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A new cold war? The case for a general concept

Buzan, Barry (2024) A new cold war? The case for a general concept. International Politics, 61 (2). 239 - 257. ISSN 1384-5748

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Identification Number: 10.1057/s41311-024-00559-8


This paper argues for cold war as a general concept for IR that is necessary to understanding the twenty-first century world order. It distinguishes between hot and cold wars as types of war. It rejects the view that the term should be reserved for the 1947–89 event, and it argues that we are already in a Second Cold War. Its definition of cold war ties it to weapons of mass destruction, which means that cold wars did not exist before the twentieth century. Cold wars risk escalation into hot ones, but can also be fought to win/lose outcomes as happened with the First Cold War, or to some form of settlement. The Second Cold war will be fought differently from the First, with cyberwar playing a big role. And it will be influenced by the shared-fate threat of climate change in a way that the First Cold War was not. The most likely scenario is that it will be long and have no winner.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D839 Post-war History, 1945 on
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2024 14:24
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 23:21

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