Map Exercise 20: After the Cold War (This exercise includes 7 maps.)
The postwar years also witnessed decolonization across the globe as Britain and France lost their colonies in Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. The causes of decolonization are complicated. Nationalism and ethnicity played a major role, as did religious differences. This was especially the case in the Middle East which continues to be one of the hotspots in international affairs. Decolonization also changed the map of the globe. It is too soon to judge the ultimate effects of decolonization for, like the collapse of Soviet communism, much good is necessarily accompanied by much that is bad. Although international terrorism has made its effects felt since the 1970s, after September 11, 2001, the world is now confronted with a new challenge that again defies any easy solution. In late 2001, the United States attacked the Taliban government of Afghanistan in an effort to destroy Al Qaeda training bases. Then, in 2003, President George W. Bush attacked Iraq with the hopes of ousting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
The twenty-first century will certainly bring new challenges to the West. Terrorism has not been eliminated nor have the conditions for making peace in the Middle East been found on a lasting basis. Meanwhile, the Internet and computer technology have given the world the possibility of a global network of near-instant communication.
Major questions to consider in this exercise include:
• What are the ramifications of decolonization?
• Has the drive toward globalization replaced colonialism?
• What role has the Cold War played in the decolonization of the Middle East, Africa and Asia?
• Who are the great powers today? Can we identify any superpowers?
• What forces seem to be at work that prevent lasting peace in the Middle East?