to be changed much, only the development of China was underestimated a little, not by its nature but by its speed and drive.

      The time of western superiority is over. The last superpower will perish sooner or later. Chinese mentality of Confucian and Tao morals pulls up front. And don´t underestimate South America or the sheer population growth of islamic countries.

      There is more to it than leaning the weak on stronger poles.

    • moneycop profile image

      moneycop 6 years ago from JABALPUR

      there may be outside this earth some one more powerfull then us and we all....nice hub?

    • profile image

      Nick Lucas 6 years ago

      Interesting piece.....I learned something new as I did not know these terms or labels before.....thank you!