End of bipolarity


Due to the collapse of communist regimes in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the reunification of Germany in 1990, and continued German membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (while the Warsaw Pact disintegrated), the allies could plausibly claim that they won the Cold War. The aftermath of this victory has, however, been characterized by many problems of economic hardship, political instability, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and ethnic strife in successor states of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. As Soviet power faded some regional powers became more significant actors in international relations. At the same time the number of sovereign states has increased. International organizations, states, corporations, non-governmental organizations and terrorist groups have developed into new centers of power.