On the Asian continent, the underdeveloped region of Indo-China proved to be the key cold-war battleground. The Vietnam War is also known as the second of the Indochina Wars. It was waged between the late 1950’s and the mid 1970’s. The lush forested terrain of the Vietnamese country side was the battleground for much of the war. The force of the North Vietnam, which was basically oriented towards communism, was seen as a threat by the American government. It believed that left uncontrolled, the spread of communism would usurp the democratic South Vietnam as well. Hence, the American government decided to send troops in support of South Vietnam and retain its democratic government. This wider context of the war made it one of the tense phases of the Cold war period.
The United States, the sole aggressor in the Vietnam War, was forced to draw back its troops as a result of the failed military campaign as well as mounting pressure from its general public. Hence, it could be asserted that the causes that led to the American defeat were multifold. Some of the salient ones include the inability to understand the foreign primitive culture of the Vietnamese and underestimating their military organization skills. The growing unrest of the American public over the number of casualties and the ambiguity of the American motive were also important reasons. The guerilla warfare technique proved too difficult for the G.I.s to tackle. The growing lack of discipline and commitment of the American troops was another key reason for the defeat of the United States in the Vietnam War. Alongside the Cuban Missile crisis of 1962, the Vietnam War was another important flashpoint during the cold war period where the two superpowers came very close to mutual destruction.
In the Far Eastern Asia, China to be more precise, communism was taking firm roots. Under the leadership of Mao Zedong, the Soviet Union had found a willing ally to propagate communist ideology. Although the United States tried several diplomatic maneuvers to undermine the links between the two communist Asian neighbors, the efforts were to prove futile. First of all, the geographic location of China had put it outside the American sphere of influence. Secondly, China had developed a strong military, unaffected by the turmoil of the Second World War, which made any direct confrontation with it a tough proposition. Japan, on the other hand, was recovering from the disastrous consequences of the Atomic bomb attacks and chose not to attract further trouble by remaining neutral in the Cold War period.
Elsewhere in Asia, the long confrontation between the United States and U.S.S.R. backed proxies in Afghanistan had frustrated and weakened the latter. During the 1980’s the U.S.S.R. was going through a severe economic slump as well. At this juncture, the Soviet Union was no more in a position to strengthen its war machinery, which gave its rival undisputed advantage, bringing an end to the Cold War.
The deteriorating economic conditions stirred the people of the Soviet Union to openly demonstrate against their government’s failure, which by the late 1980’s had reached abysmal levels. People from the communist bloc nations were making desperate attempts to flee to countries in Western Europe. Likewise, people from East Germany were attempting to escape to the more prosperous West Germany in order to avail of better economic and social prospects. The upper echelons of the Soviet government were facing tremendous pressure to act decisively and quickly. The only option left was to dismantle the Union and open the countries to political and economic reforms. Bringing down the Berlin Wall in 1990 was the symbolic act that ushered in a new post-cold war era in the world.