chapter  14
2 Pages

Conclusion

In the course of this book it has been emphasised that international politics (and economics) is still principally the field of action of states, and is domi­ nated by a relatively small number of them. It has also been noted that, while the cold war between the Communist states and the ‘Free World’ may be over (with the added benefit which this has had for the ending or subduing of a number of dangerous regional conflicts), the economic black hole in which Russia remains makes the future of this deeply unstable ‘superpower’, and thus of international relations in general, quite unpredictable. Moreover, the ending of this commanding conflict should not blind us to the fact that con­ flicts with incendiary potential still divide other states, as well as dividing national, ethnic and religious groups within them - notably in BosniaHerzegovina. It is also depressing that, as some of the factors which exacer­ bate these conflicts subside, others arise to take their place. Thus Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East appears to be losing a little of its steam (or shifting its focus to North Africa and Turkey) just as Hindu nationalism begins to assume dangerous proportions in India. Events in the Gulf from August 1990 until February 1991 also showed only too clearly that states are still inclined to resort to the drastic use of military force in order to prosecute their conflicts. Whether famine in Africa, the AIDS epidemic still sweeping most of the Third World, and the environmental problems threatening the whole globe will exacerbate conflicts such as these or unite people against common enemies is difficult to say.