The repercussions and tremors of the Cold War can still be felt in world affairs to this date. Ever since the dissolution of the Russian Federation, the world has become unipolar rather than the old convention of being bi-polar primarily because United States has emerged as the single most powerful Superpower. The duration of the Cold War and its consequences have played a pivotal role in establishing the political stance of the USA in the rest of the world. By the end of World War II, all lingering doubts in this regard were eliminated once and for all. By the early 90s, over 50 countries had pledged their military allegiance to the US and had more than 1.5 million troops stationed in 117 countries. The cold war also opened a new era of military sciences and the permanent commissioning of military heavy industries for arsenal and weapons even in times of peace.
In the tug of war between the two superpowers of the world, both the Soviets and the Americans had to shoulder economic liabilities. With power plays come abuse, and both countries had to pay for collateral damage. USA spent over $8 trillion as fuel in the cold war while more than a million American soldiers were killed in the wars with Vietnam and Korea. Although the death count of Russian Soldiers could not be found for sure, the Russians suffered from a greater financial crunch as they spent a larger share of their GDP on the financial cost of this war than the US.
Apart from the soldiers who died in uniforms, million others were killed in the proxy wars across the globe especially in Southeast Asia. Ethnic, interstate, revolutionary wars along with IDP and refugee crisis posed a greater burden on the country’s economy.
There were many economic and social consequences of the Cold War especially in the Third World countries. Cold war marked the fall of communist governments around the globe, and this fueled many ethnic as well as civil conflicts in many parts of the world, Yugoslavia in particular. An era of economic progress started in Eastern Europe, and many liberal democracies were born in the post Cold War World. There were some countries on the back foot like Afghanistan, which lost state control as a result of freedom from the USSR.
Cold War resulted in the freedom of countries as well as the formation of new nations, which meant they had to shoulder expenses, resources, and commitments- this was what many were unprepared for. Even the successor states had to deal with issues of national security.
The legacy of nuclear technology boomed in the wake of Cold War. Benign and progressive technology involved deriving energy and power from nuclear power plants in relative peace and political stability. Other fields that were dramatically improved included medicine, Industrial production, technological development, scientific research and radiology.
There was no formal treaty marking the end of the Cold war so to this day the tug of war continues. However, the precarious balance of power needs to be handled very carefully, which is why organizations like UN are regulating control and doing everything in their power to maintain peace.