Problems Resulting From The Fall Of Communism

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The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and in The Soviet Union has presented an array of new opportunities but also problems for much of this region. Although, with this collapse the opportunity arises to establish a democratic government and a market economy exists, the process has shown to be a slow one. With the attempt to restore civil liberties and the hope of enjoying the standard of living similar to that of Western Europe, communist parties are still in existence (under new names and titles), and Eastern Europe is still struggling to become free both economically and politically. The problems facing Eastern Europe and The Soviet Union are both political and economic. First, economically this region is falling apart. Unemployment is widespread and most of the plants and factories run by the communists are gone. As a result of being poor and unemployed, hundreds of thousands of people have migrated from Eastern to Western Europe in hopes of finding work. This has led to much resentment, especially from countries such as Germany. Outbreaks of opposition and physical violence have erupted leading to increased ethnic tension. In turn, immigration is being restricted in many of the Western countries. In addition to the economic troubles, there is an environmental effect. Many of the closed down plants and factories are so polluting that they have left many areas virtually unlivable. This pollution has left the former communist nations with some of the worst environmental problems in the world. This has in turn contributed to the immigration problem. 2 The nations of Western Europe, facing high costs themselves related to the collapse of communism, are hesitant to send any relief funds to the East. This is especially true in Germany, where costs of their own unification have been very high. East Germany and West Germany are still at odds over state aid that has been mostly directed to the East. Other parts of Europe, being in an economic slump themselves lack the resources to aid Eastern Europeans. A fear that Eastern Europe’s economic difficulties could negatively affect their own economy, has also led to a fear of economic integration. Political challenges are also a major problem resulting from the collapse of communism. Civil war continues to be seen in Yugoslavia and ethnic violence occurs daily. The Czechs and the Slovaks divided Czechoslovakia into two separate nations in 1993. The liberty and freedom offered by the end of a communist government has tended to be mostly for the pursuit of personal ethnic goals which in turn has led to turmoil. After World War II, West Germany and Austria developed strong democratic governments but because of strong communist histories, other nations have not followed suit. They continue to resist a democracy, settling instead as distinct political units. They do not realize that with disorder, economic stagnation and ethnic competition, a democracy cannot be successful. The collapse of European communism has had other implications as well. It has put a halt to the development of European socialism. After the 1870’s, Marxism dominated Europe. The Bolshevik victory validated it and the policies of Lenin and Stalin 3 extended the ideas all throughout Europe. Now, with communism over, the economic and political socialist policies and ideas have collapsed. As a result, Marxism and socialism in general has basically been discredited. It has been and will be very difficult for these former communist nations, after being under a socialist premise for so long, to realize the benefits of markets, economic decentralization and political democracy. In addition, the fall of communism has profoundly altered international relations with Europe. With the Warsaw Pact gone, NATO is in need of reform. NATO, with the primary function to deter Soviet attack on Western Europe, has now become outdated. Many believe it should be kept alive to prevent international disorder but it has failed to play an effective role in Yugoslavia. This has left doubts as to its effectiveness to aid in problems that occur in Europe. There is also the problem with Russia’s disapproval regarding the expansion of N

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