Honors Program


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Goodman, A. 2023. The Conceptual "New Cold War": A Comparative Analysis of Great Power Competition. Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Annie Goodman 2023.


The Cold War was a decades-long competition between the US and the Soviet Union marked mainly by an existential nuclear arms race, the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction, and the dire opposition of democracy and communism worldwide. Today, however, the concept of a ‘Cold War,’ a frozen conflict, has expanded to include other forms of competition, and perhaps even new conflicts based in a state’s desire for hegemonic power. In this project, I sought to perform a comparative, qualitative analysis of the US/Soviet Cold War and the ongoing competitions between the US and China to determine if the US/China conflict rose to the level of a conceptual Cold War. I established several criteria and then compared each of them between both conflicts to determine that the US/China conflict is a ‘New Cold War’ with a critical caveat. There are so many more intricacies in the current US/China conflict including economic interdependence, a lack of proportional response options, a poorly defined escalatory pattern, and more which make the general categorization of a ‘New Cold War’ helpful, but not fully explanatory.