Superpower confrontation and cold war tension subsumes ethnic conflict and related territorial disputes. Cold war has also been used by governments to enlist public opinion in support of various foreign and domestic policies, which would have otherwise encountered resistance.
The Cold War was used to justify much that was illicit and irregular, and which would perhaps otherwise have been disallowed. In Italy, the CIA covertly supported Italian Christian and Social Democrats to stop a takeover by the Communists, who in turn got money from Moscow. The Communist threat also seemed to justify Christian Democrat arrangements with the Mafia, leading to a symbiosis of crime and supposedly Christian governance. The arms trade was facilitated and subject to lighter scrutiny, with big European arms manufacturers routinely paying 'commissions' to win contracts; in France it is officially accepted that these may have been worth 15% of a deal.
With hindsight, the precarious but diabolically stable, bipolar world of post-1945 worked. There were confrontations, but no Armageddons. The nuclear balance weighed in at moments of high tension, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Regional surrogates were permitted -- as with the Cubans in Africa -- but those forces were clearly subordinated to the strategic goals of the Great Powers.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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