• international relations;
  • cold war;
  • liberal international theory;
  • trading state

Liberal international theory foresaw neither the end of the east–west rivalry nor the fall of the Soviet Union. However, from the 1960s up through the 1980s, several liberal international theorists put forward insightful analyses of the evolution of the cold war, its changing importance in world affairs and the problems that increasingly confronted the Soviet Union. Well before the fall of the Berlin Wall, several liberal international writers sensed that the cold war was abating, that this abatement was important for world politics and that the Soviet Union was having serious problems in maintaining its status as a superpower with an Eastern European empire.